AerospaceFan
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Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:24 pm

A number of years ago, I flew United Express (or similar) from a local airport to Fresno, and the aircraft they used was a very loud, somewhat uncomfortable turboprop seating, oh, maybe 20 passengers. It was the smallest aircraft I'd ever been on, but I can't remember what it was. It could have been a Fokker or a Dornier, although I sort of doubt it.

Does anyone know if some of these ancillary airlines are updating these "puddle jumper" (i.e., around 20 to 30 passenger, turboprop) aircraft, and if so, what the latest models are? I hope that they've improved in terms of passenger comfort.

I obviously don't mean single-engines like Cessnas or Pipers, or corporate aircraft like LearJets or Falcons.

Any comments would be appreciated.

[Edited 2005-12-22 05:25:31]
What's fair is fair.
 
Ralgha
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:30 pm

If it was long enough ago it was a Metroliner seating 19 passengers with no flight attendent. More likely it was a more recent Brasilia seating 30 passengers with 1 flight attendent.

"Very loud" is relative, obviously you've never been in a single engine Cessna. The Brasilia is church quiet in comparison.

Updating options are limited. The only turboprop in production is the Dash 8, the smaller models being known as "Sky Plows" for their slow speed, and as far as I know are not even being considered. The 400, while being very fast, has many maintenence issues (teething problems), though there are rumours that it is being considered as a replacement for the Brasilias. Don't believe it until (if) it happens. Jets are not economical for the routes these turboprops are operated on.
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markabcan
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:32 pm

Was probably an Embraer 120, and yes they are not the most comfortable aircraft in the world. I know at least in southern California the Embraers are still going strong with United Express (Skywest). I'm not aware of any replacement plans but they will be required eventually. Eventually those route will probably be replaced by smaller regional jets like the Embraer 135.
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:39 pm

^^Great answers, everyone.  Smile

Years before the United Express (or similar) experience, I remember thinking how nice it would be to be a passenger in a smaller aircraft, just for the tactile thrill of it. But I guess I never counted on the effects of the decibel level, and when the time actually came to take a trip aboard a turboprop, I found that the sound level was just way too uncomfortable. Didn't anyone think to make earplugs available?

And yes, it's true -- I've never been in a single-engine Piper or Cessna. Not that I would resist the experience, though -- as a pilot.  Smile
What's fair is fair.
 
hz747300
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:42 pm

Beech 1900D is another no f/a aircraft. Also, the Saab 340 is a thirty seater in use, mostly on the east coast. Most likely it was a Embraer 120 as already mentioned.
Keep on truckin'...
 
DLKAPA
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:49 pm

Speaking from my experience the Embraer 120 isn't bad, just very, very loud. The Dash-8-200 that Mesa flies is actually quite nice.
And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
 
2H4
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:57 pm




Quoting Ralgha (Reply 1):
The only turboprop in production is the Dash 8



Aren't the ATRs still in production? And maybe the CN-235?




2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:58 pm

Earplugs would go a long way to helping with passenger comfort. They sell them at drugstores to help equalize pressure in the ears; it would be nice if airlines would offer them to help preserve the eardrums themselves.

That, or Bose noise-canceling headphones.  

[Edited 2005-12-22 05:58:56]
What's fair is fair.
 
markabcan
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:03 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 6):
Aren't the ATRs still in production? And maybe the CN-235?

Yes the ATR series is still in production and actually doing pretty well!
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:21 pm

Quoting Ralgha (Reply 1):
If it was long enough ago it was a Metroliner seating 19 passengers with no flight attendent.

UAX into Fresno? No UAX/WestAir operated the EMB-110 Bandit as a 19 seater. Interesting aircraft with bench seats.

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They were all replaced with 30 seat Brasilias.

[Edited 2005-12-22 06:24:18]
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
AJRfromSYR
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:39 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 6):
Aren't the ATRs still in production? And maybe the CN-235?

Saab 2000's still going?
-AJR-
 
lincoln
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:39 pm

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 9):
UAX into Fresno? No UAX/WestAir operated the EMB-110 Bandit as a 19 seater. Interesting aircraft with bench seats.

Depends on time period... Before Skywest introduced the EMB-120s, my first FAT-SAN flight (actually, first flight...ever...) was a WestAir Shorts 330, which I'm told had a flight attendent.

After that flight and before the EMB-120s (through the mid 90's?) Skywest (operating alternatively as Delta Connection or United Express) flew the Fairchild Metroliner III (19 seats, no FA...looked like a flying pencil), at least between ONT and FAT and SAN and FAT... I spent many a flight between those two city pairs in my youth, and looking at pictures of a Metro III's interior now I feel claustrophobic (I'm now about 6'2").

Thank goodness Skywest retired those in favor of the wonderfully spacious (by comparison) 120s...

Lincoln
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FATFlyer
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:50 pm

One key then is the year. Skywest took over UAX service in 1997.

Prior to Skywest taking over UAX at Fresno and the rest of California it would be WestAir flying Bandits, Brasilias or the 330 you remember.

If there was no flight attendant it was probably a Bandit because that was the dominant aircraft in the fleet for a number of years.

I believe WestAir only operated 1 or 2 of the Shorts, they experimented with several types. They also operated several -146s for a while.

[Edited 2005-12-22 06:52:38]
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
markabcan
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:51 pm

Quoting AJRfromSYR (Reply 10):
Saab 2000's still going?

I don't think so. That program never really gained any momentum back when it was introduced. They are certainly still in operation though throughout the world!
 
AJRfromSYR
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:53 pm

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 13):
I don't think so. That program never really gained any momentum back when it was introduced. They are certainly still in operation though throughout the world!

Too bad, always thought it was a beautiful bird
-AJR-
 
lincoln
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:00 pm

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 12):
One key then is the year. Skywest took over in 1997.

Was it really that late? I could have sworn that it was well before that...It seems to me (and please let me know that I'm wrong-- I was young and not paying much attention at the time), at least as far as FAT-ONT and FAT-SAN were concerned, I'm pretty sure it was Skywest as UAX for a while (operated out of Ontario's /old/ Terminal 1), then Skywest as Delta Express/Connection/whatever for a while (operated out of Ontario's /old/ Terminal 2 (Delta was the only airline down there, basically a huge room with two gates and a very interesting configuration), then finally Skywest as UAX again (operated out of a waiting room that was kind of duct taped on to Ontario's old terminal 1)...

Unfourtinately, that's about as clear as my memory from the period gets on the subject... I started flying these routes semi-regularly about 1990 and stopped about 1998-1999
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:11 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 15):
Was it really that late?

Yep, you can read the Skywest history here.
http://www.skywest.com/about/history.php

Skywest was not with UAX in California until 1997, so anything UAX before that was on WestAir.

I'd have to check some old info but UAX/WestAir operated a lot of secondary markets, I believe FAT-ONT was one.

Personally I remember the DLConn flights. Sat on the ground a few times in the Metros when I was rerouted. Instead of FAT-LAX, a couple of times I ended up FAT-ONT-LAX.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
thegreatchecko
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:20 pm

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 13):
are certainly still in operation though throughout the world!

I think there are only two in the US. Both in corporate work.

GreatChecko
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AJRfromSYR
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:23 pm

Just checked the Saab website, looks like its still in production.
-AJR-
 
markabcan
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:32 pm

Quoting AJRfromSYR (Reply 18):
Just checked the Saab website, looks like its still in production.

Production actually ended in 1999 with the last delivery to Crossair in April 1999. See bottom of history blog.

http://www.airliners.net/info/stats.main?id=348

Saab still supports and actively leases some of their aircraft including the 2000. That is most likely what the website is geared towards
 
AJRfromSYR
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:40 pm

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 19):
Saab still supports and actively leases some of their aircraft including the 2000. That is most likely what the website is geared towards

Thanks
-AJR-
 
saab2000
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 5:27 pm

The Saab 2000 is out of production. There were only about 60 airframes produced. I flew them at Crossair and it was a terrific airplane, superior to the CRJ-200 I now fly in every respect except speed and vibration level and even there it was not far behind. For most of the shorter routes we fly a turboprop would almost certainly be more economical to fly.

Three things conspired to kill the Saab 2000.

1. It was expensive to purchase.
2. There was a delay into service to deal with the fly-by-wire system.
3. There is a big marketing advantage in advertising that a flight is "jet service". Most passengers think anything with propellors is old. The recent accident in Florida does nothing to help that image unfortunately.
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irelayer
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 5:33 pm

Only turboprops in production right now (excluding Russian models) are the Dash-8 series and the ATR series. That's it. I wonder when and if Embraer will build a newer/faster version of the 120? Anyone have any info on this? It seems to be a segment of the market which has little compeitition and it can't be that capital intensive to develop a new 30-40 seat turboprop.

-IR
 
acidradio
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:47 pm

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 3):
But I guess I never counted on the effects of the decibel level, and when the time actually came to take a trip aboard a turboprop, I found that the sound level was just way too uncomfortable. Didn't anyone think to make earplugs available?

Ironic story: While I was flying on a SkyWest EMB120 ACV-SFO, a small child would not stop crying and screaming, before we even finished boarding! "I don't wanna fly on this little plane!" was the battle cry. It's amazing - children must be born now already fearful of flying props, as some kind of natural instinct. The F/A went down the aisle offering earplugs to passengers, not necessarily to shield from the prop noise but to shield from the screaming child.

The child screamed and screamed all through taxi, takeoff and up to about 4000'. Suddenly the child stopped screaming and crying, after realizing how cool it was to ride on this plane, with such a neat view of the Northern California coast and how fun it actually was.
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vfw614
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 8:03 pm

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 8):
Yes the ATR series is still in production and actually doing pretty well!

Indeed, 90 or so orders in 2005 which makes it easily the best year for ATR in more than a decade.

There is talk about a renaissance of the turboprop as more and more airlines seem to realize that there is no point in operating CRJs or ERJs on short hops.
 
EMBQA
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 8:12 pm

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 21):
Three things conspired to kill the Saab 2000.

I had my chance to see my first Saab 2000 up close here in the US this past week and all I can say is WoW...!! It's a real shame the RJ market explosion in the mid '90's killed that plane as in today market it would be a seller. Near RJ cruise speeds, and truboprop fuel economy.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
 
oznznut
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:06 pm

Back in July 0f 1997 I flew a Saab of Business Air from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. sweet aircraft. This flight even carried a LH flight number. Wierd. This was during a 3 day BA "work action". The BA flights from LHR to Aberdeen were all cancelled. Try as I might, I cant recall how I got from LHR to Edinburgh! Anywhay, the Saab was great. A bit stiff legged on landing, but the winds were howling, so they probably wanted to plant the plane on the runway. PS. Anybody know what happened to Business Air. Cant find any listing of them.
Thanks


Dave
 
saab2000
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:27 pm

Yes, it was difficult to make a smooth landing on the Saab 2000. There is not much gear travel. The best landings occur with a crosswind and the really best ones happen with a crosswind and a wet runway. The Saab 2000 is terrific in gusty crosswinds. Very positive control and a powerful rudder.

I would not be surprised at all but if Saab were to introduce a modern version (even more modern, as it is already more high-tech than the CRJ) that some airlines would seriously consider it when the time came to get rid of CRJs or to replace some Dash 8s. The Dash-8Q400 is a terrific airplane too, and I hope some airlines order it before Bombardier decides it is a pig. I have seen them up close and they are nice.
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IFly4UAL
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:54 pm

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
Does anyone know if some of these ancillary airlines are updating these "puddle jumper" (i.e., around 20 to 30 passenger, turboprop) aircraft, and if so, what the latest models are?

God I hate that term "puddle jumpers." Why do people find it necessary to call planes that are powered by turboprop engines "puddle jumpers?" Why can't they be called what they are: regional aircraft?
Sorry for the rant, it's just something that has always annoyed me.
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Tornado82
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:00 pm

Quoting Markabcan (Reply 2):
Eventually those route will probably be replaced by smaller regional jets like the Embraer 135.

Very doubtful... unless they want to lose a whole bunch of money running a plane not built for the route.

Quoting IRelayer (Reply 22):
Only turboprops in production right now (excluding Russian models) are the Dash-8 series and the ATR series

I thought the EMB-120 was still in production too?
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:01 pm

Eek! Sorry about calling them "puddle jumpers". No offense is meant.

I have a fondness for all kinds of aircraft, so the term is meant in a good-natured spirit.

[Edited 2005-12-22 15:01:40]
What's fair is fair.
 
IFly4UAL
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:03 pm

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 30):
Eek! Sorry about calling them "puddle jumpers". No offense is meant.

I have a fondness for all kinds of aircraft, so the term is meant in the same good-natured spirit.

Oh no offense taken whatsoever...just a personal opinion. And obviously you have a fondness for aircraft since you're a member of the site (and a new member at that!) Welcome aboard!  Smile
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saab2000
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:06 pm

Even the word "Regional" has negative connotations. I recently heard a woman get on our CRJ and she kept shouting gleefully, "this is my first trip on a puddlejumper!" I wanted to say something, but held my tongue.

The flying public is incredibly ignorant of the machinery they fly on. Very few of them have any idea at all.

I do know that when I used to fly on American Eagle on the ATR-42 (as a passenger) there was a page either in the magazine or on the safety card about the ATR and that it was a modern airliner with some high-tech features just like a jet. While it was not a great airplane in all respects, at least American and American Eagle attempted to educate the passengers about the airplane. I never had a bad experience on the ATR, but it sure was noisy with that 4-bladed prop!!
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A319XFW
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:16 pm

This week I flew on a SAAB 2000 and last week on the same route (and airline), I flew a SAAB 340.
To me it was almost like a difference between night and day comfort-wise.
As the 2000 has got a 6-blade prop and the 340 only a 4-blade prop, the noise difference was enormous. And also the SAAB 2000 has got active noise cancellation technology on it, which makes things even quieter. The air noise from the vent of the passenger in front of me was almost louder than the props!

But I agree, the landings in both the 2000 and 340 are a bit bumpy/heavy... But it is great to be able to see the gear on landing when you are sat near the rear!
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:23 pm

Quoting IFly4UAL (Reply 31):
Oh no offense taken whatsoever...just a personal opinion. And obviously you have a fondness for aircraft since you're a member of the site (and a new member at that!) Welcome aboard!

Thanks!  Smile This is a cool site and I really enjoy posting here.

I've learned more about regional aircraft just in this thread than I'd ever believed possible. Most excellent! Bravo to everyone for their great contributions.
What's fair is fair.
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:36 pm

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 29):
I thought the EMB-120 was still in production too?

As far as I know, SkyWest still has options with Embraer to order a few of them and restart the line, with options to convert those to EMB jets.
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ManuCH
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:24 am

The Saab 2000 is actually my favorite airplane still... too bad they're not producing it anymore.

The fun part was getting a friend of mine on a Saab 2000 after his only flight so far being on a B747 ... we almost had to push him on board  Smile
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ca2ohHP
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 7:08 am

I would rather fly a Beech 1900 then A Bae-ATP any day. Even though a 1900 is a "puddle jumper," it's a very reliable aircraft unlike the ATP's I've worked. Don't say it was the operatior either, the only difference between ZK and U2 is U2 is technically gone.
 
Tornado82
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RE: Any News About "Puddle Jumpers"?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 7:49 am

Quoting Ca2ohHP (Reply 37):
I would rather fly a Beech 1900 then A Bae-ATP any day

I'd rather fly the B1900 than the Saab 340 as well.