The Cessna 208B Grand Caravan is a single-turbo-engine, fixed-gear, utility transport aircraft and short-haul airliner for upto fourteen
passengers and one or two crew. Cessna Aircraft Company, Wichita, Kansas, USA, started development of the Cessna Model 208 by the
end of the 1970s as a single-engined turboprop aircraft for up to ten passengers or up to a ton of load. The Cessna Model 208 was
designed as a rugged utility aircraft to replace the aging De Havilland Canada Otters, Beavers and Beech 18 aircraft in use with
bush operators. Therefor the design had to include the possibillity to equip the aircraft with skis and floats for use in remote
areas with extreme weather changes, mountainous terrain and rough landing conditions. Final design work of the Cessna Model 208 started
in 1979. The prototype Model 208 (serial number 699), registered N208LP, flew first on 9 December 1982. FAA-certification for the Cessna
Model 208 Caravan I was awarded on 23 October 1984. The first Caravan was delivered on 25 February 1985, to an air service provider in Alaska,
and the next day Federal Express (now FedEx) took delivery of its first Caravan, which included a belly cargo pod and other modifications
specially designed for the express delivery pioneer. The Cessna 208A Cargomaster, was developed with FedEx as a pure-cargo version of
the Caravan. A further development with a lengthened fuselage is the Cessna 208B. The protoptype Model 208B Super Cargomaster,
registered N9767F, flew first on 3 March 1986. The 208B Super Cargomaster entered service with Federal Express in 1986. Federal Express
was the main operator of the Cessna 208 with a fleet of 39 Cessna 208A Cargomasters and over 200 Cessna 208B Super Cargomasters all-cargo variants.
These aircrafts have a large cargo door, no side windows and are fitted with additional cargo tiedown points, cargo nets and an underfuselage
cargo pannier. Fourty aircraft were built as Model 208A’s, these were subsequently all converted to Model 208’s by embodiment of a Cessna Service
Kit or out of service. The designation Model 208A was removed from the FAA TCDS at Rev 13. The Cessna Model 208B Grand Caravan was the passenger
model derived from the Super Cargomaster and was certified on 13 december 1989. Many Grand Caravan variants include an underbelly cargo pod, which
can be used for additional freight capacity, or for passenger baggage. In 2012, the Cessna Grand Caravan EX with a Garmin Glass Cockpit and a 867
shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-140 engine was announced. The new model keeps its 208B designation, but gives operators a great deal
more power, thanks to the expressly for the EX developed Pratt & Whitney PT6-140 turboprop engine. In January 2013, after a quick certification
test program, Cessna earned FAA approval for the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX. A number of Cessna 208 variants is converted to skydiving aircraft with
the left-side cargo hatch converted to a roll-up door. This skydiving platform makes its possible to bring up to 20 parachutists to the jump height.
The military variants of the Cessna Model 208 uses the designations U-27A; C-16 and Cessna AC-208 Combat Caravan. In 1985, Cessna Aircraft Company
ceased to be an independent company. It was purchased by General Dynamics Corporation and became a wholly owned subsidiary. In 1992, General Dynamics
sold Cessna to Textron Inc. and on 29 July 2015, the company name changed to Textron Aviation Inc., Wichita, Kansas. Building of the Cessna 208
started in Wichita. In May 2012, Cessna announced that an assembly line for the 208 by a Cessna-AVIC joint venture would be established in Shijiazhuang
in the People's Republic of China. In August 2016, Textron announced that it is moving the Cessna 208 production from its Wichita headquarters to its
Independence, Kansas production facility. Over 2.500 Cessna 208 aircraft in the diverent variations have been delivered since the Cessna 208 entered service in 1985.
The 2000-built Cessna 208B Grand Caravan s/n 208B0868 was registered N1311A in the USA with Africair on 3 January 2001.
The same day the N1311A was registered with Isla Nena Air Service, Peurto Rico. On 14 March 2001, registration N1311A was
changed to N787DM. On 11 September 2003, Gran Caravan N787DM was registered with San Juan Jet, and on 22 March 2004 with San Juan
Jet Charter. On 29 June 2005, Nature Link was registered as the new owner of Cessna 208B N787DM. On 25 July 2005, registration
N787DM was cancelled as exported to South Africa, and the next day the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan was registered ZS-POH
in South Africa with NatureLink Charters. On 11 September 2007, the ZS-POH was registered with Black Ginger 425.
On 13 July 2005, Cessna 208B Grand Caravan N787DM was seen at Lelystad Airport in the Netherlands on its way to
South Africa, still in the Isla Nena colors.