The Seattle company founded in 1973 by James Raisbeck has a long history of modifying and improving factory aircraft, including Beechcraft King Airs, Learjets, and Rockwell International Sabreliners, to name a few. Raisbeck’s latest supplemental type certificate (STC) effort focuses on improving the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan with factory-installed cargo pods that Raisbeck modified with a forward fairing and dual aft body strakes. The company has completed a 24-month development and flight test program that included more than 130 hours of flight test, and said it expects STC approval from the FAA in mid-December.
Raisbeck sold the first 11 Epic Caravan drag-reduction systems to Redding Aero, which operates a charter fleet out of Redding Municipal Airport in California. The system reduces drag in all phases of flight and increases cruise speed by up to 5 knots at typical power settings while also reducing fuel consumption. The Epic Caravan package adds 38 pounds to the aircraft’s empty weight, but it eliminates the need for a deicing boot on the cargo pod. Removing that boot and allowing the engine to run at lower temperatures to achieve a given speed reduces maintenance costs.
“We are very pleased to have Redding Aero as our first EPIC Caravan customer. The aircraft that we have been flying for our certification testing has been a Redding aircraft. I think that is an important point,” Raisbeck Engineering President Hal Chrisman said in the news release. “Our first customer is the operator that knows the most about this modification and has seen first-hand the performance improvement the EPIC Caravan modification provides. What better endorsement can you ask for? We have just kicked off a demonstration tour across the United States and I am looking forward to a similar reception from many more customers!”
Raisbeck did not announce pricing for the Epic Caravan modification package.