Insider




FOLLOW THE DENALI

Would you like to follow the Denali turboprop on its journey? Fill out the form below to stay informed.

BUILD ON SCHEDULE

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DETAILED FLIGHT DECK DESIGN

The Denali has an ergonomically designed pedestal that includes dual touchscreen controllers for its Garmin™ G3000™ avionics. It also features a single lever power for engine control, an electric trim system with a pitch trim wheel for fine adjustment and a minimized profile for easy access in and out of the cockpit. Getting ready to go is as simple as pushing a single button which starts the Denali with a FADEC controlled automated start sequence.

GE CATALYST ENGINE UPDATE

GE Aviation announced the official name for the Denali’s Advanced Turboprop engine on March 7, 2018. The high technology dual channel FADEC powerplant is now the GE Catalyst.

The Catalyst™ engine has now entered certification testing, where GE Aviation will validate its aerodynamics, mechanics and aerothermal systems. The 1,240 shp-rated engine introduces 79 new technologies to offer higher efficiency, better performance and greater durability than other engines in its class.

With the first engine run and most of the individual component testing completed, early indications show that the Catalyst will meet or exceed all the performance numbers quoted.

CABIN DETAILS REVEALED

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THE ADVANCED COCKPIT DEBUT

With the latest mockup build, we now have the first opportunity for customers to experience the full power of the Denali’s cockpit – one that revolutionizes the single engine turboprop segment. The Garmin™ G3000™ flight deck modernizes turboprop avionics and significantly reduces pilot workload with dual touchscreen controllers and Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, allowing pilots to easily perform common tasks and manage the flight deck.

THE LATEST FROM THE FACTORY FLOOR

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DENALI "IRON BIRD" TEST RIG

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MEET THE TEAM BEHIND THE "IRON BIRD"

Left to right: Steve Carroll (A & P Mechanic), Patrick Wanless (Engineer Specialist), Aasiri Fernando (Engineering Manager), Marc McHenry (Engineer Specialist), Brett Lusby (Engineer Specialist), John Christensen (Senior Engineer), Courtney Balzer (Engineer Specialist), Chris Andress (Engineer) , Dan Oltjenbruns (Engineer Specialist), Rodney Cline (Avionics Technician)

The Flight Systems Simulator department consists of about ten engineers. It usually takes one to two years to build a simulator depending on its complexity and how many models are being built at the same time. The Denali Iron Bird took about 18 months to build. Because of Textron Aviation’s aggressive investment in new products, there are eight completed iron birds across multiple models, with three currently seeing heavy use.

GE AVIATION CATALYST ENGINE TESTING MARKS MILESTONE

The development program of the Denali single-engine turboprop marked a recent milestone with the successful mating by GE Aviation of its advanced Catalyst engine with the MCCAULEY composite propeller at the test facility in Prague. Watch the video produced by GE Aviation on the progress of the Catalyst.

The 1,300 shp turboprop engine has already completed more than 1,000 hours of testing on three test articles. With the new composite 5-blade propeller mated, GE Aviation successfully achieved full power and max RPM and demonstrated the full range of pitch using a FADEC with integrated propeller control. The Denali aircraft is the first new turboprop to employ a FADEC that controls both the engine and propeller. 

GE Aviation’s Catalyst engine currently has 98 patented technologies on the engine. It is the first turboprop engine in its class to introduce two stages of variable stator vanes, cooled high-pressure turbine blades and a FADEC – technologies that have proven themselves in millions of flying hours on GE Aviation’s other commercial and military engines. It performs at an industry-best 16:1 overall pressure ratio, enabling the engine to achieve 10 percent more power compared to competitor offerings in the same size class.

3D PRINTING A KEY PLAYER IN DENALI PROGRAM

Regarding the Catalyst, GE Aviation recently produced a 3D printed mockup of the engine used by Textron Aviation engineers to assess the ease of access for maintenance, once the actual engine is installed.

Using 3D Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) techniques, this plastic mockup is an exact replica printed from the final computer design that includes various mounting and attachment holes which was then fitted with other 3D printed or real attachments such as hoses and required operational components. The engine mockup is available for viewing at this year’s Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Fly-In Convention, July 22-28 at GE Aviation’s booth #373-376.

Apart from the 3D printed FDM mockup, the actual production engine incorporates similar, but more advanced additive manufacturing technique to create metal parts. This allows components like the heat exchangers, that would normally be constructed using dozens of individual components, to be manufactured as a one-piece part, eliminating complexity and increasing cooling efficiency while reducing weight, wear and leakage. The engine is designed for predictive maintenance enabling personalized service and improved aircraft availability.

NEW CABIN INTERIOR DESIGNS

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DENALI: AT THE CORE

With a jet-like cabin design, dual-channel FADEC and the first clean-sheet turboprop engine in more than 30 years, the DENALI aircraft is sure to disrupt the marketplace. But behind the features and capabilities of the new aircraft is a team of experts invested in both the plane and those who will sit inside.

THE TEAM’S LEADER
They call themselves “The Denali Core Team” and their mission is to deliver Textron Aviation’s most advanced single-engine turboprop. However, that’s where many of their similarities end. From manufacturing to customer service to marketing, the team is packed full of experts from strikingly different areas all working together to break boundaries.

“The best product comes from the best team,” stated Ernie Krusbsack, Denali’s Program Manager. “There isn’t an individual on this team that isn’t enthused and engaged about the product.”

Krubsack leads the core team, which is fitting considering his history with Textron Aviation. He’s been doing program manager work for nearly 20 years, most recently on the Cessna CITATION LATITUDE aircraft. His expertise lies in gathering innovators in many different fields of aviation and fostering an environment where they work in unison.

“It can be difficult,” Krubsack said. “But I find it enjoyable in the sense that you have to get into each person’s psyche, and you have to understand what makes them tick.”

GETTING TO WORK
While Krubsack leads the core team, each member of the team represents his or her own division. It’s a challenge they don’t take lightly.

“I’ve been interested in taking on the challenge of lead engineer on a program,” Manufacturing Engineer Program Manager Jonathan Braaten said. “When this opportunity became available, my supervisor handed me the keys and said, ‘Alright, let’s see what you’ve got.’”

Braaten’s push for human factors, ergonomics, and cost-effectiveness on the program stemmed from his manufacturing viewpoint. Others, such as David A. Dorner, emphasized the need for quality aftermarket parts and service options for Denali’s Customer Service Team.

“Early in the program, we established best practice, maintainability, and reliability goals to ensure reduced labor hours per flight hour,” stated Dorner. “We also monitored the associated design attributes for the platform to improve operational availability.”

Major aftermarket advances on the Denali aircraft included the implementation of an industry-leading diagnostic system, comprised of both a Central Maintenance Computer (CMC) and a full-time data recorder (AReS). When combined, the CMC and AReS provide indicated causes for crew alerts and advanced troubleshooting, a major boon for Customer Service representatives. Other on-board solutions already incorporated on the aircraft help to minimize specialized tools and test equipment needed for Denali turboprop maintenance.

The team’s use of the Maintenance Steering Group (MSG-3) analysis process further highlighted the unique collaboration on the Denali turboprop. Comprised of a steering committee of operators, suppliers, engineering personnel, and FAA representatives, the team involved in the MSG-3 process provided detailed analysis of every system, structure, and zone of the aircraft for scheduled tasking and maintenance interval requirements.

When other Core Team areas step up to support the needs of other departments in the build, it hasn’t gone unnoticed. “This engineering team has been amazing. Very, very responsive,” Dorner said of the requested changes from Aftermarket. “That’s been very exciting.”

That balance often revealed itself in gray areas and processes that had to be tested, developed and finally implemented. Much of the responsibility fell under Brad Bednar, the Experimental Project Coordinator.

“I think I’m just comfortable dealing with ambiguity and then learning something new each day and each week. In this role, if you want to stick to one schedule or one way of doing things, you’re not going to absorb all the knowledge,” Bednar said. “As the plane gets built, you check and adjust your plan seven, ten, twelve times and see what’s the best route to move.”

INNOVATION MEETS PASSION

“It becomes a big part of your life,” Braaten said about the Denali aircraft. “The Denali turboprop is a high priority program for Textron Aviation, so it’s a huge but exciting responsibility.”

It’s been nearly five years of work for many on the Denali Core Team and that time and investment means passion.

“We’re all personally connected to the Denali turboprop,” IT Senior Specialist Mark Thomas said. “It’s more than an airplane for those of us involved. It’s a collection of work from tons of people and the relationships that you build.”

Dorner equated the project to other legacy designs when he said, “KING AIR turboprops, CARAVAN turboprops, those have been around for a very long time and I fully believe that the Denali turboprop will be the next one of those. It’s an advanced turboprop and I believe it will be here for a long time. I think someday I’ll be telling my grandkids, ‘I was on that team.’”

Braaten added, “We’re doing something that’s unique. This is a brand-new clean-sheet airplane and when we’re done, I can say our team did that. That’ll be out there for who knows how long. Long past my lifespan, I’m sure.”

For some, it could be their future left seat.

“Because I have my pilot’s license and enjoy the plane aspect of this business, with the Denali turboprop, maybe it’s something I’ll be flying in the future,” Bednar added.

FIRST FLIGHT
When that moment comes for the Denali aircraft to leap into the air for the first time, this team says it will be emotional.

“Hair tingling. It happens every time,” Krubsack said. “Every time I go to a first flight that I’ve been a part of, it really tingles the hair on the back of your neck and just gives you the enthusiasm that you get about every five years.”

Thomas added, “The first flight is that magic moment culminating years of work.”

As that moment nears, the Denali Core Team says it wants to highlight one other thing. It’s not just the core team behind this aircraft. It’s hundreds of employees on various shifts doing any number of duties who are making this innovative dream come alive.

SPECIALIZED SYSTEMS: INSIDE THE DENALI

The launch of the DENALI turboprop will, without question, disrupt its aircraft market segment. But designers, developers and engineers at Textron Aviation want to be sure your trips utilizing the new aircraft are anything but disrupted.

Therein lie two solutions - the Maintenance Steering Group – 3 (MSG-3) and the On-board Maintenance and Diagnostics system. Both tools are implemented with reliability and your bottom line in mind.

MSG-3
MSG-3 is a process developed by the aviation industry and regulators worldwide to develop applicable and effective inspection tasks and intervals for an airplane. Rather than servicing an aircraft based on an uninformed calendar, an aircraft receives maintenance due to its carefully-calculated needs. Those involved with the process say Textron Aviation has used the MSG-3 process as a basis for developing scheduled maintenance on new airplane designs since 2005, though the Denali turboprop will be the first single-engine turbo-propeller aircraft that offers it.

MAIN BENEFITS
1. USER FRIENDLY: Any service provider or individual operator can easily refer to the Denali Maintenance Manual and follow the inspection program recommended by Textron Aviation. This program is “task based” which means there are step-by-step task procedures to ensure the work scope and detail is easy to follow with consistent results. Also, the Denali Maintenance Manual incorporates a Maintenance Planning Document that provides Program Rules, Maintenance Scheduling Tolerances and other flexible information, such as how to customize the program for individual operator own use, if desired.

2. INCREASED RELIABILITY: Maintenance on aircraft has an effect on components or systems reliability. The MSG-3 process generates maintenance tasks and intervals that are both applicable and effective to avoid excessive maintenance. When excessive maintenance is reduced, the infant mortality of components or systems is reduced.

3. REDUCED MAINTENANCE COSTS: The MSG-3 process reduces maintenance costs by allowing owners to handle maintenance as necessary. A scheduled maintenance program based on the MSG-3 process avoids excessive maintenance by utilizing comprehensive aircraft data to derive tasks and intervals, instead of basing maintenance on what has been done in the past or on information that ignores things like the potential for accidental damage, environmental damage, lubrication requirements or reliability data.

4. CONTINUED UPDATES FOR ACCURACY AND EFFICIENCY: Maintenance providers are required to document and report task findings as they perform tasks associated to a MSG-3 scheduled maintenance program. These task findings are reviewed periodically to determine if the scheduled maintenance tasks and intervals should be adjusted. The task findings process continuously keeps the maintenance program accurate and efficient.

ON-BOARD MAINTENANCE AND DIAGNOSTICS
The On-board Maintenance and Diagnostics system is comprised of two different types of system recordings – event-driven (CMC) and full-time (AReS II) functionality. These two systems work together to provide a comprehensive monitoring and reporting system that covers everything that happens on the aircraft, spanning from routine to advanced troubleshooting and analytics. Users can see CMC data, AReS data and time-critical fault data in several places once landed, which can also be transmitted to LINXUS, our customer data portal automatically over Wi-Fi. If immediate, in-flight notifications are warranted, users can arrange for the installation of a special Garmin box called the GSR-56.

MAIN BENEFITS

1. ANSWERS FASTER: The On-board Maintenance and Diagnostics identifies both the root cause and corrective action of an issue the first time it happens. The system makes the discovery portion of service quicker while also identifying trends.

2. ADVANCED INFORMATION: In cases where the application of CMC does not resolve the issue, AReS data takes the process farther, becoming a powerful tool for advanced troubleshooting. The combination of the two systems renders a comprehensive set of tools leading to user success.

3. SIMPLE USE AND STORAGE: With all diagnostic data stored securely on LinxUs, our customer data portal, users have easy access to detailed information, including the root cause of issues and relevant parameters.

4. MORE ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, FASTER: Service providers utilize the system to quickly identify the root cause and correction action of a fault. The ease of information transmission and detailed nature of the data reduces repeat visits to a service provider related to improper diagnosis.

Textron Aviation prides itself in supporting you throughout the entire ownership experience. When you embark upon a journey with Textron Aviation, you become part of the family for life. Our teams continue to utilize the most advanced, useful resources to make your experience during purchase and in the aftermarket better and more enjoyable.

NEW EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS
OF THE BEECHCRAFT DENALI TURBOPROP DEVELOPMENTS





It’s been a while since the last edition of Denali Insider, and we thought it was time to give you the latest developments on the BEECHCRAFT DENALI turboprop. We hope you are as excited as we are to continue the progress on this clean sheet aircraft. At Textron Aviation, we are committed to bringing you the best of the best meaning we aren’t cutting corners or speeding processes along.

It is an exciting time to share a few updates. First, as you’ll see in Denali Insider exclusive photos, the engine has been installed onto the aircraft. The new GE CATALYST turboprop engine pairs perfectly with the mission of the Denali turboprop.




Next, you’ll notice the Denali aircraft is far more than a fuselage these days. Our hardworking teams successfully completed wing mate and tail mate on the aircraft. These were big moments for those who have been part of this process from the beginning and we wanted to show the select group of Denali Insider viewers these photos to see the progress so far.





The avionics were powered on, making the aircraft even more real.





Finally, we have successfully completed initial ground engine runs on the aircraft, which verified the functionality of the fuel system and engine, as well as the interface with the avionics and electrical systems.

It’s hard to believe how versatile this aircraft can be until you see these photos. Our teams are working tirelessly to make this innovative aircraft a reality and we are thrilled to share the latest with you.


WHAT ELSE IS NEW? QUITE A BIT!

AUTOTHROTTLE
Becoming a favorite for pilots, the Beechcraft Denali turboprop will come standard with the GARMIN autothrottle system. This sought-after feature reduces pilot workload by automatically adjusting engine power settings based on information entered by the pilot. The pilot has the option to engage the system and can resume manual flying at any time, if preferred.

CABIN SWITCH PANEL
To enhance the passenger experience, the Beechcraft Denali turboprop will come standard with a cabin switch panel dedicated to those in the cabin. A feature often reserved for larger jets, users will have the freedom to adjust the cabin temperature and airflow without bothering the pilots. This allows for instant comfort and satisfaction of those on board.

ENHANCED AUTOMATIC FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM
A feature that comes standard in a Beechcraft Denali aircraft is the Enhanced Automatic Flight Control System. This system constantly monitors the flight and automatically provides control input if it senses excessive bank angles. It also provides overspeed and underspeed protection.

EXTERNALLY SERVICEABLE LAVATORY
A feature that allows for a more seamless transition between trips, the Beechcraft Denali aircraft has the option for an externally serviceable lavatory. More often found on larger jet aircraft, this allows for an efficient and more desirable system of cleaning the aircraft before and after trips.

OTHER NOTABLE FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • AReS II standard
  • High cabin pressure differential, 7.55 psi
  • 800 hour/18-month maintenance inspection interval through the use of MSG-3 task-based criteria
  • No airframe life limit or wing de-mate required
  • Catalyst engine with FADEC control
  • Engine trend monitoring
  • Trailing link landing gear design
  • Garmin G3000 avionics
  • Largest cabin in class
  • Large refreshment unit

A MAINTENANCE WORKER’S DREAM


We have taken quite a bit of time talking with you about all that’s gone into creating this aircraft. If you’ve followed along for a while, you’ll remember how our engineering and design team put a lot of thought into what happens after you purchase a Denali turboprop. Our team created this aircraft with maintenance in mind, designing systems and parts connections that are easy to remove. And while the aftermarket processes are simple, we’ve gone a step further in creating 3D technical publications surrounding the Denali aircraft. Take a look.

YEP, IT’S A BEECHCRAFT


You may have noticed that the Denali turboprop is now part of the Beechcraft family of high performance turboprop aircraft. Follow the link below for more details of the move to the Beechcraft brand.

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©2021 Textron Aviation Inc. All rights reserved. BEECHCRAFT and DENALI are trademarks or service marks of Textron Aviation Inc. or an affiliate and may be registered in the United States or other jurisdictions. CATALYST, GARMIN and G3000 are trademarks or service marks of others.