The BAe ATP was an airliner designed as an evolution of the Hawker Siddeley HS 748. The fuel crisis and increasing worries about aircraft noise led business planners at British Aerospace to believe that there was a market for a short-range, low-noise, fuel-efficient turboprop aircraft. By the time it entered the market, the segment was already well represented by designs such as the de Havilland Canada Dash 8 and ATR 42, and production was ended after only 64 examples.
Design and development
The airframe of the HS 748 was redesigned with a lengthened 26.01 m body and a 30.62 m wing span. Minor modifications were made to the nose and tail shapes, as well as smaller windows on a shorter pitch. The twin Rolls-Royce Dart engines were replaced with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW126 fuel efficient engines. A custom designed, slow-turning, six-blade propeller was developed by Hamilton Standard.
The aircraft first flew in August 1986 and entered service with British Midland in 1988. The type has an advanced EFIS Flight Deck, and has a good short-field performance. In addition to these virtues, it is also very quiet upon take off.
In total 64 aircraft were assembled at BAe's Woodford and Prestwick facilities with the manufacture of the airframe and wings undertaken at Chadderton. Production ended at Prestwick in 1996. The plane can accommodate between 64 and 72 passengers depending on the seat configuration. The biggest operators of the aircraft are British Airways CitiExpress and West Air Sweden.
In 2001 the ATP Freighter project allowed six ATPs to be converted in to cargo aircraft for West Air Sweden. Using a modification of the HS 748 freight door, the ATPF can carry 30% more cargo than its predecessor with a 10% increase in running costs. The ATPF made it first flight from West Air Sweden's facility in Lidköping on 10 July 2002.
In August 2006 a total of 32 ATP aircraft remain in airline service with West Air Sweden (11), First Flight Couriers (1), Atlantic Airlines (3), Emerald Airways (5), Enimex (1), SATA Air Açores (5) and West Air Luxembourg (5) NextJet Sweden (3).
Several ATP variants were proposed and produced for civil and military use:
The British Aerospace Jetstream 61 was an improved derivative of the ATP. It featured an interior based on the Jetstream 41 with innovative cabin wall armrests and an increase in capacity from 64-70 seats. In addition the airframe incorporated more powerful PW127 engines and increased weights and range.
The first flight was completed by the original prototype ATP (serial number 2001) reregistered G-PLXI (LXI being the Roman numeral for 61) on the 10th May 1994. Four airframes were subsequently produced as Jetstream 61’s (2064-2067) before British Aerospace’s regional operations were merged with ATR on the 26th January 1995. With the already highly successful ATR72 now part of the same product range the Jetstream 61 was immediately cancelled with all four airframes being scrapped at Woodford.
The original ATP and Jetstream 61 prototype is currently in storage at Woodford awaiting a final move to the Jetstream Club at Liverpool
This was a variant for use in military naval operations, with a surveillance radar under the forward fuselage, nose-mounted FLIR and internal sonar buoys. A suite of special crew stations also featured, as did a choice of up to six weapon pylons under the wings and fuselage. The Maritime ATP was later known as the BAe P.132. None built.
The AEW was a 1986 proposal for an Airborne Early Warning aircraft for Australia, with two EMI Skymaster radars in nose and tail radomes, similar in appearance to the Nimrod AEW.3. None built.
Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1988-1989
Published in July 2009.
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