The Dornier 328 is a turboprop-powered commuter airliner. Initially produced by Dornier Luftfahrt GmbH, the firm was acquired in 1996 by Fairchild Aircraft. The resulting firm, named Fairchild-Dornier, manufactured the 328 family in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, conducted sales from San Antonio, Texas, United States, and supported the product line from both locations.
Design and development
The 328 (or Do 328) program was initially begun while Dornier was still owned by Deutsche Aerospace. The basic 328 first flew on 6 December 1991, and entered commercial service in October 1993. The 328's new fuselage allowed for comfortable 3-abreast seating, with the potential for a 4-abreast configuration. Combined with the supercritical wing developed from Dornier's Do 228, this gave the 328 excellent cruise and climb capabilities. However, the 328 entered a market crowded with other competing turboprop aircraft at the time, as well as increasing competition from new regional jets in the early 1990's.
In 2005, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) awarded a contract to AeroRescue for long-range Search and Rescue (SAR) capability around Australia. Five 328-100s were progressively commissioned from April 2006to February 2007 and stationed around the Australian coastline to provide a 24 hour, 30 minute response capability. The aircraft were equipped with a comprehensive electronic sensor suite by Aerodata AG in Germany including; Israel Aerospace Industries ELTA EL/M 2022A Radar, FSI Star SAFire III Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), Direction Finder and an ARGON ST Infra Red/Ultra Violet scanner. The aircraft are also fitted with an Aeronautical Engineers Australia despatch system, allowing rescue stores to be dropped from the aircraft through a chute through the underwing emergency exit. These are progressively being upgraded with an in-flight opening cargo door to allow despatch of larger items, up to 20 man life rafts and boat dewatering pumps for open water rescues.
In January 2008 a total of 80 Dornier 328-100 aircraft remain in airline service. Major operators include: Hainan Airlines (29), Cirrus Airlines (10), Air Alps (7), Sun Air of Scandinavia (7),SATENA-FAC (6), ScotAirways (7), and South East Asian Airlines (4), Central Mountain Air (2). 24 other airlines operate smaller numbers of the type.
Specifications (Dornier 328-110)
Published - July 2009
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