Posts Tagged ‘Allegheny Commuter’

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THE EMBRAER EMB-110 BANDEIRANTE

By Robert G. Waldvogel

The Embraer EMB-110 is the story of a turboprop regional airliner, the aircraft manufacturer that was established to build it, and the foundation of the Brazilian aviation industry. Two people were instrumental during these developments: Ozires Silva and Max Holste. Previously, Embraer built various models of Piper aircraft under license and continued well into the 1970s.

The former, who served in the Brazilian Air Force, earned an engineering degree from the Aeronautical Institute of Technology in Brazil, and a master’s degree from the California Institute of Technology in the US. He was promoted to the CTA’s Institute of Research and Development at the Aeronautical Technical Center in 1964 and became the catalyst for the country’s first commercial aircraft.

The former, who served in the Brazilian Air Force, earned an engineering degree from the Aeronautical Institute of Technology in Brazil, and a master’s degree from the California Institute of Technology in the US. He was promoted to the CTA’s Institute of Research and Development at the Aeronautical Technical Center in 1964 and became the catalyst for the country’s first commercial aircraft.

“The CTA’s market research showed that a vacancy existed in a market segment in what would later become known as “feeder lines,” according to Jeffrey L. Rodengen in The History of Embraer (Wright Stuff Enterprises, Inc., 2009, p. 36).  “The research also revealed that airlines served just 45 Brazilian communities by the 1960s compared with 360 a decade ago.”

What was needed was a simple, rugged, reliable, low-capacity airplane that could operate from small-community, unprepared airfields that generated low-traffic demand, yet be profitable on short sectors characterized by comparatively high ratios of climb and descent to inflight cruise profiles.

The result was the IPD-6504, a low, straight-wing, twin-turboprop, conventional tail, retractable undercarriage design capable of carrying a dozen passengers.

Although its assembly began in 1966, conditions were hardly ideal: funding was rechanneled from other projects to breathe financial life into the transport, and only a single computer existed at the CTA’s campus three miles away. In order to avoid interference with student use, it was usually used throughout the night. The IPD-6504 designation also sounded too industrial.

To provide it with a better-sounding name, CTA Director Colonel Paulo Victor da Silva re-designated it “Bandeirante”—or “Pioneer”—to reflect the country’s 17th-century settlers who colonized the western portion of Brazil.  As what would later prove to be the first of Brazil’s turboprop and pure-jet airliner designs, it served in a pioneering role of its own.

Taking to the sky for the first time two years later on October 22, 1968, it rose into the air after a short acceleration run, at which time the numerous witnesses of the historic event raised their arms in unison “to commemorate a moment that was ours alone,” Ozires Silva later commented.

Two other prototypes respectively first flew on October 19, 1969, and June 26, 1970.  All three were Pratt and Whitney PT6A-20-powered and featured circular passenger windows and partially exposed main undercarriage wheels in the retracted position. They were alternatively designated  YC-95s for military use.

Integral to it was the aircraft manufacturer that was established to produce it, Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica, or Embraer, which was approved by Brazilian Congress decree 770 on August 19, 1969, creating the country’s first state-owned concern, located in São José dos Campos.

“Since the beginning, the successful Bandeirante prototype served to inspire Brazil’s aviation ambitions,” according to Rodengen (ibid, p. 39).

While Max Holste left the project two months before Embraer’s approval was granted, the aircraft’s development continued to be led by his deputy.

Aside from Brazilian Air force C-95 orders, the Chilean Navy also operated three aircraft.

Reflecting its new manufacturer, the re-designated EMB-110, in production form, introduced several improvements, including 680-shp PT6A-27 turboprops that drove constant-speed, reversible-pitch propellers, a slightly longer fuselage with square passenger windows, a more aerodynamic windscreen, redesigned wings with integral fuel tanks, fries-type ailerons, double-slotted trailing edge flaps and modified engine nacelles in which the retracted main wheels were now fully enclosed.

Its single-wheel tires were developed by Goodyear’s Brazilian division and its cockpit was equipped with a Rockwell Collins Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) and a Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range (VOR).  It first flew on August 9, 1973.

Powered by PT6A-27 turboprops, the commercial EMB-110C featured a 46-foot, 8.25-inch overall length; a 15-passenger capacity, an aft left downward-hinged air-stair, a 50.3-foot wingspan with a corresponding 312-square-foot area and a 12,345-pound gross weight. Range depended upon ratios of payload to fuel, increasing from 153 miles with the former to 1,379 miles with the latter. Speed was 262 mph at 15,000 feet.

Transbrasil, the launch customer, ordered six aircraft and VASP followed suit with an order for five in 1973.

Rio Sul, another Brazilian commuter carrier, proved instrumental in demonstrating the aircraft’s design merits to potential customers. Whenever airline representatives visited Embraer’s São José dos Campos facility, they would be flown to the airline’s headquarters so that they could observe its reliable operation firsthand.

The Uruguayan Air Force became the EMB-110C’s first export customer when it purchased five in 1975. (See illustration below).

Rectifying its principal deficiency, the EMB-110P1 introduced an 18-passenger interior, configured with six three-breast, one-two-arranged seats with an offset aisle, and 750-shp PT6A-34 engines optimizing it for commuter or third-level airline operations. Belem, Brazil-based TABA (Transportes Aereas de Bacia Amazonica) became its launch customer.

Several variants of the baseline version were produced. The EMB-110A, of which two were operated by the Brazilian Air Force, incorporated navaid calibration instrumentation. The EMB-110B was an aerial photography platform. The EMB-110E was an executive version, seating seven in a luxurious interior. The EMB-110F was a pure freighter and the EMB-110K facilitated bulky and outsize shipment loading through a large cargo door. The EMB-110S was a geophysical survey variant.

The EMB-110P2 was basically the same as the P1 with the exception that the large aft cargo door was replaced with a second airstair entrance door. Featuring the 49-foot, 6.5-inch length of the EMB-110P1, accommodation for 18-19 passengers in seven three-abreast rows, and 750-shp PT6A-34 engines, Both P1 and P2 versions were offered with a 12,500-pound gross weight or 5900KG  (13,007 pound) gross weight. and first flew on May 3, 1977.

Sales often depended upon country of operation certification.

“Many of Embraer’s foreign markets already had domestic aviation manufacturers, often established decades earlier,” according to Rodengen (ibid, p. 70). “While the Embraer brand was becoming better known throughout the world, manufacturers based in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States already dominated their individual domestic markets.”

Because the Brazilian regional type had initially been influenced by French national Max Holste, it found its way “home,” to a degree, when it was awarded the French Direction Generale de l’AviationCivile (DGAC) certification, paving the way for its first European operation when local commuter carrier Air Littoral ordered two stretched EMB-110P2s on May 5, 1977.  Air Ecosse followed suit.

Other European certifications led to orders by Air Wales, BritAir, and Kar-Air, and Air Masling operated the type down-under when the Australian Department of Transportation granted its own type approval.

Gateway to the US market and FAA certification was Robert “Bob” Terry, who founded Mountain West Airlines, ordered three EMB-110P1s, and established the type’s sales agent, Aero Industries. Wyoming Airlines also ordered the Brazilian regional aircraft.

On the east coast, Connecticut-based NewAir, which was originally known as New Haven Airways, linked the state with the major New York airports, billing itself as “Connecticut’s Airline Connection,” as well as serving Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport, Philadelphia, and Washington-National. Some 20-weekday roundtrips, requiring 30 minutes for the aerial hop over Long Island Sound with its 18-passenger EMB-110s, connected New Haven and New London/Groton with the Metropolitan New York area.

Dolphin Airways, later Dolphin Airlines, was a significant operator based in Tampa, FL. It served cities in Florida plus Savanna, GA, Charleston, SC, and New Orleans, LA from 1982-1984 as a businessman’s airline.  In addition to a fleet of new EMB-110P1s delivered from the factory, short-term leases included a P2 (N614KC) and an older P1 (N101RA). 

PBA Provincetown Boston Airlines operated EMB-110P1s throughout Florida as a direct competitor to Dolphin Airlines and absorbed much of the Dolphin fleet after the latter ceased operations in January 1984. Seasonally, PBA fed PEOPLExpress and later Continental Airlines flights at Newark International Airport with its Bandeirantes, linking Farmingdale’s Republic Airport with five daily roundtrips.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines and Aeromech were other significant east coast operators as well as American Central Airlines and Tennessee Airways covered the Midwest United States.

On the west coast, Imperial Airlines provided its own EMB-110 shuttle between Los Angeles and San Diego. United Express and Dash Air were other significant operators in the Western States.

United States airlines ultimately operated 130 Bandeirantes—or more than a quarter—of the 501 aircraft of all versions produced between 1968 and 1990.

The EMB-110 competed in the regional airliner market with the Swearingen Metroliner and Beechcraft 1900 series but, suffered from a shorter range, slower speed, lack of pressurization, and a higher fuel consumption. Its acquisition price was lower because of the lower cost of manufacturing products in Brazil. All of the competing 18-passenger commuter types could comfortably accommodate those passengers while the double seats in the Bandeirante were quite cramped for adults. Most operators later reduced the seating to a total of 15 individual seats. Its commuter versions, particularly, demonstrated low-maintenance requirements, reliable service, passenger and cargo configuration flexibility, and enabled its operators to serve low-demand routes from unprepared fields previously never having received scheduled service and it often became the first type in a fledgling carrier’s fleet, enabling it to expand.

Many EMB-110 Bandeirante operators replaced their fleets with EMB-120 Brasilias and later went on to operate EMB-135/145 regional jet airliners.

“The existence of the Bandeirante led to the creation of smaller regional air travel services in Brazil and around the world, a global market that Embraer has come to dominate, thanks in part to the specialized, flexible, resilient Bandeirante,” Rodengen concludes (ibid, p. 43).

Brazilian Air Force Embraer YC-95 Bandeirante, FAB2131
Preserved in São José dos Campos, Brazil
Photo Courtesy: Raphael Albrecht
Uruguayan Air Force Embraer C-95 (110C)
Florianópolis Hercílio Luz International Airport (FLN) on July 7, 2016
Photo courtesy of Bruno Orifino
Note: the short fuselage and rear passenger entry door on this early Bandeirante model.
Allegheny Commuter, operated by Aeromech Commuter Airlines
Embraer EMB-110 P2, N614KC
Washington National Airport (DCA)
The P2 version had dual airstair doors instead of the large rear cargo door.
Photo Courtesy of Jay Selman via Airliners.net
Aeromech Commuter Airlines EMB-110 P2, N614KC
Pictured at Cincinnati (CVG) in May 1982
Photo Courtesy: Charlie Pyles/Air Pix
Note: The rear airstair is lowered.
Tennessee Airways EMB-110 P1, N103TN
Pictured at Cincinnati (CVG) May 1983
Photo Courtesy: Charlie Pyles/Air Pix
Provincetown Boston Airlines PBA
Embraer EMB-110 P1, N199PB seen at rest between flights
Photo Courtesy of Ellis Chernoff
Note: the modified horizontal stabilizer came about as a result of a mysterious in-flight loss of a PBA Bandeirante with the standard tail plane becoming detached from the aircraft in flight.
Atlantic Southeast EMB-110 P1s, N220EB and N404AS
As seen at Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) in 1987.
Photographer Unknown
Gary C. Orlando Slide Collection
Note: the standard Large Cargo Door found on the more widely produced P1 model.
Air LA Embraer EMB-110 P1, N101TN
Seen taxiing out from the Imperial Terminal at Los Angeles (LAX) in February 1993
Gary C. Orlando Photo.
Originally delivered to Tennessee Airways, it passed to Iowa Airways where it flew as a Midway Connection carrier as evidenced by the livery.

EMB-110 Article Sources

Green, William, and Swanborough, Gordon. An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Airliners. New York: Arco Publishing, Inc., 1982.

Hardy, Michael. World Civil Aircraft Since 1945. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1979.

Rodengen, Jeffrey L. The History of Embraer. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: Write Stuff Enterprises, Inc., 2009.

Waldvogel, Robert G. “The Airline History of Long Island’s Republic Airport.” Metropolitan Airport News. October 2021.

Waldvogel, Robert G. “The Commuter Airlines of Long Island MacArthur Airport.” EzineArticles. August 5, 2019.

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Allegheny Commuter,MH-250 Super Broussard,Mohawk M-298,Nord 262,Ransome Airlines,Turbomeca Ste. Nord 260,USAir

The Nord 262

By Robert G. Waldvogel

The Nord 262 was an early turboprop regional airliner built in France.

It traces its origins to the single-engine, eight-passenger Max Holste MH-1521M Broussard light utility transport flown by a handful of civil operators and the French Army and Air Force that was subsequently developed into the larger M-250 Super Broussard. Powered by two 600-hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340 piston Wasp engines, it accommodated between 17 and 23 passengers.

Although it proceeded no further, it served as the prototype for the even more ambitious MH-260, which introduced a 4.7-foot fuselage stretch and turbine powerplants—in this case, two 986-hp Turbomeca Bastan IV turboprops. First taking to the air on January 29, 1960, it seated up to 30 passengers. While it was the most capable of all the previous variants, it lacked pressurization—a deficiency remedied with the MH-262.

Because of the November 23 agreement for state-owned Nord Aviation to assume responsibility for the program, the aircraft was re-designated Nord 262, although 10 original MH-260s (Nord 260s) were produced, the first of which first flew on January 29, 1962. Two European commuter carriers—France’s Air Inter and Norway’s Wideroe Flyveselskap—operated them on a provisional basis, but they were replaced by the definitive Nord 262 production variant, whose most notable variation was the replacement of its original, square-section fuselage with a circular one that facilitated a 26-passenger, three-abreast capacity with an offset aisle.

Powered by two 1,080-hp Bastan VIB2 turboprops, it first flew in prototype form on December 24, 1962. The first production example, featuring a dorsal fin for increased vertical axis stability, took to the sky two years later, on July 8, 1964, and was awarded its French type certification eight days later.

The first four aircraft, perhaps confusingly, were designated Nord 262Bs, while all others, which incorporated minor improvements, were known as Nord 262As.

With a 63.3-foot overall length and elliptical passenger windows, they featured a high-mounted, straight wing with a 71.10-foot span and 592-square-foot area, and a conventional tail. The single-wheel main undercarriage units retracted upward into lower fuselage side fairings. The maximum takeoff weight was 23,370 pounds and cruise speed was 235 mph.  Payload-to-fuel ratios took its range from 605 miles with the former to 1,095 miles with the latter.

Air Inter, which ultimately operated six, inaugurated the type into service on the Paris-Quimper route on July 24, 1964.

The coveted goal of any foreign aircraft manufacturer was penetrating the US market and Nord Aviation succeeded in doing so when Lake Central Airlines ordered a dozen 262s and inaugurated the first into service in May of 1965.

After Lake Central’s takeover by Allegheny Airlines three years later, it wore its colors and, still later, those of Allegheny Commuter. The milestone indicated two important factors—namely, that the US lacked its own commuter aircraft counterpart and that its reliable service saw its operation for a considerable interval.

According to USAir’s (which Allegheny became) March 2, 1982 system timetable, “USAir and Allegheny Commuter—a great team to go with. Service to over 120 cities in the US and Canada.

“All flights C500 through C1999 are operated by independent contractors under an agreement with USAir approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board,” it continued. “These flights are operated by Beech 99, de Havilland Twin Otter, de Havilland Dash-7, Nord 262, M-298, Shorts 330, CASA-212, and Swearingen Metro equipment.

“USAir’s big jet fleet serves over 70 cities throughout its expanding network.  Allegheny Commuter’s modern jet-props serve over 50 mid-size cities quickly and economically. From Allegheny Commuter’s mid-size cities, you get convenient schedules to and from USAir’s major cities.”

Although its Nord 262s were in a three-abreast configuration, the right-side seat pairs consisted of a single unit with two seatbelts and pitch was minimal, leaving one passenger to exclaim, as she impressed her knees into the unit in front of her, “This is called ‘wear a plane!”

One flight attendant served the then-standard beverages and peanut packets from a tiny galley and there were copies of USAir’s in-flight magazine in all seat pockets.

The type was instrumental in providing feed to USAir’s Pittsburgh and Philadelphia hubs from small, ill-equipped airports with low demand, but nevertheless provided connections to the carrier’s jet route system with a single ticket and through-checked baggage.

Although 67 Nord 262As were ultimately produced, their lack of Pratt and Whitney PT6 turboprop engines inhibited further sales. This was remedied when Frakes Aviation converted nine of Allegheny’s aircraft with 1,180-hp, five-bladed propeller PT6A-45s and introduced improved systems, resulting in the Mohawk 298. The Mohawk name was to reflect the remembrance of Allegheny’s merger with Mohawk Airlines. The 298 designation was in deference to the Federal Air Regulation (CAB Part 298) under which they operated. The new M-298 also included the installation of a Solar APU installed in the starboard main landing gear sponson. First flying on January 7, 1975, the upgraded version was certified on October 19, 1976, and entered Allegheny Service the following April. Nine of these Nord 262s converted to the Mohawk 298 standard were operated by Allegheny Airlines on routes too small for their shrinking fleet of Convair 580s but requiring something larger than Beech 99 or Twin Otter equipment. So a new Allegheny “Metro Express” operation was placed in service in certain selected cities. The M-298s continued in operation until one of the nine aircraft was involved in an accident. Subsequently, the remaining eight aircraft were sold to two of the Allegheny Commuter carriers, Middletown, Pa. based Pennsylvania Commuter Airlines and North Philadelphia, Pa. based Ransome Airlines.

Two other variants were built—the 262C or Fregate, with four-bladed, 1,145-hp Bastan VII turboprops and a two-foot, 3.75-inch fuselage stretch that first flew in July of 1968; and its military 262D counterpart, 18 of which were operated by the French Armee de l’Air.

Aside from Allegheny, Allegheny Commuter, and Lake Central, the type was operated by Altair, Swift Aire, Golden Gate, Pompano Airways to name a few as well as Pocono and Ransome Airlines  (the latter two comprising part of the Allegheny Commuter Consortium) in the US; and Alisarda, Cimber Air, Dan-Air, Delta Air Transport, Linjeflyg, Rhein Air, and Tempelhof Airways in Europe.

A total of 110 Nord 262s of all versions were produced.

MH-250 Super Broussard
MH-250 Super Broussard
Photo from Wiki-Commons
Turbomeca Ste., Nord 260, F-BKRH
ROUSSEAU AVIATION NORD 262, F-BTDQ
Seen at Jersey, Channel Islands, UK, Sept. 24, 1974.
Photo Courtesy: Dan Grew
Turbomeca Ste., Nord 260, F-BKRH
Powered by the original Turbomeca Astazou engines.
Seen at London, Gatwick Airport (LGW) in May 1987.
Photo Courtesy: Doug Green
RANSOME AIRLINES – ALLEGHENY COMMUTER NORD 262, N26225
Seen at Washington National Airport
RANSOME AIRLINES–ALLEGHENY COMMUTER NORD 262, N26225
Seen at Washington National Airport (DCA)
Photo Courtesy: Jay Selman
RANSOME AIRLINES – ALLEGHENY COMMUTER
MOHAWK M-298, N29817
RANSOME AIRLINES–ALLEGHENY COMMUTER
MOHAWK M-298, N29817
Seen at Washington National Airport (DCA), February 1983
Photo Courtesy: Jay Selman

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Air Cargo Carriers,Allegheny Commuter,Command Airways,McNeely Charter Services,Mississippi Valley Airlines,Shorts 330,Shorts 360,Simmons Airlines,Suburban Airlines

The Shorts Skyvan and 330/360 Commuter Airliners

By Robert G. Waldvogel

The Shorts Skyvan, a light freight transport, and the 330 and 360 commuter airliners that were based upon it, were rugged and reliable aircraft, the latter facilitating the growth of then-developing regional carrier route structures.

Shorts Skyvan

Based upon an amalgamation of two conceptually similar designs, the HDM.106 and the HDM.107 that Short Brothers of Belfast, Northern Ireland, purchased from F. G. Miles in 1958, the eventual Skyvan used the foundation laid by both for a utility and small cargo aircraft, whose development commenced the following year.  It was initially designated the PD.36.

Stubby and short, it was hardly the sleekest airframe in the sky, but its features were necessary for its intended missions, including twin engines; a high-mounted, straight wing with an aspect ratio of 11; a box-resembling fuselage with slab sides and an internal, 6.6-square-foot cross-section; an aft loading ramp operable in flight; dual vertical tails; and a fixed tricycle undercarriage.

Powered by two 390-bhp Continental GTSIO-520 piston engines, the Skyvan 1 first flew in prototype form on January 17, 1963.  Underpowered, it was retrofitted with 520-shp Turbomeca Astazou II turboprops, once again taking to the skies ten months later, on October 2, in whose guise it was provisionally known as the SC7/10 Skyvan 1A.

Yet a second powerplant change, this time to the even more capable 637-shp Astazou X, coupled with minor wing modifications and a lowered tailplane, resulted in the March 1965 variant, the Skyvan 1A series 2, for which Aer Alpi of Italy became the launch customer, placing an order for two aircraft.

The definitive production version, fitted with 730-shp Astazou XIH-1 engines, introduced several modifications, among them a more streamlined nose, larger, rectangular passenger windows to replace the original round ones, a single nose wheel, and with the ninth production airframe, a 31-inch cabin length increase, for a new, 18.7-foot total. Finally, a fuel capacity increase, from 175 to 225 Imperial gallons carried in four wing tanks.

High-elevation and –temperature airfield operations necessitated an even more capable version.  Introducing 755-shp Garrett AiResearch TPE-331-201A turboprops, which drove three-bladed Hartzell propellers, and an increased 300-Imperial gallon fuel capacity, the resultant SC7 Skyvan 3, employing the now modified Mk 2 prototype, first flew on December 15, 1967.

With a 40.1-foot overall length and a 64.1-foot wingspan, it offered a 4,600pound payload, 12,500-pound gross weight, and 654-mile range with its maximum fuel and a 3,000-pound payload.

Because the flat ceiling and vertical walls of its boxy cabin provided considerable volume within a relatively small area, it offered flexible accommodation, from the previously quoted 4,600 pounds of cargo–comprised, if necessary, of small vehicles–to 12 stretchers and up to 22 single-class passengers.  A convertible variant accepted palletized freight, with provision for its lightweight, slimline seats to be folded against the sidewalls.

Incorporating these features was the succeeding Skyvan 3M military version, which also introduced nose-installed weather radar, a roller-equipped loading system, and accommodation for 12 stretchers, 19 paratroopers, or up to 22 standard troops.  More importantly, it offered increased maximum payload and takeoff weights of 5,000 and 13,500 pounds respectively.

The Austrian Air Force, the first to order the type, took delivery of its two examples on September 12, 1969.

A third-level or commuter airline variant, the Skyliner, incorporated passenger features, including a low-entry door on the aft, port side and a modernized cabin with individual air vent and reading light units, a small galley, and a lavatory.

AIR CARGO CARRIERS SHORTS SC-7 SKYVAN, N731E
Air Cargo Carriers Shorts SC-7 Skyvan, N731E
Seen at Sterling/Rock Falls, IL, Summer 1989
Chartered by the Rock River Valley Skydivers.
Gary C. Orlando Photo

Shorts 330

Development of the passenger-configured Skyvan and Skyliner, undertaken to produce an inexpensive, unpressurized commuter airliner, resulted in several fundamental modifications that introduced higher capacities and sleeker lines.

A 12.5-foot forward fuselage stretch, for instance, coupled with a more pointed nose, afforded a 30-passenger capacity in a three-abreast, one-two, arrangement at a 30-inch seat pitch, complete with molded sidewalls and enclosed overhead storage compartments. A 9.9-foot insertion in the braced, high-mounted, supercritical wing took the span to 74.8 feet and its area to 453 square feet.

Power was provided by two Pratt and Whitney PT6A-45 turboprops, turning five-bladed propellers, while the tricycle undercarriage was retractable for the first time.

Launched after receipt of UK government financial aid on May 23, 1973, the aircraft, initially designated the SD3-30, first flew in prototype form on August 22 of the following year.  A second one first flew on July 8, 1975 and the first production example took to the skies five months later, on December 15.

Although launch orders were placed by US-based Command Airways and Canada-based Time Air, the latter, in fact, was the first to inaugurate the type into service on August 24, 1976.

Succeeding the baseline Shorts 330-100, the 330-200, announced in 1981, offered 1,020-shp PT6A-45R engines, whose power increased to 1,198-shp when the “r”—for “reserve”—was used.  With a 7,500-pound payload and a 22,900-pound gross weight, this variant carried 3,840 pounds of fuel, but, like all others in the Skyvan/Skyliner/330 series, it suffered from speed deficiencies, only cruising at between 180 and 200 mph.

Aside from US launch customer, Command Airways, other US regional operators included Golden West Airlines, Mississippi Valley Airlines and Metro Airlines. These three carriers, Henson Aviation, Suburban and Chautauqua Airlines all operated under the Allegheny Commuter banner. Lastly, not to be left out was Burlington, Vermont based Air North.

Aer Lingus and Olympic were major European operators of the type.

A military version, the C-23A Sherpa, featured an aft loading ramp. Some Shorts 360 aircraft were converted to become C-23A Sherpas.

Production, which ceased in 1992, totaled 136 examples of all variants.

COMMAND AIRWAYS SHORTS SD3-30, N52DD
Command Airways Shorts SD3-30, N52DD
Command Airways was the launch customer for the SD3-30 in the United States.
White Plains, NY, January 1979.
Photo Courtesy of Howard Chaloner
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY AIRLINES SHORTS SD3-30, N333MV
Mississippi Valley Airlines Shorts SD3-30, N333MV
Clinton Municipal Airport, Clinton, IA, August 18, 1981
Gary C. Orlando Photo
AIR CARGO CARRIERS SHORTS SD3-30, N334AC
Air Cargo Carriers Shorts SD3-30, N334AC
Moline/Quad City Airport, September 1999.
Such an odd colour scheme!!
Gary C. Orlando Photo
MCNEELY CHARTER SERVICES SHORTS C-23A SHERPA, N262AG
McNeely Charter Services Shorts C-23B Sherpa, N262AG
Moline/Quad City International Airport, February 5, 2003
Gary C. Orlando Photo

Shorts 360

The Shorts 360, the definitive development of the Skyvan and the 3-30, introduced a three-foot forward fuselage plug for a new 70.6-foot length, a redesigned aft portion with a tapered profile, a swept, single vertical tail, two additional seat rows for a 36-passenger total, uprated, 1,194-shp PT6A-65R engines, a 25,700-pound maximum takeoff weight and higher cruise speeds, of up to 243 mph.

Suburban Airlines, operating under the Allegheny Commuter consortium, placed the launch order with aircraft N360SA, seen in the photo below.

First flying in prototype form on June 1, 1981 and certified on September 3 of the following year, it entered service two months later.

Advanced versions, introduced in 1985 and 1987, featured higher rated engines and six-bladed propellers before production, totaling 165 aircraft, ended in 1991.

SUBURBAN AIRLINES – ALLEGHENY COMMUTER
SHORTS 360, N360SA
Suburban Airlines – Allegheny Commuter Shorts 360, N360SA
Washington National Airport (DCA), September 1986
Photo Courtesy of Guillaume de Syon
SIMMONS AIRLINES - AMERICAN EAGLE
SHORTS 360, N362MQ
Simmons Airlines- American Eagle Shorts 360, N362MQ
Greater Rockford Airport, Rockford, IL, March 1990
Gary C. Orlando Photo

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