Textron Aviation’s in-development Beechcraft Denali turboprop has successfully completed ground engine runs, moving the aircraft closer to a first flight, currently planned to take place by the end of the year.

The Wichita, Kansas-based company says on 26 August it has been able to test aircraft’s fuel system and engine, and the interface with avionics and electrical systems.

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Source: Textron Aviation

Textron’s Beechcraft Denali completes ground engine runs

“These successful engine runs are a significant step toward the upcoming inaugural flight for the Beechcraft Denali, and they are a testament to the determination and collaboration from both the Textron Aviation and GE Aviation teams,” says Chris Hearne, Textron’s senior vice-president of engineering.

The Denali is outfitted with GE Aviation’s FADEC-equipped Catalyst engine. So far, that engine has completed more than 2,450 hours of ground testing, Textron says. It’s being prepared for a first flight on the company’s Beechcraft King Air flying test bed.

In addition to the prototype airframe, two other Denalis are in development. Three additional ground test articles will be used for the airframe static and fatigue tests, and for cabin interior development and testing, Textron adds. 

When the Denali was unveiled in 2015, it was expected to fly in 2019, with certification following about 18 months later. However, delays to the development of the 1,300shp (970kW) Catalyst had a knock-on effect on the aircraft’s timeline.

Although launched as a Cessna aircraft, parent Textron Aviation decided to “realign” its turboprop offering, bringing the Denali under the Beechcraft banner alongside the twin-engined King Air family.

The Denali promises a cruise speed of 285kt (528km/h) and a range of 1,600nm (2,960km) with one pilot and four passengers. But the standard configuration seats six passengers, or nine in a high-density layout.

Textron says that it now expects to achieve certification for the Denali in 2023.