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D-FREI Cessna 208B Grand Caravan c/n 208B1024 - Skyhigh Fallschirmsport Eschbach - Bremgarten airfield in Germany - 8 May 2022 Bremgarten airfield (EDTG)

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 ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the Cessna 208B is C208.

The 2003-built Cessna 208B Grand Caravan s/n 208B1024 was flown first with the Cessna Aircraft Co. test registration N5117U. On 17 April 2003, the aircraft was registered G-WIKY in the UK with Provident Partners. Cessna 208B G-WIKY entered service with Air Med Cargo in Spain. On 4 April 2005, registration G-WIKY was cancelled as exported to Spain. On 24 August 2005, the Cessna was registered EC-JGQ as before operated with Air Med Cargo. In February 2007, registration EC-JGQ was cancelled and on 9 February 2007, registration G-WIKY was restored with as before Provident Partners as owner. On 20 October 2008, registration G-WIKY was cancelled as exported to Egypt, where the aircraft was registered SU-KAH and entered service with Anka Aviation Cargo, Cairo. After the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan was withdrawn from use by Anka Aviation Cargo, the aircraft was stored in the desert. At the end of 2014, the SU-KAH was flown to Germany. In 2015, the aircraft got a complete overhaul and was converted into a skydive platform. On 14 July 2015, the Cessna 208B was registered N789JG with Jens Gronemeyer, California. On 12 September 2015, registration N789JG was cancelled as exported to Germany, where it was registered D-FREI with Skyhigh Fallschirmsport Eschbach as operator. Since, Cessna 208B Grand Caravan D-FREI is operated out of Flugplatz Gewerbepark Breisgau (Bremgarten) for Skyhigh Fallschirmsport Eschbach.
On 8 May 2022, Cessna 208B Grand Caravan D-FREI was seen at Flugplatz Gewerbepark Breisgau (Bremgarten).

page last updated: 19-05-2022
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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