The largest twin turboprop powered western regional airliners currently in service, the ATP and Jetstream 61 trace their development history back to the British Aerospace 748.
The ATP and J61 are stretched developments of the 748, but they incorporate a great number of major and minor detail changes. The 748's fuselage cross section and basic wing structure were retained, but otherwise the ATP and J61 are all new aircraft.
British Aerospace announced it was developing an advanced derivative of the 748 in March 1984. The BAe ATP, or Advanced TurboProp, first flew on August 6 1986, while the first production aircraft flew in February 1988. Certification was granted in March 1988 and the ATP entered airline service that May.
Compared to the 748 the ATP features a stretched fuselage taking maximum seating up to 72 passengers, while Pratt & Whitney Canada PW126 turboprops drive slow turning six blade propellers. Much of the systems and equipment was new or significantly improved. The flightdeck has EFIS instrumentation, while the cabin interior was thoroughly revised and modernised. The nose was reprofiled and some sweep back was added to the tail.
The further improved Jetstream 61 was marketed and built by the newly created BAe division of Jetstream Aircraft. Apart from the name change it introduced a number of minor technical changes including an interior based on the Jetstream 41 (including the innovative arm rests incorporated into the cabin walls for window seats), more powerful PW127D engines and increased operating weights giving higher speeds and longer range. The Jetstream 61 was available for delivery from 1994, but marketing efforts ceased when the AI(R) consortium was formed because it was a direct competitor to the now disbanded consortium's far more successful ATR 72. Just four were completed.
Meanwhile the last three whitetail ATPs were not sold until late 1998 (two went to British World, one to SunAir of Scandinavia).
International Directory of Civil Aircraft Copyright Airliners.net, some information Copyright Aerospace Publications
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