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Cessna 408 SkyCourier

TomS

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Dynoman said:
The Cessna 408 has an 87 inch x 69 inch cargo door. The cargo container is 79 inches x 60.4 inches. In the configuration shown the the container has to be rotated along its normal axis into the hold and then slid forward. A curved track system is a likely means of moving them in and out of the aircraft and onto a mobile lift.

Since the container is shorter in length than the width of the door (by 8 inches), there seems to be no reason it could not simply slide in sideways, then forward. No need to rotate it to get it through the door.
 

Dynoman

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Tom...thank you. I was looking at the doorway on the passenger transport version thinking it had to go in 'small side first' ::)
 

TomS

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Dynoman said:
Tom...thank you. I was looking at the doorway on the passenger transport version thinking it had to go in 'small side first' ::)

Yeah, I just realized Cessna has one odd photo posted on the website showing the cargo containers overlaid on the passenger airframe, including the small door. But if you scroll down further, they also show the cargo door, which extends from basically the main wheels to the aft end of the cabin. It's huge.
 

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LowObservable said:
FedEx used to be low-density stuff, but as shipping costs overall decline, I doubt that it's as true as it used to be.

Just crunching numbers, not sure if I have a specific point.

The 408's max cargo weight is just over 2700kg. That works out to 900kg per container. LD3s have a max gross weight of around 1,580kg and a volume of 4.3m3, so it would seem FedEx don't anticipate maxing them out on weight. The IATA apparently suggests 161kg/m3 if the actual cargo density is unknown, so that's about 700kg per container, plus about 100kg of tare weight, which is less than the 900 kg/container figure above.
 

Silencer1

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Perhaps, for FedEx the price (and possible profit) of the freight is much more important then it's weight.
It would be more effective to transport smartphones, then T-Shirts :cool:

Earlier, the payload of aircraft demonstrate it's ability to transport certain amount of cargo on the certain distance - with some economical figures. Now, economy became more important, so the logistics shoul more concentarte on overall efficieny of cargo carrying, rather then of full filling the containers up to their volume or load capacity.
 

Dynoman

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Good comparison of scale next to a Cessna Caravan.
 

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robunos

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TomS said:
LowObservable said:
Anyway, why the T-tail? Except to make it look a bit different.

Maybe improved clearance for driving up to the plane with LD3 containers? Instead of coming in from the side, you can also approach from the rear of the aircraft.

Just musing, maybe at some point in the design process, a swing-tail was contemplated . . . having a T-tail gets the tailplanes out of the way when the fuselage is opened up.
Open 'er up, truck backs in, LD3s slide straight in, done . . .


cheers,
Robin.
 

kitnut617

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robunos said:
TomS said:
LowObservable said:
Anyway, why the T-tail? Except to make it look a bit different.

Maybe improved clearance for driving up to the plane with LD3 containers? Instead of coming in from the side, you can also approach from the rear of the aircraft.

Just musing, maybe at some point in the design process, a swing-tail was contemplated . . . having a T-tail gets the tailplanes out of the way when the fuselage is opened up.
Open 'er up, truck backs in, LD3s slide straight in, done . . .


cheers,
Robin.

Having a T-Tail doesn't necessarily mean a swing-tail was contemplated, as any of the aircraft built as swing-tails will ascertain.
 

AeroFranz

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i think what was meant was that it is odd for a vehicle with this layout to have T-tail. The overall configuration is similar in everything to a Let-410, PZL-28, Twin Otter, Tecnam P2012, etc. The designers of those aircraft didn't see the need for a T-Tail, which is heavier all things equal.
 

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The DH Caribou/Buffalo and DH7 had t-tails. I think it has more to do with keeping it, the horizontal tail, out of the prop wash, possibly having to do with how it responds under power settings; i.e. power settings won't effect pitch directly.
 

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Sundog said:
The DH Caribou/Buffalo and DH7 had t-tails. I think it has more to do with keeping it, the horizontal tail, out of the prop wash, possibly having to do with how it responds under power settings; i.e. power settings won't effect pitch directly.

The Caribou has a 'Chicken-T' (my old design teacher came from NAA Columbus, that's what they called that arrangement), the others a full blown T-tail. Hmmm....i guess that these are all STOL aircraft with beaucoup flaps, I could see how at full deflection / high CL, it might deflect so much the streamlines and affect the local angle of attack at the tail, that you'd need a T-tail. However i didn't read anything saying the 408 would be STOL, so i'm still puzzled...
 

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After all the discussion, I incline towards the theory that it's a T-tail so Erwin Pudwacker won't take it out with a truck during a midnight turnaround at Pig's Snout Municipal Airport, Ark.
 

Dynoman

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Article says that FedEx provided input into the design of the courier. As its launch customer Textron probably designed the aircraft around the preliminary design requirements of FedEx for a cargo carrier with a secondary requirement for a passenger aircraft. The strut bracing (slows aircraft with drag), high-mounted T-tail (more efficient in cruise, provides tail clearance for ground operations), and fixed gear (allows for heavier loads, high landing rates, but produces significant drag) are all features of a robust short range cargo feeder, more so than an efficient passenger transport. IMHO the next markets for the C408 are the military and possibly Third-world markets with unimproved runways (thinking M-28 Skytruck's bigger brother).

https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=1929
 

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Think also rotation: with a that arrangement, the landing gear can be positioned further aft, reducing the added weight of a cantilever rear fuselage. T tail gives also ample attitude ctrl to the pilot easing T.O and landing phase on different terrains (desert, forest, clearing obstacles).
 

yasotay

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LowObservable said:
After all the discussion, I incline towards the theory that it's a T-tail so Erwin Pudwacker won't take it out with a truck during a midnight turnaround at Pig's Snout Municipal Airport, Ark.

Some of us live near Pig Snout Muni ya know. Ain't seen no Pudwackers round here. More inclined to agree with Tomcat that the T tail is for control-ability in steep approach and short field TO.
 

_Del_

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Dynoman said:
The strut bracing (slows aircraft with drag), high-mounted T-tail (more efficient in cruise, provides tail clearance for ground operations), and fixed gear (allows for heavier loads, high landing rates, but produces significant drag) are all features of a robust short range cargo feeder, ...
Great post. My first impression was that it was primarily a barebones sticker-price decision which simply accepted the drag and efficiency loss as part of that compromise. I do start to wonder when stopping to think about it how much of the costs/efficiency losses due to fixed gear and bracing are actually offset operationally by considerations such as lighter structural weight with bracing and no gear retraction mechanisms, fewer moving parts to fail and impact availability rates, lower maintenance costs/hours, fixed gear more apt to take abusive handling, etc. Might well be a net gain operationally.
 

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Cirrus has apparently made that decision. The top of their range is well into what would have been retractable territory, back in the 50s and 60s.
 

yasotay

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_Del_ said:
Dynoman said:
The strut bracing (slows aircraft with drag), high-mounted T-tail (more efficient in cruise, provides tail clearance for ground operations), and fixed gear (allows for heavier loads, high landing rates, but produces significant drag) are all features of a robust short range cargo feeder, ...
Great post. My first impression was that it was primarily a barebones sticker-price decision which simply accepted the drag and efficiency loss as part of that compromise. I do start to wonder when stopping to think about it how much of the costs/efficiency losses due to fixed gear and bracing are actually offset operationally by considerations such as lighter structural weight with bracing and no gear retraction mechanisms, fewer moving parts to fail and impact availability rates, lower maintenance costs/hours, fixed gear more apt to take abusive handling, etc. Might well be a net gain operationally.

Then there is the point that simple aircraft are better received by countries that do not have access to first world schooling and training.
 

AeroFranz

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Ain't no one ever forgot to lower the wheels for landing on a fixed gear plane...a fact reflected on the difference of GA aircraft insurance premiums between fixed and retracts.

As for the aerodynamics aspects, as a rule of thumb, below 150 KTAS cruise speed, you have a hard time justifying retracts.
 

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I am curious if the C408 will have the new Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion that Textron's King Air 350i and Cessna Latitude has? Textron only mentions 'digital' cockpit.
 

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TomS

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Articles refer to Garmin G1000 NXi avionics.

https://www.flyingmag.com/cessna-launches-skycourier-utility-twin
 

Dynoman

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Tom, Thank you! Here is a King Air G1000NXi from the article.
 

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Boxman

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First flight of the Cessna 408 SkyCourier (reg. N408PR) was today (17-May-2020). Here is video posted today to YouTube by Aircraft Registry.

YouTube - Aircraft Registry: "First Cessna SkyCourier Twin Utility Turboprop Takes Flight"
 

TomcatViP

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Impressive.
1: that was faster than any startup outthere (not too bad for a nearly 100th year old company)
2: the pilot is so confident in the flying qualities of his bird that he flyes formation with the photo plane in a bank turn (usually that's the opposite) despite learning it every second (see all the adjustment he does, overshooting, correcting, overshooting again...)
 

riggerrob

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Thanks Boxman,

Interesting how they routed the entire wing spar above the cabin ceiling and the entire main landing gear beam below the cabin floor. Straight structures simplify construction and minimize fatigue points. Structure first and streamlining second. For courier missions, cruise speed or altitude is less important than rapid turn-arounds at 3,000 foot municipal airports.
LD3 containers load in less than half the time of hand-bombed cargo. Trust me, I have hand-bombed plenty of baggage - at O-dark-thirty! My official duty was limited to re-fuelling the plane, but I wanted to finish and get home to bed. The most profitable courier cargoes are over-night envelopes: dozens of dollars for cargo that weighs almost nothing.

We also saw a spin-recovery chute under the tail and an air data probe sticking out of the nose ... standard equipment for early test flights. That spin-recovery chute implies that Cessna plans to test it with C. of G. well aft of published limits ... to compensate for half-awake rednecks loading the heaviest LD3 container in the tail.

Does that brown nose cone imply weather radar will be offered on production 408s?
 

Silencer1

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Hi Riggerbob!

Thanks for first-hand experience on aircraft' unloading and service!

Interesting how they routed the entire wing spar above the cabin ceiling and the entire main landing gear beam below the cabin floor. Straight structures simplify construction and minimize fatigue points. Structure first and streamlining second. For courier missions, cruise speed or altitude is less important than rapid turn-arounds at 3,000 foot municipal airports.

As SkyCourier is equipped with strut-braced wing, height of fuselage' frames could be reduced , as it requres lesser height to distribute wing loading.
Please, check the 0'45'' time mark on the video Here clearly seen the attachement joints, located above the upper fuselage surfces.
 
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Silencer1

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Kinda off-topic:
if I remember correctly, for certain decades US used foreigh twin-engine cargo/multirole aircraft with strut-braced high wing for some specific purposes: C-23 Sherpa, DHC Twin Otter, PZL M-28. And now, after this long period, Cessna produced SkyCourier.
 

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The strut bracing also allows them to have twin bolt-on half wings easing fuselage integration (and weight growth with future versions if any).

The corporate video is way overdone. And frankly, personally, I am bored with all those slowdown sequences...
 

yasotay

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To bad the US Army gave up on starch winged cargo. Nice simple design with proven power plant. Not spectacular but sure looks functional.
 

riggerrob

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Thanks for that assembly video "under the fairings."
Looking under the fairings always helps us understand structure.
Those wings are attached to the fuselage with simple pinned joint.
If Bubba Pudwacker collides his truck with a wing, a new wing can be flown in tomorrow and quickly bolted on.
Bolted construction also allows quick replacement of high-fatigue components like undercarriage beams.
 

riggerrob

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The US Army stopped flying straight-wing STOL transports after the Key West agreement (1948) assigned all fixed-wing transports to the USAF. After that, the US Army was confined to mainly sling-wing aircraft.
During the Korean War and early in the Viet Nam War, deHavilland of Canada was a prime supplier to the US Army: Beavers, single-engine Otters, Cariboos, etc. The DHC-5 Buffalo was a Cariboo updated for a US Army role. After the Key West Agreement was re-enforced (early 1960s), the US Army had to hand over all of their Cariboos to the USAF.

During the 1950s, American manufacturers seem to have lost interest in medium-sized twins, so DHC, Dornier, Embraer, Fiat, Fokker, GAF, Hawker Siddley, PZL, Saab, Shorts, etc. filled the 19-40 seat, turboprop, commuter market and even sold handfuls of airplanes to the USAF and US Army.
 

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US SOCOM has a range of small prop transports, referred to as non-standard aircraft, including the M-28 (C-145) and PC-12 (U-28) but most recently the Dornier 328 (C-146 Wolfhound). The M-28s are mostly retired but if they need a direct replacement, the 408 might fit.
 

yasotay

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The US Army stopped flying straight-wing STOL transports after the Key West agreement (1948) assigned all fixed-wing transports to the USAF. After that, the US Army was confined to mainly sling-wing aircraft.
During the Korean War and early in the Viet Nam War, deHavilland of Canada was a prime supplier to the US Army: Beavers, single-engine Otters, Cariboos, etc. The DHC-5 Buffalo was a Cariboo updated for a US Army role. After the Key West Agreement was re-enforced (early 1960s), the US Army had to hand over all of their Cariboos to the USAF.

During the 1950s, American manufacturers seem to have lost interest in medium-sized twins, so DHC, Dornier, Embraer, Fiat, Fokker, GAF, Hawker Siddley, PZL, Saab, Shorts, etc. filled the 19-40 seat, turboprop, commuter market and even sold handfuls of airplanes to the USAF and US Army.

The US Army did stop flying cargo with KW, but did not stop doing the internal light intra-theater lift until the (then) Chief of Staff of the Army, GEN Martin Dempsey gave it away in ~2010 to the USAF. Indeed the US Army was the originator for the C-27J requirement. Of note because the USAF was not able to support many of the immediate cargo requirements for the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army resorted to contracting light fixed wing cargo to do delivery to forward operating bases and other forward units.
 

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Doesn't look nearly as ungainly in the flesh as some of the earlier concept images suggested. Not the sexiest Cessna ever, but looks like a good plane.
 

Silencer1

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I guess, if Cessna wants to repeat the Caravan' story of success - and, having the Fedex, as initial customer, then offer aircraft for other potential buyers.
However, today such hopes could be if not fuitless, but long-term. Seven years ago, Scorpion made his maiden flight - and still remain in protoype' stage, without any customers...
SkyCourier made as simple (or cheap) as possible, with all those constant section fuselage and wings. as well as fixed undercarriage etc. (perhaps, intended to fulfill FedEx' requirements), so I hope that Cessna made right decision.
Green "chromate" overall finish looks kinda "military for me, resembling C-47
:cool:
 
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