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TurboProps Are Making a Come Back Amid High Fuel Prices

Record-high fuel prices have hammered airlines, forcing executives to eliminate flights, cut back on unprofitable routes and make passengers pay for many perks that used to be free. Now the airlines are looking at other ways to save money. That means a new opportunity for a plane from the past. ( 기타...

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Klemons 5
EMB-120 V2.0!
Haha! Brasilia 2.0!
mboette 7
They need to put the Saab 2000 back into production!
We've been wondering what ever happened to Mesaba's Saab 340s, well there is one of them right in the picture. They even kept the old XJ tail number. They were still good birds, it was sad to see them go.
Flew on them as a pax between KFSM and KMEM when Mesaba had them as NWA. Definitely not my favorite over a CRJ. It will be interesting to see what new technolgy does for noise and vibration. AA for awhile was running an ATR of some type on one of their daily flights between KDFW and KFSM. Flight time was about 1/2 hr longer each way than an RJ. Don't know if the trade off in flying time compensated for less fuel or not, but me, like a lot of other folks just got accustomed to the RJ's. Again, no doubt they are cheaper by the hour to operate and they may mean the difference in a city having service or not but the extra time has to be looked at rather than just straight fuel saving.
Preacher, those AA ATRs you used to fly are now being flown by my company for Fedex as "feeder" aircraft on the shorter runs. After a few teething problems, mostly having to do with the conversion to cargo, and issues with being parked for a long time, they've done well. They're reliable and relatively economical to operate, and, considering they are, for the most part, about 25 years old, they are surprisingly modern. The new ATRs use the latest in technology to make them even more so, and the Q400s have already developed and enviable reputation for their performance. I think we'll be seeing a lot more props in the future, and fewer and fewr RJs.
10-4, yeah I am tpyed in them as well but there is a lot of room for improvment, particularly for the pax. As I said earlier, the business end of anything don't make much difference as you are occupied but the back end leaves a lot to be desired
nice to see the return of the props
Im with you, Love the sound of Turboprops.
seawest 2
Q400, fast, powerful, and there's just something cool about the look and sound of those big 13ft props.
I heard a q400 pilot say they have to derate the engines for take off. Wow.
The future is in turbo-prop aircraft like the Dash 8-400. With seating for 70+ passengers and jet like speeds,this turbo-prop is both fuel efficient and comfortable for both short and medium stage length flights. The aircraft also has the ability to get into and out of runways less thasn 5000 feet long, making a win for many small communities.
I miss seeing the b-1900s
Do these amazingly high fuel prices effect the amount of money the CEO makes each year?
All T-P's I have flown have been older DH-8's..
I hate them. The interior of the cabin stinks from fumes, the climate control is inadequate and the cabin noise is unbearable.
Other than that, they're great!
I would have no issue flying in a T-P absent of the above attributes.
While in the USAF in the sixties, I flew (read: Rode) in many C130s. In and out of small airports was a breeze and the ride was smooth at most altitudes. The noise wasn't dampened at all in military cargo aircraft, but I have no doubt it could be insulated adequately. Is the C17 more fuel/load efficient?
Yeah, you knew you were in for something when the loadie met you at the door with a set of ear plugs. Even the new models, as they fly low altitude over the house daily out of LRAFB on training, can be heard coming log before they pass
They certainly have their own noise signature. My favorite is still an old radial or two or four.
When they come over you can almost feel it in your chest and they have their own unique sound.
That, my friend, is an
While deployed to Iraq in 08-09, I flew on C-130s twice into and out of Ali Al Salem Airbase, Kuwait. It is somewhat noisy, and disposable earplugs are distributed by the flight crew to those who did not have their own. For short hops in a full aircraft (we sat in the web seats, with a knee of the person across from you between your knees) it is not too bad. More than that and it becomes awful. I will never forget the smell of JP-8, hydraulic fluid, and human perspiration all mixed together. NOT a happy memory.

During my deployment to Afghanistan ('11-'12), I rode in C-17s. The noise level is a lot lower than the C-130, and the seating is better. The pallet-mounted seats are comparable to commercial coach seats, except that the pallet will shift forward and back during the flight. The seats on the sides of the aircraft are more comfortable, have adjustable headrests, you can stow your bag under your seat, and you can stretch your legs during the flight. I will choose a C-17 over a C-130 any day of the week and twice on Sundays!
Good to hear that some changes workout for the better! Welcome home.
Bring back the Vanguard and Electra ! Seriously though, if fuel prices continue to rise, why not build a 120 pax turboprop using state-of-the-art technology? Remember Boeing's 150 seat 7J7 PropFan concept?
Flying the CRJ 200/700. I must strongly agree that the No pax turbo prop comes close to those speeds except for the q400. Managed a TAS of 375kts and a ground speed of 460 kts. Awesome airplane and def out flys the CRJ 200 in performance.
Got me a fully mod 200/600ER the other day. We did some playing and all was good but I don't know what it will do on a long haul. It's an ER so I guess we'll find out in the next week or 3
I have an affinity for the turboprop. I grew up watching the Pacific Airlines Fairchild F-27s at Meadows Field in Bakersfield and often the sight of a Horizon Dash 8-400 evokes those fond memories. The whine of the Rolls-Royce Dart is unforgettable. Gary
Regional Jets were not supposed to replace props on short runs, they were actually created to relieve congestion at Hubs and fly more direct linear routes bypassing Hubs.. Instead, commuter/regional airlines dumped the more efficient props and put regional jets in their place or even dumped cities altogether because all of a sudden the RJs were too expensive to fly into smaller cities.
Im afraid tho, because of public perception that props = danger, it might be harder to go back to them. Its like after Deregulation, when local service airlines that flew DC9s or BAC 111s into smaller cities pulled out and the service was replaced commuters using Beech 99s or Twin Otters....Today people just dont care, they want what they want and they dont care if it costs someone else to provide it for them.....
But we need something more that Q400s and ATR72s....We need a decent MULTI ENGINED 9 passenger prop plane to replace aging Navajos and CE 402s. Convincing passengers to rely on a Single Engined Cessna Caravan or PC-12 can be tough..
We also need something in the 19 passenger range as well as the 30-40 passenger range....US Aircraft manufacturers dropped the ball big time when it came to fulfilling the need for Medium sized commuter props planes...And most of them built in other countries are either carrying cargo or have been scrapped.
To try to go back and re-introduce props will be hard because the airlines themselves have cut their own throats by re-enforcing the belief to passengers that props are less safe.....
linbb 1
Thats a new twist never heard of props being a problem with the public before must have missed it.
A lot of the unaviation public perceive props as old technology. I've had people talke about the turboprop service we have, and they think the aircraft must be from the 1940s. Many are surprised to find out they are 90s or newer aircraft.

Well, you got to remember that turboprop was an advancement back then. It ain't hard for me to remember as a young man flying on a Convair 580 and it was top of the
I think the public just got spoiled when the RJ's came along and thinking that they were an advance in technolgy,(and rightly so as they were marketed that way), hence when a service would change back, it was a regression. This is just kinda personal as well, but NWA used to field all CRJ's KMEM to KFSM, to compete with Eagle for awhile, then that last evening flight would turn into a Mesaba prop, which would RON and be first flight out next morning. Big disappointment to see that waiting at KMEM after a long day or to start your day off with. I don't know that it's as much a problem as disappointment.
benin 1
I'm glad they are making a comeback. they're an overall better solution im my opinion. they hold just as many people and can fly almost as far. It's also cheeper. the Saabs are my favorite, followed by the Q200
i would fly a Q400 over a CRJ200 on any route less than 300 miles. Anything further, the speed difference becomes apparent.
benin 1
Some time soon, they will probally tweak the engines or invent a new engine to settle the speed difference. I would fly an EMB 120 any day of the week.
My personal opinion, from a speed standpoint, it's not that much difference up in the business end because you are busy, but from a pax standpoint it's the vibration and noise. Once you have been on a full size jet of some type or an RJ, it is just like a downgrade and as I said in another post, a disappointment more than anything. While we all know they are just as reliable, it is a hellacious letdown at the end of a long day, to step off a jet of some type and onto one for the last leg home. That said, your destination makes a lot of difference. As a pax, I'd much rather fly out of KFSM than KLIT, just on account of less hassle.
benin 1
Engineers will also probally create a quiter, firmer engine, but you are right, stepping from a jet to a prop is a little of a let down, but personally I see nothing different than size and interior decoration whatever little there is.
That interior may have something to do with the feel too as about every one that I have been in has been rather
Great Lakes has been going at it for years with Beech 1900's. Yet Delta and American recently eliminated turboprops. Makes ya wonder.
Great Lakes survives only on the Essential Air Service subsidies. Half the time they fly empty flights just to make money from the govt.

[This poster has been suspended.]

flights out of PHX are what i've referred to, but i do remember seeing a news report about it to.
Many of American Eagle's old Saab 340's are parked and sitting at KABI. I always wondered what might happen to those planes.
I didn't know Eagle had any SAAB'S. I thought they were all ATR
No I used to fly on AA Saab 340s from Orlando (MCO) to Miami (MIA) back in the 90s.
I just probably didn't pay that much attention. Stretch the Q400's and bring 'em
Low and Slow and Loud and like riding inside a sewing machine. Anything to save some gas and a buck I guess. I avoid them would much rather fly a Bombardier or a 145
WtfWtf -7
Been saying it for years... Planes like the Q400 are a great solution, fast, nice, significantly more fuel efficient... yet again we cater to American ignorance and fly half empty A320s on 1 hour routes daily because they don't have big scary propellers.
Yeah, I have to agree with Andy. Personally, I haven't been on a half-empty airliner in over 20 years. Usually it's a full or even over-booked flight with the "this is a full flight, so we don't have any room for your carry on or your feet" announcement.
And I do think that turboprops are good for flights of about an hour duration that normally don't carry more that 50 pax or so. Beyond that you start having too many problems with weight and balance.
indy2001 3
We had a chance to fly Horizon Air Dash-8's last year into and out of Medford, OR. An accommodating flight crew even gave me a quick tour of their front office during a weather delay. It is surprisingly modern. Although it's tough for me to squeeze my 6'5", 240 lb frame into any small RJ or turboprop, I enjoyed those flights much more than on the ERJ140's that AA uses here in the Midwest. (Then again, after the Roselawn ATR crash, AA and its subsidiaries did away with all non-jets where cold weather is a factor.) On the Dash-8, we were low and slow enough to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery, but still high enough to avoid significant turbulence. The difference in flight time was 15 minutes vs. a jet. Although it was a bit louder than the RJ, conversation was easy. Actually, the background noise prevents conversation from loud passengers from being heard. There's no reason why comfortable, well-designed turboprops can't do the job.
really? LFs for US Based airlines are in the upwards of 85%+ so not sure where this "half empty A320s" claim is based of.
linbb 1
Another one here never have heard of anyone say props are scary but hey am not everwhere ether, also they dont seem to have as much problem with the birds either maby they are the ones scard by the props.
Only one mention of the BAC-11 here but in reality they were the first RJ's. Braniff flew a slug of them back in the day and they could hop in and out of about anywhere; best I remember quieter and smoother than anything around at that time, including the DC-9.
As far as the birds, engine wise, you don't have near the open intake and by the time that prop gets done with them, there generally is not much to worry about anyway. A pilot may not even know he has encountered a bird.
indy2001 1
I remember seeing Mohawk Airlines BAC 1-11s at Newark Airport in the 60s. The outdoor observation deck above the old (North) terminal's West Arcade let you get tantalizingly close to the aircraft. Sadly, the 1-11 prototype introduced the aviation world to deep stalls on T-tailed aircraft when it crashed during stall testing. Mohawk's 1-11 and United's Caravelles were the 'runts' of the aircraft during those days, especially when parked next to a 707 or DC-8. But they were loud jets, so they were still very cool to a child!
Climbout was an understatement with them. Braniff pilots were cowboys anyway, but more than once, as wx approached KFSM, they would leave the gate quickly, stand on their tails and bank out heading toward KTUL or KOKC in time to beat it. The local ANG didn't have anything on them boys. That was in the late 60's.


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