Beechcraft’s Denali displayed at the 2023 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

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Story and photos by Ken Kula

A new cabin-class turboprop is poised to enter the market, the Beechcraft Denali. Known as the Model 220, the big single-engined aircraft has had an interesting gestation, and is now in the midst of its FAA certification process.

Textron Aviation is the parent company for both Cessna and Beechcraft (as well as other civilian manufacturers). Originally announced as a Cessna product, it now falls under the Beechcraft family.

In 2015, the design was announced at the EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh. A new engine, ultimately known as the General Electric Catalyst, was part of this clean sheet design. In 2017 the first structures of test items were manufactured, and by the end of 2019, the prototype was awaiting its new engine.

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The prototype made its first flight on November 23, 2021 from Wichita, Kansas. By the time the 2023 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh rolled around, there was a prototype and two pre-production airframes in testing phases. The second aircraft was delivered just prior to the big week-long show, and on day 1, a media presentation with the number 2 aircraft was offered.

The big single has a wingspan of 54 feet, 3 inches; length is 48 feet, 9 inches long. The tallest feature (the tail) is 15 feet 3 inches from the ground.

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The cabin has a height of 4 feet 10 inches tall, almost 17 feet in length, and the aircraft can seat up to 11 occupants, including the two in the cockpit. Most literature, and this 3rd airframe was fitted with six seats in the rear, plus a refreshment center. A 9-seat commuter interior is also discussed. Company literature calls the cabin “jet-like” in design.

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Maximum cruise speed is figured at 285 knots, maximum ceiling is FL310 (it will be RVSM certified), and the minimum takeoff length takes slightly less than 3,000 feet of runway. Beechcraft advertises a range of 1,600 nautical miles with 4 passengers.

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The General Electric Catalyst engine develops 1,300 shaft horsepower and is fitted with a 5-bladed McCauley Blackmac carbon propeller.

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The cockpit instrumentation includes a Garmin G3000. Other innovations include a Terrain Avoidance Warning System, weather avoidance radar, and synthetic vision technology.

Comparisons against several aircraft that have been in service already include:

The Pilatus NGX has a maximum cruising speed 5 knots faster, its service ceiling is 1,000 feet lower, and has a slightly longer range with 4 passengers. Minumum takeoff length is a few hundred feet less than the Denali. Interestingly, the cabin is almost exactly the same size and can accommodate the same amount of occupants. Both aircraft models have a large rear door capable of outsized cargo, like skis. The PC-12 NGX is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6E-67XP engine, with a Hartzell 5-bladed composite propeller.

The Daher TBM-960 has a maximum cruise speed of 330 knots and a similar range. The cabin is smaller, and maximum passenger seating is for 6. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6E-66XT engine paired with a Hartzell Raptor 5-bladed composite propeller. The TBM-960 also has a slightly shorter takeoff roll, but is lighter than the Denali. Length is 35 feet 3 inches and wingspan is 42 feet 1 inch. Maximum altitude is FL310 too.

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The Beechcraft Denali is being marketed for “charter and fractional operators” as well as to individual owners. Textron expects that the big single will gain FAA certification some time in 2025 and has plans for European and other certifications after that.

Ken Kula

Assignment and Content Editor, writer and photographer A New Englander all of my life, I've lived in New Hampshire since 1981. My passion for all things aviation began at a very early age, and I coupled this with my interest of photography during college in the late 1970s. I spent 35 years in the air traffic control industry, and concurrently, enjoyed my aviation photography and writing adventures, which continue today. I've been quite fortunate to have been mentored by some generous and gifted individuals. I enjoy contributing to this great site and working with some very knowledgeable and equally passionate aviation followers.

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