The Cessna Grand Caravan EX utility turboprop single entered service more than six years ago, and Textron Aviation has delivered its 500th copy, the company announced yesterday. Certified in 2013, it is the third variant of the successful Caravan line first introduced in 1986, but with a more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-140 engine that improved its rate of climb by 38 percent over its predecessor.
Accepting the milestone Grand Caravan EX was Albuquerque, New Mexico-based South Aero, a charter and freight hauler that operates five Cessna Caravans and nearly 11 flights a day. “The dependability and load-carrying capability of the Grand Caravan EX allows our fleet to operate for thousands of hours across the continental US,” South Aero owner and CEO Wayne South said. “This is an outstanding aircraft for our operations and a platform that our pilots love to fly.”
The $2.68 million airplane—which includes the optional under-belly cargo pod—can seat up to 14 passengers with a useful load of 3,692 pounds (1,675 kg) and a maximum range of 912 nm.