The Cessna 208 Caravan is a single-engined turboprop, fixed-tricycle landing gear, short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft that is built in the United States by Cessna. The airplane typically seats nine passengers with a single pilot, although with a FAR Part 23 waiver it can seat up to fourteen passengers. The aircraft is also used for cargo feederliner operations.
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.
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan factory demonstrator, with underbelly baggage locker, bearing the Cessna Caravan motto "Sure Thing"
Cessna offers the 208B in many configurations. The basic 208 airframe can be outfitted with various types of landing gear, allowing it to operate in a wide variety of environments. Some common adaptations include skis, enlarged tires for unprepared runways, and floats on the Caravan Amphibian model.
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.
The basic introductory model, outfitted for passenger operation.
208A Caravan 675
The current production model of the basic Caravan, with higher-powered PT6A-114A engine.
Developed with FedEx, a pure-cargo version of the Caravan. Fedex purchased 40 of this model.
208B Grand Caravan
A 4 feet (1.2 m) stretch of the Caravan I. The 208B features a more powerful PT6A-114A engine.
208B Grand Caravan EX
Model certified in January 2013 powered by a 867 hp (647 kW) Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-140 that improves climb by 38%. The model is aimed at float operators and will compete with aftermarket conversions.
208B Super Cargomaster
The cargo variant of the 208B series. FedEx purchased 260 of this model.
A 208A Caravan with Wipaire 8000 floats in place of the landing gear, for water landings or land operations.
A twin-engined stretch of the 208 that was developed by the Soloy Corporation. This aircraft features two PT6D-114A engines driving a single propeller, and a 70-inch (1,800 mm) fuselage stretch behind the wing.
208A with an 850 hp (634 kW) Honeywell TPE331-12JR-701S engine, installed by Aero Twin Inc.
950 Grand Caravan
208B with a 1,000 hp (746 kW) Honeywell TPE331-12JR-704AT engine, installed by Aero Twin Inc.
208A and 208B conversion to 850 hp (634 kW) PT-6A-42A.
208B with a 850 hp (634 kW) (900 hp (671 kW) flat-rated) Honeywell TPE331-12JR engine, installed by Texas Turbine
208B with an 850 hp (634 kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A engine, installed by Blackhawk
The Lebanese Air Force requested a new AC-208 and the conversion of the C-208 it already operates.
Other AC-208's will be delivered to countries in the Middle East and Africa through the Foreign Military Sales program. Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso are possible recipients of these AC-208 Combat Caravan's.
The Cessna 208 is used by governmental organisations and by a large number of companies for police, air ambulance, passenger transport, air charter, freight and parachuting operations. Fedex Feeder is the largest operator of the Cessna 208, with over 250 aircraft.