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Bombardier Dash 8 Regional Airliner

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Bombardier Dash 8

The Bombardier Dash 8 is a high wing twin engined turbo-propeller airliner. It was developed by de Havilland Canada in 1984 as a replacement for their Dash 7 airliner. The Dash 7 was a four-engined turbo-propeller regional airliner and its strength lay in the ability to perform short take-offs and landings which de Havilland saw as a strong selling point in some of Canada’s more remote locations.

The market actually felt differently and was more interested in operating economy, rather than short field operations. This resulted in them coming up with the Dash 8. The Dash 8 took some of the features of the Dash 7, such as the basic fuselage, and the tail section, but instead of four turboprop engines they reduced this to two more powerful engines. The nose of the Dash 8 was more streamlined than its predecessor coming to a point toward the bottom of the fuselage.

Bombardier Dash 8 – 311 Reg ZK-NEC belonging to Air Nelson (Air New Zealand Link)

The engine nacelles are long and streamlined protruding fore and aft of the high aspect wing. The landing gear is stored in the after section of each nacelle and retracts toward the rear. Like the Dash 7 the Dash 8 has a large T-shaped tail which ensures that the horizontal stabiliser is kept out of the propeller wash during take-off.

The Dash 8 was a much more attractive design to the market due to its operating economy. This was in large part due to the reduction from 4 to 2 engines. However, the Dash 8 also out performed the Dash 7 in its cruise capabilities and was the most fuel efficient regional airliner of any type, when it was introduced.

…right time to take advantage of the end of life of old regional turboprop airliners

The Dash 8 came along at the right time to take advantage of the end of life of old regional turboprop airliners. These included the Fokker F27 Friendship and the Handley Page HPR-7 Herald 214. There is quite a similarity in airframe across all these models. This made it an ideal upgrade option for those airlines that needed to replace the older models as they came to the end of their service life.

At the beginning of its life, the Dash 8 was manufactured by de Havilland Canada and carried the name DHC Dash 8. It was and still is manufactured in Downsview on the north side of Toronto, Ontario. The company was taken over by Boeing in 1988 for several reasons, one of which was that Boeing was competing with Airbus for a large airliner contract with Air Canada. The deal was won by Airbus and subsequently, Boeing sold de Haviland Canada in 1992 to Bombardier Aerospace.  The aircraft type is now known at the Bombardier Dash 8 or Q-Series.

Air Atlantic Dash 8-100

Bombardier Dash 8 Variants

Since its introduction in 1984, there have been four main variants of the Dash 8. The classic versions which include the Dash8 -100, -200 and -300 have now ceased production while Bombardier concentrates development on the 400 or Q400 as it is more commonly known. The 100 and 200 were of equal length with a much shorter fuselage than the later models. The main difference between the 100 and 200 was an increase in engine power giving better cruise performance but slightly less range.

The -300 was just over three metres longer than the 100 and 200 with a slightly lower cruising speed. It came with the option for standard or long range fuel tanks where the standard option gave a lower range than both the 100 and 200, but the long range was significantly higher.

…the 400 is a very attractive option for regional carriers…….

The 400 is the current model that Bombardier say they will develop further for the future.  At over 7 metres longer than the 300 with a significantly higher cruise speed, the 400 is a very attractive option for regional carriers. Even when compared to regional jets, the 400 is an attractive option with better seat/mile economy. When many regional routes are less than 500 kilometres, a large proportion of the trip is spent taxiing to and from runways. This means that what little speed advantage the regional jets may have over the 400 becomes quite insignificant.

Bombardier Dash 8 Q402 Cabin

Bombardier is marketing the 400 quite aggressively now and is considering a further stretch, the 400X. There are really only two aircraft in this turboprop space competing with each other, the Dash 8-400 and the ATR 72.

Since the first half of 1996, 200, 300 and 400s have been fitted with ANVS (Active Noise and Vibration Suppression). This system works to reduce the noise and vibration that is common in propeller aircraft. It works a little like noise cancelling headphones but on a larger scale. This enhances the cabin experience to almost the same level as jet airliners. The aircraft that carry this feature are denoted by the Q for quiet in their model number, such as the Dash 8 Q400.

Bombardier Dash 8 Specs

   Dash 8-100  Dash 8-200  Dash 8-300  Dash 8-400
Flight Crew 2
Typical 1 Class Seating 37 37 50 78
Year Entered Service 1984 1995 1989 2000
Airframe Cost (USD) M$12.5 M$13 M$17 M$27
Airframe Dimensions
Length 22.25 mtrs (73 ft) 25.68 mtrs (84 ft 3 in) 32.81 mtrs (107 ft 8 in)
Tail Height 7.49 mtrs (24 ft 7 in) 8.3 mtrs (27 ft 3 in)
Fuselage Diameter 2.69 mtrs (8 ft 10 in)
Cabin Width 2.51 mtrs (8 ft 3 in)
Cabin Length 9.1 mtrs (29 ft 10 in) 12.6 mtrs (41 ft 4 in) 18.8 mtrs (61 ft 8 in)
Wing Span 25.89 mtrs (84 ft 11 in) 27.43 mtrs (90 ft) 28.4 mtrs (93 ft 2 in)
Wing Area 54.4 mtrs²(585.55 ft²) 56.2 mtrs² (604.93 ft²) 63.1 mtrs² (679.20 ft²)
Engines 2 x PW120A/PW121 2 x PW123C/D 2 x PW123B 2 x PW150A
Normal Cruise Speed 269 knots (310 mph 500 km/h) 290 knots (334 mph 537 km/h) 285 knots (328 mph 528 km/h) 360 knots (414 mph 667 km/h)
Maximum Operating Altitude 25,000 ft (7,620 mtrs) 27,000 ft (8,230 mtrs)
Range (typical load) 1,020 nautical miles (1,174 statute miles / 1,889 km) 925 nautical miles (1,065 statute miles / 1,713 km) 841 nautical miles (968 statute miles / 1,558 km)
Long Range Tanks 1,264 miles (2,034 km)
1,362 nautical miles (1,567 statute miles / 2,522 km)
Takeoff Distance at MTOW 800 mtrs (2,625 ft) 1,178 mtr (3,865 ft) 1,402 mtrs (4,600 ft)
Maximum Fuel Capacity 3,210 Ltr (848 US gal) 6,616 Ltr
(1,748 US gal)
Maximum Takeoff Weight 16,470 kg (36,300 lb) 19,500 kg
(43,000 lb)
29,260 kg (64,500 lb)
Maximum Landing Weight 15,650 kg (34,500 lb) 19,050 kg
(42,000 lb)
28,010 kg (61,750 lb)
Maximum Zero Fuel Weight 14,700 kg (32,400 lb) 17,920 kg
(39,500 lb)
25,850 kg (57,000 lb)
Typical Empty Operating Weight 10,483 kg (23,111 lb) 11,791 kg
(25,995 lb)
17,185 kg (37,886 lb)
Typical Payload Weight 3,407 kg (7,511 lb) 5,138 kg (11,327 lb) 8,670 kg (19,114 lb)

QANTAS Link Eastern Australia De Havilland Canada DHC-8-201 Dash 8 Registration VH TQG taxis at Sydney

Bombardier Dash 8 History

Date Event
19 April 1983 The first de Haviland Canada, DHC Dash 8 rolls out of the factory.
20 June 1983 First flight of the DHC Dash 8.
23 October 1984 Now defunct airline, NorOntair becomes the first operator of the DHC Dash 8.
1986 Boeing buys de Havilland Canada in a bid to compete with Airbus on a lucrative
March 1992 As soon as Boeing lost the Air Canada contract to Airbus, they put de Havilland Canada up for sale. DHC was bought by Montreal-based Bombardier Aerospace.
Q2 1996 All Dash 8s, the 200, 300 and 400 are fitted with ANVS (Active Noise and Vibration Suppression) from this date onward. The Q for Quiet is added to the model numbers, eg Q400.
2005 The last Dash 8 100 is produced.
2007 Bombardier proposes to stretch the Q400 to a 90 seat version called the 400X.
April 2008 Bombardier announces that the Dash 8 100, 200 and 300, the Classic Series, will no longer be produced.
June 2009 Air Nelson (New Zealand) is the last airline to receive a Classic Series Dash 8.
May 2009 Ther last Dash 8 200 and 300 are produced.
June 2009 Bombardier announced that the 400X was still very much part of the future and slated a 2013-14 date target for its introduction. Not much other detail was given.
July 2010 Bombardier announced they were still in discussion with potential customers about eh 400X, but the commitment to this project seemed less.
May 2011 Bombardier is committed to the 400X project, however, new engines from General Electric and Pratt and Whitney were complicating launch dates. The expected launch date had slipped to 2015.
October 2012 Bombardier together with a consortium including Korea Aerospace Industries and Korean Air Lines sign a deal to develop the 90 seat version with a target of 2019 for launch.
February 2016 Bombardier announce at the Singapore Airshow a 90 seat version of the Dash 8 to be launched in 2018.

Bombardier Dash 8 Production

As of 31 December 2015, 1,179 Dash 8s of all variants have been delivered. Of this total, just over 500 are the Q400 variant which is now the only one still in production.  Bombardier has a backlog of just under 40 on their books.

Variant Orders Deliveries Backlog
Dash 8 -1 100  299  299  –
Dash 8 -1 200  105  105  –
Dash 8 -1 300  267  267  –
Dash 8 -1 400  547  508  39
 Totals 1,218 1,179 39

We hope you have enjoyed reading about the Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft. If you have any comments or even stories about your experiences with this aircraft please feel free to share below. Thank you.

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