Beechcraft Denali Program Completes Engine Test Runs

Initial testing by Textron Aviation confirms fuel system functionality and powerplant interface.

Textron Aviation has completed the initial ground-test runs of the GE Aviation Catalyst engine on the Beechcraft Denali at one of the company’s facilities in Wichita, Kansas.

The clean-sheet design Catalyst was put through its paces to determine its baseline operational status and fuel system functionality. The powerplant’s interface with the avionics and electrical system also went through initial testing.

“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,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, engineering, for Textron Aviation in a release.

“The Denali features a technologically advanced engine that burns less fuel,” Hearne said. “It has an intuitive avionics suite that eases pilot workload and boasts the most spacious cabin in its segment.”

The Catalyst powerplant has undergone more than 2,450 hours of testing prior to its initial demonstration flights on a Beechcraft King Air, yet to come.

The environmentally in-tune turboprop burns less fuel than similar engines in the class, producing 1,300 shp with the ability to run on sustainable aviation fuel.

A single-lever power control is aimed at easing pilot workload, while the fadec engine control system allows for trend monitoring and on-condition maintenance—with no mid-life hot section inspection required.

Up front, the Denali will feature a 105-inch diameter, five-blade McCauley prop, full-feathering with reversible pitch and ice protection. Several certification tests are underway.

Textron Aviation has two more Denali prototypes in work, with three additional ground-test articles planned for the requisite static and fatigue tests, as well as cabin interior development.

The company expects the Denali to obtain certification in 2023.


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