Bombardier Dash 8 / Q-Series
The Bombardier Dash 8 or Q-Series is a family of twin-engine turboprop regional airliners. The aircraft type was previously known as 'De Havilland Canada Dash 8' or, more officially, 'DHC-8'. Since 1992 De Havilland Canada is part of Bombardier Aerospace.
De Havilland Canada traditionally was a builder of aircraft with very good short take-off and landing (STOL) characteristics. The 50-seat, four-engine Dash 7, however, developed during the 1970s, did not sell well. Only a small number of airlines appeared to be interested in its STOL-performance, because the four-engine concept resulted in higher operational costs compared with aircraft with two engines.
Therefore De Havilland Canada launched a new two-engine aircraft, the Dash 8, fitted with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW120 engines. Like the Dash 7, the new aircraft has a high wing with a high aspect ratio, and a T-tail. Like in the Dash 7 the passengers sit four-abreast (2+2). The Dash 8 offers better cruise performance than the Dash 7 and is cheaper to operate, but it needs a longer runway. Still it can take off from small airports with only 910 m (3,000 ft) long runways.
The first Dash 8 rolled out of the factory on 19 April 1983 and it first flew on 20 June 1983. Canadian certification followed on 28 September 1984 and the Canadian commuter airline NorOntair received its first aircraft in October 1984, soon followed by Piedmont Airlines, the first US customer.
The earliest version, the Dash 8-100 (DHC-8-100), seats 37-39 passengers and was originally fitted with PW120A engines. Later variants, the Dash 8-100A and -100B, have somewhat more powerful versions of the P&W-engine. The second main model, the Dash 8-200, has the same fuselage length and seating capacity as the Series 100 and is fitted more powerful PW123 engines. Deliveries began in 1995. The Dash 8-200B has PW123B engines to improve performance at hot and high airports.
The Dash 8-300 is a stretched version with 50-56 seats. It has a 3.43 m (11.3 ft) longer fuselage than the Series 100 and 200, and a bigger wingspan. It first flew on 15 May 1987 and it entered service with the Canadian airline Time Air in February 1989. The 300 is fitted with PW123, PW123B or PW123E engines. Aircraft delivered after 1997 have a cabin noise suppression system installed and have the prefix Q (Dash 8-200Q or Q200 and Dash 300Q or Q300).
- Q400 -
The only current production model is the Dash 8-400Q or Q400, which has a further stretched fuselage seating 68-78 passengers. It performed its maiden flight on 31 January 1998 and launch customer SAS Commuter introduced it on its network in January 2000. The Q400 is an almost new aircraft type. Apart from the longer fuselage it has a modified wing and new avionics and systems. It also has much more powerful PW150A engines to give it a higher cruise speed of 667 km/h (360 kts) to compete with regional jets. The Q400 NextGen is an updated variant with an improved passenger cabin including renewed lighting, bigger windows and larger overhead bins. It also has a new landing gear and requires less maintenance effort. Bombardier offers an extra capacity variant of the Q400 with up to 86 cabin seats.
The Dash 8 has become very successful. De Havilland Canada/Bombardier sold well almost 1,200 aircraft, including 299 Dash 8-100s, 105 Srs. 200s and 267 Srs. 300s. Production of the 200 and 300 ended in 2009. Until mid-2015 Bombardier has sold 546 aircraft. The 500th Q400 production aircraft was delivered on 25 June 2015 to the Canadian regional airline Westjet Encore.
Several specialised Dash 8 variants have been built for duties like maritime patrol, military transport and water bombing.
Bombardier is considering the development of an even further stretched version of the Q400 with 90 seats. This programme has not yet been given its go-ahead, however.
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