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The Cessna F406 Caravan II was built primarily for use in the developing world. Not surprisingly, that’s where you usually find them. They’re sprinkled throughout Africa and South America. In North America, they’re mainly seen in Alaska (although the Navy SEALs did use at least one as a jump plane–90Y was bought by Hageland Aviation, and sported a nice red, white, and blue paint scheme).

Designed as a twin version of the C208 Caravan I, the F406 Caravan II doesn’t resemble the 208 in any way–except for its ability to handle short flights and rough fields. Once the design was complete Cessna turned over the production to Reims Aviation, based in France (hence it’s an F406 instead of a C406).

Today the F406 is available on a custom order basis only, and I hear that parts can be hard to come by. This is too bad, because the 406 is excellent at what it was designed to do: cruise reasonably fast below 10,000 feet and land on short rough strips at a reasonable operating cost. Trailing link gear helps tame the bumps on dirt strips. Flat rating engines don’t hold their power at altitude, but they are cheaper than bigger engines and they perform fine below 10,000 feet (where most bush planes fly).

Every pilot I know who has flown the 406 has enjoyed the experience. Many have fallen in love with the plane. It’s light on the controls but stable flying an ILS. It cruises at over 200 knots yet handles great at 90 knots when you’re scud running.

Last September I was in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and was checking out Tanzanair’s 406. That’s when I heard that Tanzanair’s chief pilot had 12,000 hours in the plane. After interviewing Captain Kondo, I shot a video walkthrough of their 406, but the quality wasn’t very good.

Ironically, a month later, I was hired to fill in for the Bering Strait School District pilot in Unalakleet, Alaska. He has also logged well over 10,000 hours in the 406. Since he was out of state, I grabbed a bystander and shot a video walkthrough myself. Enjoy this short look at a great aircraft!

Video

In this video you’ll learn about:

  • The history of the Cessna F406 Caravan II.
  • The difference between Pratt & Whitney engines and Garrett engines (and what pipelines and boats have to do with it).
  • Why you can’t really make a bad landing in the 406.
  • Why the 406 doesn’t have split flaps like many Cessna twins.
  • The different ways it’s easy to load cargo into the 406.
  • The cockpit.
  • Typical airspeeds for operation.

 

Did you like this video? Scroll down to leave your comments and questions!

From the Web

More Information

GECI Aviation (the F406 manufacturer, formerly called Reims Aviation)

Flight Simulation

Mike says the best Cessna 406 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X is the Neuroflight Reims-Cessna F406. You can read a review of an earlier version (for Flight Simulator 2004) on Avsim. For its pressurized big brother, see the 441 Conquest II by Flight1.

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23 Responses to “Aircraft Walkthrough: Cessna F406 Caravan II”

  1. Geo says:

    Your video has taken this 85 y.o. Skyhawk driver on a trip I can only dream about. Now I know what I will do with my next life.

    • Mike Singer says:

      Hi Geo,

      Comments like that make all the work it takes to bring this site to you worth every second. In addition to providing useful information, one of our goals is to inspire people of all ages. Looks like we’re succeeding. Thanks for the very kind words!

      Best,
      Mike

  2. AnotherGeo says:

    Where were you guys 50 years ago? Almost 82 and quit flying a few years ago so I really love your interviews and news of Oddball flying. I never flew in Alaska but covered a bit of Mexico when there wasn’t much in the way of navaids. Keep up the excellent work I enjoy it so much! Thanks again, ~~~~~~~~~~ Anothergeo

  3. Paul Richfield says:

    Nice job Aidan, your tour of the F406 reminds me of an informal airplane hunt I undertook about 20 years ago when I worked for the now-defunct Air Nevada. In looking for a Cessna 402C replacement I cast a wide net and the F406 was certainly on the list. Alas, response from Cessna and/or its French partner was not forthcoming so we didn’t pursue it. Later, we all got a big kick out of the brochure photos Antonov Design Bureau sent for its An-28. Farmers herding sheep up the tail ramp in vivid watercolor! That sure would’ve looked cool on the ramp at McCarran. 😀

  4. Larrie Loehr says:

    With your 73 y.o. father and younger mother living inRichmond, Virginia, these videos let us feel the experience of being an oddball pilot – an artist of the air and explorer of the autonomous life. Thanks for the Site and yes, the drop-in visits, a Gandelf of the sky! – an amazed and astounded “Pops.”

  5. mtnflyer says:

    I just saw that Bering Strait School District is looking for a pilot to fly this plane… http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/Jobs/JobDetails.aspx?Job_DID=J3G4KY68J9HHRCB7HWL&siteid=CBSIMPLYHIRED&ipath=EXGOO Good luck to anyone who is interested.

    • Aidan says:

      Yes, BSSD in looking for a new pilot. Doug Hemnes recently had a massive heart attack which he did not survive. Doug had flown for BSSD for about 12 years and was something of a fixture in the area. I was just back up there finishing out the school year for him (I know it would have annoyed him no end that he didn’t quite make it to the end of the school year). His shoes will be hard to fill but the job itself is very good. Good people to work with and nice plane to fly. The flying is some of the best in the state. All part 91 which keeps the paperwork light compared to Part 135 work. In general you get a schedule a day or so ahead of time. Then you show up in the morning and fly till the schedule is complete. There are some long days but by and large it is a very manageable schedule.
      I don’t think this job will go to anyone who hasn’t been flying in Alaska for some time but it never hurts to apply.
      If anyone has any questions feel free to email me at:
      aidan@oddballpilot.com

  6. Aidan Loehr says:

    Yes, BSSD in looking for a new pilot. Doug Hemnes recently had a massive heart attack which he did not survive. Doug had flown for BSSD for about 12 years and was something of a fixture in the area. I was just back up there finishing out the school year for him (I know it would have annoyed him no end that he didn’t quite make it to the end of the school year). His shoes will be hard to fill but the job itself is very good. Good people to work with and nice plane to fly. The flying is some of the best in the state. All part 91 which keeps the paperwork light compared to Part 135 work. In general you get a schedule a day or so ahead of time. Then you show up in the morning and fly till the schedule is complete. There are some long days but by and large it is a very manageable schedule.
    I don’t think this job will go to anyone who hasn’t been flying in Alaska for some time but it never hurts to apply.
    If anyone has any questions feel free to email me at:
    aidan@oddballpilot.com

  7. Tony aka Gummi Bear says:

    Air Doug as it was referred to by many in the region. Doug flew for the district nearly 16 years, Truly a great personal friend and well put a fixture in the area. I’ve had the great honor of knowing him since the 1970’s when he
    flew out of Nome.

  8. Tim Daniels says:

    The job listing has has expired. Position is to be filled by 8-1-12. Can contact pilot@bssd.org. The F-406 is amazing. What few problems have good solutions. I have a list of 406 owners. Sure would like to hear some one from Africa on this plane. Reims has reviewed this Blog. Seems to have made them proud. Look forward to seeing an article on Doug Hemnes. What a consistent pilot. One could have called him a machine with the way he could reproduce the same results time after time.

  9. jerry giffin says:

    Amazing aircraft. I have painted the BSSD scheme onto my reims f406 in FSX. Now currently working on the cockpit. I want to make this flight sim aircraft as close as possible to the real BSSD 406.

  10. Owen says:

    Fantastic video! I’m just about to start my type rating on a 406 in the UK. Now I really can’t wait to start. I flew the 404 before so i’m looking forward to comparing the two. You demonstrate a great understanding of the 406 and flying in general. great job well done!

  11. jerry giffin says:

    Almost done with the BSSD 406 for FSX. I’ve even built and installed a working hula girl :) . It’s not 100% perfect but it’s probably as close to the real thing as anyone will get. Photo here http://i1092.photobucket.com/albums/i409/jerrygiffin/BSSD406.jpg . Video here http://youtu.be/VsWWLRywWFQ

  12. radio ray says:

    brings back wonderful memories. thanks to some friends at hageland, during the pre era days, i got to “ride along” in this wonderful ac. WOW what a hotrod compared to the grand caravan! you know who you are, and who i am. thank you again. i miss those days alot.

  13. jose urraca says:

    We need to buy this type of aircraft, so all commentsabout price in the market, real cargo, ect, are welcome, thanks.

  14. Stan Amarok says:

    This plane is truly amazing and I just love every bit of it. I’ve had the great honor to work and fly with “Papa Doug” numerous times and he made the plane seem flawless. On time, every time (occasionally early I should say). He certainly was a fixture to our region and will be dearly missed. #406love

  15. Carter Smith says:

    Great plane. I’d love to fly one.

  16. David (England) says:

    Oh man, these videos are SO good! Thanks so much for giving us these Aiden. You’re a superb human being!

  17. Al Ticknor, Jr. says:

    Visited this site for information on F406F I have a customer requiring maintenance training on this aircraft let me know of any possible sources.

  18. JJ says:

    Great videos!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Good flights and safe landings.

  19. Baylee says:

    How many miles can a full tank of gas in this plane take you?

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