The Cessna 208 Caravan Super Cargomaster is an unpressurised single turboprop engine, fixed-gear short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft built in the USA by Cessna Company in Wichita, Kansas. The airplane can seat up to nine passengers, with a single person crew, although it can seat up to fourteen passengers with a FAR Part 23 waiver. The aircraft is also known to be used for cargo feederliner operations in 70 countries worldwide with its capability to use rough fields and airstrips, its economical operation and versatility for high speeds and heavy loads.
With design work dating back to the early eighties, this Caravan’s first flight took place on December 9 1982 and certification was granted in October 1984. It became the first new single engine turboprop powered aircraft to accomplish production status when production began the next year. Since then the aircraft has undergone numerous design evolutions.
The Caravan I has had a close association with Federal Express (FedEx), on whose request Cessna especially developed two pure freight versions. The first version was the 208A Cargomaster (40 delivered), the second was the stretched 208B Super Cargomaster (260 delivered). The first Super Cargomaster flew in 1986 and features a 1.22m (4ft) stretch and greater payload capacity, including an under fuselage cargo pannier. The aircraft has built-in additional cargo tiedown points, cargo nets and an underfuselage cargo pannier. The Cargomaster is an all-cargo variant not having side windows and a large cargo door.
The Cargomaster also has a stretched version, the 208G, which includes an additional plug to the aft of the wing or a fuselage section providing an extra 1.22m to the cabin’s length. This version can carry a payload of 1,587kg. The basic 208 airframe can be equipped with various types of landing gear, which allows it to maneuver in a wide variety of environments. Some common adaptations include skis, enlarged tires for unwary runways and floats on the Caravan Amphibian model.
Federal Express utilizes a two-section over and under cargo door, which can be fixed open, removed or opened in flight for cargo airdrops.
The 208B Grand Caravan first flew in 1990 and like the Super Cargomaster is a stretched version of the basic Caravan powered by a 505kW (675shp) PT6A-114. It can seat up to 14 passengers.
Announced at the 1997 NBAA convention, the 208-675 has replaced the basic 208. It combines the standard length airframe of the 208 with the more powerful PT6A-114 of the 208B.