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Thinking About A Forgotten Beauty: The DHC-7.  
User currently offlineLHMark From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 42
Posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3009 times:

Ever have the chance to fly on one of these? those four big props and that stalky landing gear.
I had the privilege twice- once on a Pan Am Express flight from Rochester to JFK, and once from Bader Field (Atlantic City) to Rochester.
Those things could practically take off vertically- tons of power- and they looked beautiful.
Just another example of a bird whose time has come, crushed by the ATRs and Dash-8s. Alas.

"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSamurai 777 From Canada, joined Jan 2000, 2461 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2975 times:

I remember having flown on the Dash 7 with Time Air (now part of Canadian Regional) numerous times and Air BC a few times, too. I flew on them mostly between Edmonton City Centre Airport, then called Edmonton Municipal Airport (YXD), and Grande Prairie (YQU), Alberta.

These things were designed for STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) performance, so it could operate out of airports with short runways. I do remember them being able to take off and land while using no more runway space than a Cessna 172 could!

Trouble was, the plane wasn't terribly fuel efficient compared to the twin-engined turboprops like the Fokker F27. It had four engines, that's why. Not to mention that it was loud and vibrated not much differently than a really small plane. The seats weren't very comfortable, either the last time I flew on one(YVR-SEA return, AirBC, 1989). When the Dash 8-300 came along, being a stretched version of the Series 100, it sounded the death knell for the Dash 7. The Dash 8-300 can carry up to 50 passengers - similar to a Dash 7's capacity. Two engines obviously offered better fuel economy than four and the Dash 8-300 had better range than the Dash 7, too. Both AirBC and Time Air were quick to replace their Dash 7s with Dash 8-300s along with Dash 8-100s (AirBC, however, didn't really order the Series 300 until later, and not as many as Time Air did).

This photo below shows a Dash 7 in DeHavilland Canada (its manufacturer) colors.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Pierre Langlois

User currently offlineN202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1577 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2957 times:

I, too, remember the Dash-7, because I flew it for about seven or eight years on Pan Am Express, usually from IAD or DCA to JFK. I always loved that little plane, even though it was noisy, and buffeted a lot in marginal weather. For one thing, it was the only aircraft that I had seen at the time that had rear-facing seats, and I sometimes sat in them (Southwest, with it's rear-facing seats in 737s was ten years away from the Washington/Baltimore region).

Is there any possibility that someone could pick up some of these little puddlejumpers to start up a commuter operation? Of course, CRJs or ERJs would be better because of their roughly equal capacity and jet powerplants, but would Dash-7s be available at an affordable price for a startup?

User currently offlineDC-9CAPT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2945 times:

>>>>>Is there any possibility that someone could pick up some of these little puddle jumpers to start up a commuter operation?

Already been tried. Three years ago, Cody Diekroger and some associates bought an old Continental Express (nee Rocky Mountain Airways) DHC-7 and tried to re-serve Bob Jones STOL Port in Steamboat Springs, CO (SBS) under the heading Maverick Airlines. Couldn't make it.

I think there is/was an upstart out of Flagstaff flying the Dash-7. Don't know its status.

Unfortunately the plane was short lived. At least in Colorado/Western US where it was best suited. In the late 70s to mid-80s the Rocky Mountain Dash-7 was king of the skies at Vail (RMA LITTERALLY OWNED THE AIRPORT THERE AND BUILT AN MLS FOR IT!!) and Steamboat. The Dash also got a lot of market share at ASP (with Aspen Air). When Frontier phased out its 580s Rock Springs, and Durango became lucrative for the Dash 7. However when the runways got longer and the jets came into Aspen, Hayden, and Vail, it was the end of the Dash 7.

Air Wisconsin had the Dash-7 for a few years, but the F-27 500 was a much more economical aircraft (besides, all of ZW's runways were over 4,000ft--not the Dash's domain )

The only lucrative market now would be a STOL port in a rugged, mountain community--ie Greenland.

User currently offlineBuff From Australia, joined Mar 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2944 times:

I got my first captaincy on a DH7. It is a fantastic airplane. But it is 1/ too specialized and 2/ too slow.

The STOL capabilities were only required in a relatively few locations around the world. And when I say "required", I mean no other type of transport category airplane would be able to takeoff/land in the same circumstances.

Speed? Cruise was about 220 knots and couldn't get much higher than 15,000 on an ISA day. Mostly because of the last of the generation of the PT6 engine. DHC contemplated replacing the -50 engines with a -65. But at the time, they could not guarantee sufficient orders to P&WC to justify the R&D.

There were only about 124 DH7's built. For the most part, they were all DHC-7-102's. A few had a cargo door in the forward fuselage. There was one built however designated DHC-7-150-IR. That was the first one I flew. It is still in service with First Air performing Ice Reconnaissance duties year round on Canada's east and northern coasts in partnership with the USCG.

I think there are 3 or 4 other DH7's flying in Canada today.

Best Regards,


User currently offlineAKelley728 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2198 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2935 times:

There are a small number of Dash-7s that operate with Gulfstream International Airways. I had the pleasure of flying one as a Continental Express flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL to the Bahamas and back in March 2000.

When I made arrangements for this trip, I was shocked that CoEx/Gulfstream had Dash-7s on these segments. I of course made sure that my flight would include a segment or two on one of these classics.

The funny thing about this is that on the way back, I had to suffer a three hour layover in FLL to guarantee a flight on the Dash-7, but it was worth it (my wife to this day has no idea why that layover was so long!)  

Buff is right, they are slow. We took off to FLL right before a Beech1900 and the Beech made it to Florida ahead of us. The interior was definately showing it's age, it was extremely noisy and the air conditioning wasn't working too well. But it was definately worth it! The plane took off like a rocket, I was pinned to the back of my seat!

If anybody is going to the Bahamas anytime soon, definately book a flight on the dash-7 before they're gone.

User currently offlineWoodsboy From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 1042 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2931 times:

I flew the Dash -7 several times on Rocky Mountain Airways in the late 70s/ early 80s between Denver and Aspen/ Snowmass as well as several flights on Hawaiian Airlines between Lihui (Kauai) and Honolulu. The DC-9 trip took about 19 minutes, the Dash 7, about 45 minutes!

I just saw a Dash-7 two weeks ago on approach to Fairbanks Int'l Airport. It was painted in Government of Canada livery, white with red stripe. It had some sort of pod above and just aft of the cockpit, perhaps with cameras or sensors?? Anyway, when I got to the airport it was parked to far away from the road to read the registration. It was quite a surprise to see one of these graceful birds fly overhead, I havent seen one in years!

User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 7106 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2922 times:

DC9-CAPT wrote:
"The only lucrative market now would be a STOL port in a rugged, mountain community--ie Greenland".

Yes and no. Greenlandair already have a fleet of Dash 7s.
Before the Dash 7 domestic flight in Greenland was performed by helicopters - Sikorsky S-61. But when the Dash 7 came, then many helipads were converted into runways which fit the Dash 7 exactly, and nothing else. Remember, in all Greenland there is hardly a flat piece of land, at least not near where the people live. Runways are made using dynamite.
So probably: No, there is no market in Greenland, they already have what they need. They are doing good service and there is no plan to retire them in the near future. There simply is no other plane which can replace them.
So when this topic has the headline "Forgotten Beauty", then it doesn't count for Greenland. Up there it is simply "The Airliner" and it will be so for many years to come.
Some twenty years ago Maersk Air used them briefly on a few domestic routes in Denmark. I flew on one once. Sure it is a noisy beast of a rocket. We took of on a 10,000 feet runway. We were in the clouds before we passed the middle of the runway. We gave it the nickname "Windmill Park" because practically the whole wing is covered by the four big "windmills".
Best regards, Preben Norholm

Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8343 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2916 times:

I think another plane that killed the chances of the DHC-7 was the BAe 146, now known as the Avro RJ85.

The BAe 146 could take off and land in not much more runway than a DHC-7, carried more people, and definitely flew a lot further and faster. I mean, when LCY (London City Airport) was first used, it was the domain of the DHC-7; but once they lengthened the runway enough to accommodate the BAe 146, the DHC-7 were rapidly phased out from using LCY (or many airlines switched to the Fokker 50).

I think the other airliner that killed off the chances of the DHC-7 was the SAAB 340/2000 series. They too could take off and land in not much more runway than the DHC-7, but were quite a bit faster.

In Greenland, the DHC-7 is definitely the right plane, since much of Greenland's small outposts have very short runways, and the DHC-7 is an excellent STOL performer.

User currently offlineJasewgtn From New Zealand, joined Mar 2000, 828 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2915 times:

I only have been in a DH7 once, and that was on Brymon Airways from London City (LCY) to Paris de Gaulle (CDG) in 1991.

I will never forget that flight, I was in Business Class, of which there was only one row - Row 1. However this row was backwards and we faced the whole plane.

I remember sitting there eating my lunch and drinking my red wine while all the economy class passengers who were served nothing sat and watched me.

*sigh* ..... miss them old days


User currently offlineL1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1727 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2909 times:

The Dash 7 is the only commuter plane that I really like. I couldn't believe how short the take-off roll was.
My first one was on Henson Airlines on 7/14/83. I flew on N905HA from RIC to DCA. The second one was also on Henson Airlines, on 11/23/84. I flew on N902HA from DCA-ORF-RIC. Usually I try to avoid commuter planes like the plague, but I felt very comfortable on the DHC-7 and I really loved it.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA

Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
User currently offlineDC-9CAPT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2905 times:

>>>>I will never forget that flight, I was in Business Class, of which there was only one row - Row 1. However this row was backwards and we faced the whole plane.

I remember sitting there eating my lunch and drinking my red wine while all the economy class passengers who were served nothing sat and watched me.



Why even bother to go to that extreme! That first class service almost seems mideval. Something that you'd see in third grade. "Look at Jimmy class, he is the only one out of all 39 of you who did his homework, now he gets his treat". Not sure that's what DeHavilland had in mind with the Dash-7 service.

I guess I will also mention that the US Army currently uses the Dash-7 as a reconnaissance aircraft (believe it's called the RC-7). Recently there was a crash in Colombia--making it one of THE ONLY Dash-7 crashes (there was another one in New Guinea or Africa). Very good safety record.

User currently offlineBuff From Australia, joined Mar 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2904 times:

Hey, that's my old bird! The -150IR I posted above!

The pod you saw on top of the fuselage just forward of the wingroot is for the ice observer who eyeballs the ice seen from between 4,000 and 6,000'. He (there aren't any "she's") draws on a chart using special codes. Once off the current chart, it is handed down to The Illustrator who makes a good copy for faxing to ships. Ships are able to get virtually real time ice information (about 1/2 hour old).

Additional modifications to the -150IR are the two forward side passenger windows - they have bubbles in which to stick one's head to see straight down.

These two features are not pressurized strength. So when on patrol, the aircraft is unpressurized. For pressurized flight, there are plugs for each side window and a large (3'x3') plug for the roof observers position. Additionally, the sonobuoy tube in the aft cargo position must be verified closed!

The traditional DH7 has a MGTOW of 44,000 lbs. The -150IR max's out at 47,000 lbs (unless the proposed mod has been adapted increasing it to 49,000). Normally, the loss of one engine on takeoff is not even an emergency. But loss of one engine on this -150IR at 47,000 is no fun at all. In the summer, it is operated out of YEV (Inuvik). Temperatures in July can reach 35 C. It's all the airplane can do to climb on 4!

The normal crew is 2 pilots and 7 in the back (if I remember correctly). One of the fellows in the back is an electronics technician whose job it is to fix things while airborne, if possible.

Another observational technique performed by this one-off airplane is Side Looking Airborne Radar. This particular SLAR is a Canadian R&D piece of work. To the best of my knowledge however, it has never worked very well. It was designed to be able to map a truck on a road at 50 miles lateral distance.

Woodsboy, your post brought back a lot of memories. Five very good friends crew and maintain that airplane. If you see them again in Fairbanks, give them a wave for Old Buff!

Best Regards,

Buff of the Arctic

User currently offlinePacific From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2883 times:

I remember the first post I wrote after joining A.Net was about Dash 7's flying on 2 engines.
In 1998, I flew "Asian Spirit" from the Manila Domestic Airport to Caticlan on Panay Island and back. It should still be in service. This was a flight especially for tourists because Caticlan is much closer to the tourist destination, Boracay than Kalibo. The boats to Boracay are a 5-10 minute car ride away from Caticlan. You can fly to Kalibo on PAL and take a 2 hour bus ride to the boats for the other option.
The plane unfortunately seemed to struggle climbing out of Manila in 30 degrees weather. We were flying so low with turbulence pushing the plane down that I was afraid we were going to crash. This plane is the only turboprop I've ever been in. Snack was a single Dunkin' Donut.
Caticlan must be the smallest airport in the world. It has a tiny runway (apparently it was grass a year back) and the terminal has no glass on its windows and it's made of thin bamboo-like wood.
This was also the noisiest flight I've ever been in. There was also a dead insect trapped between the perspex and the glass of the window.

User currently offlineEl Al 001 From Israel, joined Oct 1999, 1063 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 2881 times:

Well, here in Israel there are 8+- DHC-7 operated by Arkia, IZ (arkia) is replacing them now with ATR72, last time i flew the DHC-7 was on FEB 2000,
I went with some friends of mine to do some ski at mt. hermon, (the northest place of Israel)
We took off from TLV for a 40 min' flight with one stop(!) at 06:25, after 20 min' we landed at Rosh Pina (RPN), 10 min' later we took off again for a 7 min' flight, then we landed at Kiryat Shmona (KSW).
I also flew a few times to Eilat (ETH) with those DHC-7
but now days IZ operates the flights to ETH with new ATR's and with old 732.

User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1962 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (15 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2861 times:

We still get several Dash 7 flights into Hagerstown, Maryland. There is a mapping company that uses them for taking pictures of the ground. It is interesting to see them land and take off. Like Bob said, they land short and use hardly any runway when departing. I remember the days when Dick Henson's airline (now Piedmont) flew them to Hagerstown on scheduled commuter services.

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