Rare Plane


Rode a pretty rare/air plane Bromma - Kallinge on Friday morning. It was a Saab 2000, a 1992 Swedish turboprop model of which only 63 where ever built. (Apparently they saw daylight in the mistaken hope that customers would want a turboprop this size, rather than the ubiquitous jets, and lost Saab a lot of money.) This one belongs to Golden Air. On the way back I rode one of those paunchy ATR 72-500s. Both models have their cargo bays right behind the cockpit.


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I took an ATR 72-500 between Ãngelholm and Bromma recently. That's a french turboprop. Sat right next to the propellers on the first flight. Sounded like hell. Then after half an hour or so it toned down to nothing. Ear-thing I guess. Overall about as enjoyable as a jet plane.

By Johan Lundgren (not verified) on 08 May 2012 #permalink

There is one less Saab 2000 after a drunk got on board an unguarded aircraft at Kallax airport and pulled the lever that retracted the landing gear. Crunch! True story.
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Saab 2000 suffered the same problem as the excellent Lockheed Electra a generation earlier; passengers want to get home in a hurry even if jet engines mean bigger fuel costs/higher ticket prices.
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(OT) Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma reel in Polar Music Prize http://www.thelocal.se/40700/20120508/

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 08 May 2012 #permalink

There are larger turboprop planes than this, including at least one of newer design. Bombardier (the same company that produces the Canadair Regional Jet, the first version of which also appeared in the early 1990s) makes the Q400, a 76-seat stretched version of their old DH8 workhorse. These planes first appeared in the mid-2000s. I rode one for the first time last year, on a Horizon Airlines flight PDX-SEA. Horizon, which operates regional flights on behalf of Alaska Airlines in the Pacific Northwest, seems to be the only US airline operating these aircraft, as most customers prefer either the Canadair jets or the regional jets made by Embraer in Brazil. The Q200, which is the updated 37-seat version of the DH8, is more common (I've seen them in United Express and US Airways Express livery as well as Horizon).

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 08 May 2012 #permalink

IMHO there is something viscerally reassuring about seeing the comfortingly large propellers going round. Most jet engines look about the same running and not. They are not as reassuring to the turtle brain.

Of course, if airplanes were optimized to be reassuring the wings would flap and the landing gear would be replaced with legs. The turtle brain is comfortable with things that work in obvious ways. And birds.

I hate these planes. (I live nearby Bromma Airport). Yesterday med and 5yo daughter did our weekly trainspotting hangout eating icecream and looking at planes landing and taking off on the mountain next to the Bromma airport traffic control tower. The turboprop planes sound A LOT. However some of the smaller businessjet planes also sound a lot.

Martin, have you checked out the derelict grave (båtformad stensättning?) on the hill just south of the ATC-tower?

By Joel Westerberg (not verified) on 08 May 2012 #permalink

I like your plane spotting custom!

Haven't checked out that grave. Sounds neat! All the airports around Stockholm sit on and next to a lot of archaeology.

The Soviets briefly considered a passenger version of their giant An-22 turboprop aircraft, it would have had as many passengers as a 747.
The noise level from the giant Kuznetsov engines and propellers would have been deafening.
The Brits built a giant turboprop flying-boat, the Saunders-Roe Princess, but the dawn of the jet age made it obsolete.
BTW is the old Canadian Otter still in use? It apparently never wears out.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 08 May 2012 #permalink

Haha, not that guy!
Joel, some kind of smaller airship would be good foor spotting sites at dawn and dusk, when the shadows highlight any difference of height. Plus, you can haul several hundred lb of gear into roadless terrain at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter.
-Interview with airship pioneer Hokan Colting (video of his airship at the end): http://wn.com/21st_Century_Airships,_Hokan_Colting
Zeppelin NT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeppelin_NT

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 08 May 2012 #permalink

They are a lot slower than the jets, so I can understand people avoiding these kinds of aircraft.

Portland to San Francisco via Horizon's turboprops (Horizon was mentioned above) is only about 15 minutes longer gate-to-gate than the same ride on a 737. And they have free beer and wine. And you usually fly at about 15-20K feet, much better view on a nice day. A big noisy but then again there's free beer and wine.

And they use a lot less fuel (and Horizon advertises it since northern california, oregon, and washington are overall quite environmentally conscious, plus we like our free beer and wine).

But I think that's about the maximum distance for which the time-efficiency trade-off works for most people. The planes typically run a route like seattle->portland->sf->san diego, or some portland->sf->san diego and back again, with the portland/seattle leg being the longest by a factor of two ...

dhogaza @13: Exactly. There are many routes, at least in the US, where the time from pushback to wheels up can be longer than wheels up to wheels down. (Europeans and Japanese are more likely to travel by train between cities for which this would be the case.) The higher top speed of a jet is irrelevant on the ground and during approach. I've seen estimates (from circa mid 2000s, when fuel prices were significantly lower than now) that on routes less than about 400 km the time savings from running a jet will not be enough to overcome the costs of a higher fuel consumption rate. The cutoff is probably a good deal longer today (SFO-San Diego would be near my guess of the crossover length). Lower fuel costs mean more money to spend on amenities like free beer and wine (for European readers: US-based airlines, even the so-called full service airlines, generally charge economy class passengers $5-7 for beer or wine in flight).

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 10 May 2012 #permalink