The prototype first flew in December 1982. The production model was certified by the FAA in October 1984. Since then, the Caravan has undergone a number of design evolutions. Working with FedEx, Cessna produced first the Cargomaster, and followed that with the stretched and upgraded Super Cargomaster. The passenger model, the Grand Caravan, was derived from the Super Cargomaster. In January 2013 a higher-powered (867 shp from P&WC PT6A-140) version, the Grand Caravan EX, received FAA certification. This higher-powered version will be produced by a Cessna-AVIC joint venture in China.
The Caravan interior can be outfitted with seats or cargo holds. The standard high-density airline configuration features four rows of 1-2 seating behind the two seats in the cockpit. This variant is capable of holding up to thirteen passengers, although it is marketed as being able to make a profit carrying just four. The cabin can be configured in a low density passenger configuration, with 1-1 seating, as a combination of passengers and cargo, or as a strictly cargo aircraft. Many variants include an underbelly cargo pod, which can be used for additional freight capacity, or for passenger baggage. A number of Caravans are operated as skydiving aircraft with the left-side cargo hatch converted to a roll-up door.
In May 2012 Cessna announced that an assembly line for the 208 would be established in the People’s Republic of China. The government-owned China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) will conduct final assembly of Caravans at its plant in Shijiazhuang for the Chinese market.
Primary User: FedEx Feeder
- Number Built: 2000+