Textron targets single-engine turboprop market

Textron Aviation has announced a plan to unveil a new single-engine turboprop at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture fly-in next year in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The announcement reveals a strategy by the holder of the Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker brands to enter a market segment long-dominated by Pilatus, Piper and Daher-Socata, as well as targeted with several other new projects, including One Aviation’s Kestrel and CAIGA’s Primus 150.

“We intend to outperform the competition with the introduction of this product – from cabin size and acquisition cost, to performance capability,” Textron Aviation says.

The single-engined turboprop segment has long been a focus of both Cessna’s and the former Hawker Beechcraft’s management teams. Several years ago, there was widespread speculation of Cessna testing a prototype turboprop derived from the airframe of the Mustang business jet. In 2012, former Hawker Beechcraft chief executive Bill Boisture unveiled a concept image showing a turboprop derivative of the Premier 1 business jet, which was linked to the company’s PD434 aircraft concept.

But the new development project is based on neither of those previous concepts, Textron Aviation says.

“This is an entirely new, clean-sheet design/aircraft – not a derivative or variant of any existing product,” the company says.

Although most details are being closely held, Textron Aviation says the project will leverage “the newest technologies” to obtain a range of more than 1,500nm and speeds above 280kt with best-in-class operating costs.