Bombardier Aerospace’s Dash 8 family of turboprop regional airliners includes the 37-passenger Q100 and Q200, the 50 to 60-passenger Q300 and the 70 to 80-passenger stretched Q400. 1,034 Dash 8 family aircraft were ordered and 1,060 delivered since 1984. More than 413 Q400s were ordered with 389 delivered by December 2011.

The newest member of the Dash 8 family, the Q400, had its first flight in 1998 and entered commercial service in February 2000.

The Q400 Dash 8 airliner was developed by Bombardier to meet the requirements of regional airlines for larger aircraft on high-density, short-haul routes. The 350k Q400 airliner is one of the world’s quietest turboprop aircraft. The noise and vibration suppression system (NVS) was introduced on the Dash 8 turboprop family in 1996.

The aircraft’s speed and 2,519km range provide airlines with the capability to service markets beyond conventional turboprop aircraft distances. The Q400 programme was launched in 1995 as a stretched version of the Q300 series.

Major operators include SAS Commuter (launch customer), Augsburg Airways of Germany, Horizon Air of USA, Tyrolean Airways of Austria, Qantas Airways, Horizon Air, Flybe, Colgan Air / Pinnacle, Porter Airways and All Nippon Airways of Japan.

In October 2001, the Q400 airliner was approved by Europe’s Joint Airworthiness Authorities for steep-approach operations, in preparation for approval to operate at London City Airport (LCY), which has a runway approach angle of 5.5 degrees.

A test aircraft of the Q400 became the first Canadian aircraft to fly on D7566 biofuel. D7566 is certified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Porter Airlines is planning to carry out Canada’s first biofuel-powered revenue flight on its Q400 aircraft.

Variation of Bombardier Aerospace’s Q400, NextGen

The Q400 NextGen, an improved version of the Q400, was announced in March 2008. The new aircraft has improvements to the cabin environment, including LED lighting, new ceiling panels, dished window sidewalls and larger overhead bins. Q400 NextGen participated in the 2012 FIDAE Air Show held in Santiago, Chile, in March / April 2012. Recent orders for the Q400 NextGen include 20 aircraft from Eurolot in March 2012, five aircraft for Ethiopian Airlines and two for Horizon Air in February 2012.

Dash 8 Q400 flight deck and systems featured

The dual control cockpit manufactured by De Havilland Canada accommodates the pilot and co-pilot. The electronic flight instrumentation system (EFIS) has five high-resolution, 6in x 8in, liquid crystal displays. The flight deck can be fitted with a holographic guidance system from Flight Dynamics.

“In 2001, the Q400 airliner was approved by Europe’s Joint Airworthiness Authorities for steep-approach operations, in preparation for approval to operate at LCY.”

The aircraft’s avionics system was developed by Thales Avionics (formerly Sextant Avionique). The communications suite includes a dual VHF navigation and communications and mode S transponder.

The cockpit is also equipped with an emergency locator transponder and a solid-state cockpit voice recorder.

Navigation equipment includes a weather radar, a ground proximity warning receiver, a radar altimeter, an automatic direction finder and distance measuring equipment. The aircraft has provision for a flight management system, a global positioning system and a traffic alert and collision avoidance system, TCAS II.

Cabin and turboprop engines incorporated into Bombardier Aerospace’s aircraft

The cabin can be configured for single-class or two-class layout for 68 to 78 passengers. SAS Commuter operates the aircraft with 58 seats in an all business-class configuration.

Air-stairs installed at the front of the cabin allow the aircraft to use airports with limited ground support facilities. Two passenger doors and one service door allow the aircraft to embark and disembark passengers quickly. The aircraft has more than 14 cubic metres of baggage hold.

The aircraft is powered by two turboprop engines type PW150A supplied by Pratt & Whitney Canada. Each engine develops 5,071shp or 3,800kW. The turboprop engines, mounted in Shorts engine nacelles, have full authority digital engine control (FADEC).

The engines drive six-bladed reversible-pitch composite propellers, type R408, supplied by Dowty. The propeller blades are fitted with an electrical de-icing system.

The total fuel capacity is 6,526l giving a maximum range of 2,519km carrying 74 passengers. The maximum cruise speed is just under 650km/h (403mph).

Q400 Dash 8 airliner fuselage

The near-circular in cross-section fuselage and the tail sections are manufactured by Mitsubishi. The fuselage and tail sections are transported to the De Havilland Canada manufacturing facilities in Ontario where the cockpit and wings are constructed for final assembly of the aircraft and system fits.

The Allied Signal electrical power system includes two starters / generators for DC power, two transformer units and two nickel-cadmium batteries. There are two engine-driven AC generators to supply variable frequency AC power.

The wings, tailplane and fin leading edges are fitted with de-icing systems.

Landing gear on Bombardier’s popular aircraft

The aircraft has Menasco retractable tricycle-type landing gear. Each unit has twin wheels fitted with Goodrich anti-skid brakes. The two independent hydraulic systems are supplied by Parker Bertea Aerospace.