FedEx is buying up to 100 new flying delivery trucks

AP Photo

(CNN) — FedEx is keen on Cessna’s newest small plane.

Cessna on Tuesday unveiled an all-new design for a small freighter and passenger aircraft, dubbed the SkyCourier.

FedEx Express has agreed to buy 50 of the flying delivery trucks, adding roughly one per month for four years, and holds options for 50 more. The global delivery company is rapidly modernizing its fleet of small planes to stay ahead of competitors like Amazon, which are trying to fly and deliver more orders themselves.

FedEx, whose planes crisscross the globe with your packages, operates one of the largest aircraft fleets on the planet.

But its enormous freight aircraft can’t pickup and deliver in every community, so the company uses a feeder network of smaller planes to get parcels closer to their final destination, where they can be delivered by ground transportation.

Related Content: Stretch Your Dollar: Best credit cards for holiday shopping

With a top speed of 200 knots (230 miles per hour), the SkyCourier will be able to haul 6,000 pounds of cargo as far as 900 nautical miles. That range would enable FedEx to fly packages from its main hub in Memphis to locations as far off as North Dakota, New Mexico, Connecticut or even the Caribbean.

While the design is all new, the SkyCourier isn’t the most high-tech plane around.

Cessna is using long-proven engines and non-computerized pilot controls to keep development costs down. And the aircraft gets by without some of the standard features of larger planes like retractable landing gear. That saves weight and allows the aircraft to operate in more rugged conditions.

The body of the plane is designed to fit three specially shaped containers that will slot directly into the belly of larger freight airliner to speed up airport connections.

The SkyCourier will fly first as a freighter, but the aircraft also comes in a model designed to carry up to 19 passengers and two crew.

The new planes be delivered to FedEx starting in mid-2020.

Cessna, which is a unit of Textron, didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s