Continuing an ever-expanding trend, aircraft consumers are proving that one engine is actually better than two.
And to capitalise on this change, Textron Aviation, parent company to famous aircraft manufacturers Cessna, Beechcraft, and Hawker, revealed a widely-anticipated new turboprop aircraft, to begin testing in 2018.
The Single Engine Turboprop aircraft, or SETP, will enter a very competitive but fast-growing market segment that includes the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 and French manufacturer Daher’s TBM line.
Cruising speed of the new SETP is estimated to reach 285 knots, and the aircraft can be configured to carry up to eight passengers. The cabin features a flat floor as well as a wide rear cargo and passenger door. It pressurizes to a very passenger-friendly cabin altitude of just 6,130 feet. The aircraft also has a service ceiling of 31,000 feet.
While the Textron’s Beechcraft brand already includes the well-known Kingair twin turboprop line, consumer demand is increasingly moving customers toward single engine aircraft thanks to the reliability, efficiency, and speed of modern turbine engines.
The company has also committed to using General Electric’s new Advanced Turboprop engine, a major coup for the company and a loss for Pratt & Whitney, whose PT-6 line of turboprops engines has been the industry standard for over half a century.
Textron has yet to reveal the SETP’s final name, the brand under which it will live, or where it will be produced. While it is not releasing an actual number, Textron claimed in a recent press release that the SETP will deliver “best-in-class operating costs.”
The company is accepting pre-orders at a unit price of $4.8 million.