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The Hawker Siddeley HS 748 is a medium-sized turboprop airliner originally designed by Avro in the late 1950s as a replacement for the now-aged DC-3s then in widespread service as feederliners. Avro concentrated on performance, notably for STOL operations, and found a dedicated market. 380 aircraft were built by Hawker Siddeley. A larger development, the BAe ATP, attempted to compete with the de Havilland Canada Dash 8 but saw a limited production run.
The original 748 design started in 1958 after the infamous Duncan Sandys 1957 Defence White Paper ended most military manned aircraft development in the UK, and Avro decided to re-enter the civilian market. The Vickers Viscount had the large end of the short-haul market neatly wrapped up, so Avro decided to design to a smaller regional airliner design to replace the many DC-3 Dakotas that were now reaching the end of their lifespan. Avro was not the only company to see the potential for a DC-3 replacement, and by this point the Fokker F27 Friendship was well advanced. Avro decided to compete by producing a design with better short-field performance, allowing it to operate from smaller airports.
BKS Air Transport Avro 748 Series 1 at Manchester in 1964|
The first aircraft flew from Avro's Woodford plant on 24 June 1960, and two prototypes quickly proved the type's short field performance. 18 Avro 748 Series 1 aircraft were produced, the first for Skyways Coach-Air, but the majority for Aerolíneas Argentinas. By this point, Avro's individual identity within the Hawker Siddeley Group had ended and the design was known as the HS 748.
The 748 Series 1 and Series 2 was licence-produced in India by Hindustan Aeronautics as the HAL-748. HAL built 89 aircraft in India, 72 for the Indian Air Force and 17 for the Indian Airlines Corporation.
The ICAO designator as used in flight plans is A748.
- 748 Series 1 -
- 748 Series 2 - The Series 2 entered production in 1961 with a higher take-off weight, and were 198 were built, making it one of the most popular post-war British designs.
- 748 Series 2a - The more powerful Series 2A followed with another 71 built.
- 748 Series 2b - The main production model after Hawker-Siddeley was absorbed by British Aerospace, 25 built.
- Super 748 - Fitted with hush kits on the Rolls-Royce Dart engines
- Hawker Siddeley HS780 Andover - Fitted with kneeling undercarriage, raised tail unit and rear loading ramp
- Coastguarder - A maritime patrol version.
- 748 Andover - Military passenger transport versions of the 748.
- HAL 748 - Liscence production by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at Bangalore India. Indian aircraft were later modified for a variety of roles including a trials aircraft for an Airborne Early Warning version fitted with a large radome, known as the Airborne Surveillance Platform (ASP). A total of 89 HAL 748's were built.
- HAL 748 Series 2M - Production for the Indian Air Force (the last 20 built) were Series 2M aircraft with a Large Freight Door.
Accidents and incidents
There have been 19 notable accidents involving the 748:
- 11 July 1965 - G-ARMV of Skyways Coach-Air crashed on landing at Lympne Airfield, Kent. The nose wheel dug into the grass runway and the aircraft overturned with the port wing being torn off.
- 11 October 1983 - Air Illinois crashed after electrical power failure, all six on board died.
- 27 June 1987 - Philippine Airlines Flight 206 crashed onto a mountain after poor visibility hampered the pilot's attempt to land at Loakan Airport in Baguio City, Philippines. All 50 passengers and crew died in the crash.
- 10 November 1993 - Air Manitoba Flight NAM 205/206 crashed just after takeoff killing all seven onboard. The accident was attributed to a "Loss of situational awareness during night takeoff" by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada in its 58 page report No. A93H0023
- *28 April 1995 - A Sri Lanka Air Force HS 748 was hit with an SA-7 while on approach to Palaly/KKS/Jaffna. The transport crashed outside the base perimeter, killing 43, mostly SLAF personnel. Only few hours later, another HS 748 was hit by an SA-7 only a few kilometres before landing in Palaly. This time 52 crewmembers and passengers were killed, again most of these SLAF personnel.
- 1 June 2002 - Former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje's scheduled flight home from Bloemfontein to George had been grounded, so he hitched a ride as the only passenger on a cargo flight in an HS 748. Near George airport, the pilots lost visibility in cloud, and were unable to land, partly due to unserviceable navigational equipment. While circling, the plane crashed into the Outeniqua mountains northeast of the airport. Cronje, aged 32, and the two pilots were killed instantly. An inquest by South Africa's High Court reached the conclusion that "the death of the deceased Wessel Johannes (Hansie) Cronje was brought about by an act or omission prima facie amounting to an offence on the part of pilots." However, with Cronje's involvement in match-fixing, theories that Cronje was murdered on the orders of a cricket betting syndicate have flourished since his death.
In August 2007 a total of 59 Avro 748 aircraft (all variants) remain in airline service. Current operators are:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- Burkina Faso
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
Specifications (Super 748)
Data from Jane's Civil and Military Aircraft Upgrades, 1994-95
- Crew: Three (two pilots + one passenger attendant)
- Capacity: 40-58 passengers
- Payload: 11,323 lb (5,136 kg)
- Length: 67 ft 0 in (20.42 m)
- Wingspan: 102 ft 5½ in (31.23 m)
- Height: 24 ft 10 in (7.57 m)
- Wing area: 829 ft² (77 m²)
- Empty weight: 27,126 lb (12,327 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 46,500 lb (21,092 kg)
- Powerplant: 2× Rolls-Royce Dart RDa.7 Mk 536-2 turboprop, 2,280 ehp (1,700 kW) each
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Published - July 2009