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July 22, 2024

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The light at the end of the tunnel is visible for the long-awaited Beechcraft Denali, after multiple developmental delays.  The aircraft, which is several years late, remains an innovative aircraft, albeit some of the unique features have, in the interim, been also adopted by competitors.  

The clean-sheet aircraft will now enter service in 2025, after a much delayed gestation period for the clean-sheet GE Catalyst engine.  The engine offers improved fuel burn, single lever contols, and eases pilot workload.  The aircraft has now also adopted the Garmin Autoland system that enables automated emergency landings in the event a pilot becomes incapacitated.  The Beechcraft Denali will compete with the Pilatus PC-12 and Daher TMB 960 in a highly competitive marketplace.  

Lannie O’Bannion, Textron Aviation’s senior v-p of global sales and flight operations, stated “We have three prototypes flying with more than 830 flights, and we’ve accumulated almost 2,000 hours on these three aircraft. We continue to talk to the test pilots and they are just amazed with this aircraft and its performance.”

The aircraft was designed with a range of 1,600 nm, a maximum cruise speed of 285 knots, and a full fuel payload of 1,100 pounds.  “Until we get to the type certification, we won’t share any of the performance.  But we’re excited to see what we’re seeing,” O’Bannion teased.

The Bottom Line

The industry has long awaited both a new clean-sheet aircraft and clean-sheet engine, both of which are finally reaching the finish line next year.  We look forward to the increased competition, which has already impacted competing aircraft that have added features that would have been unique when the Denali was announced.  Despite losing first mover advantage for some of those features, including a single lever throttle, the Denali will still be an innovative airplane when it hits the market next year.

author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC

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