Cessna recently marked the 30th anniversary of the Caravan, a single-engine, turbine-powered utility aircraft.
The prototype Caravan first flew in December 1982 with the FAA certifying the aircraft in October 1984. Cessna has produced almost 2,500 Caravans since it was first delivered in February 1985.
The aircraft has logged more than 13 million flight hours in 100 countries and Cessna currently manufacturers four versions of the aircraft for various uses by operators.
The Caravan typically seats nine passengers with a single pilot at the controls. It can, however, seat up to 14 passengers. The aircraft is also used for cargo operations with such companies as FedEx, which operates more than 200 Caravans.
For additional information on the Cessna Caravan, please click on this link.
Ironically, I’ve never flown the Caravan yet, I’ve spent many hours flying the venerable Cessna 206 and 207 models.
To date, the 206 is my favorite single-engine aircraft. I flew that aircraft, and the 207, as a scheduled freight pilot, charter pilot, on scenic tours of the Grand Canyon and on agricultural summer contracts within the state of Maine. I also had the pleasure of ferrying the 206, loaded with aircraft mechanics and parts, back and forth between Maine and Arizona for two summers.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Cessna 206, please click here.
All these memories came back to me during a recent visit to the Phoenix Deer Valley Airport last month. I watched a Caravan land and taxi to a parking spot on the ramp right next to a Cessna 207. I hadn’t realized how much larger an aircraft the Caravan is when compared to the 207. In my day, the 207 was a large airplane.
Today, I’m privileged to fly the Airbus A320 series jet across the USA. What used to take me 20+ hours over three-days in a Cessna 206 (Arizona – Maine), I now do in 4+ flying hours (Phoenix – Boston) in the Airbus A320!