Beechcraft Denali first flight
Textron Aviation's Beechcraft Denali completed its first flight Tuesday. (Photo: Textron Aviation)

Beechcraft Denali Completes First Flight

The turboprop offers six individual reclining seats, club-configuration tables, and a refreshment unit.

Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft Denali turboprop single recently lifted off on its first flight from Wichita Eisenhower National Airport on a mission over central and southern Kansas that lasted two hours and 50 minutes. Piloted by senior test pilot Peter Gracey and chief test pilot Dustin Smisor, the clean-sheet airplane reached an altitude of 15,600 feet and a top speed of 180 knots.

“With its more environmentally friendly engine and largest cabin in its class, this is an aircraft that will change the landscape for high-performance single-engine turboprop aircraft," said Textron Aviation president and CEO Ron Draper.

The first flight comes after initial runs of the new GE Aviation Catalyst engine on the Denali prototype in late August. 

The Denali, which was originally branded as a Cessna (until mid-July), is equipped with Garmin G3000 touchscreen avionics, including three, 14-inch diagonal, widescreen LCDs, synthetic vision, ADS-B In/Out, and weather avoidance radar.

With an expected range of 1,600 nautical miles, a maximum cruise speed of 285 knots, and a full fuel payload of 1,100 pounds, the airplane is configurable for both passenger and cargo missions with its flat floor.

It includes a 53-by-59-inch rear cargo door, as well as executive features such as a digital pressurization system that maintains a 6,130-foot cabin to 31,000 feet and an optional externally serviceable belted lavatory with a pocket door. Large passenger windows, interior LED lighting, and options for a refreshment cabinet and an in-flight-accessible baggage compartment round out the Denali’s features.

Denali offers six individual reclining seats, club-configuration tables, and a refreshment unit in executive configuration, and nine forward-facing seats in a high-density commuter configuration.

Two other flight-test Denalis and three additional ground articles will be used in the flight test program. Denali certification is expected in 2023.