BOMBARDIER HAS SOLD a de Havilland Dash 8 Series 200B to an Australian company which plans to equip the aircraft for hydrographic surveys of shallow coastal waters (Flight International, 1- January, p4). Adelaide-based LADS is to equip the aircraft with a laser airborne depth-sounder (LADS) and offer its shallow-water surveying services worldwide.

Developed by parent company Vision Systems, the LADS is already in service with the Royal Australian Navy on a Fokker F27, while another system has been installed on a US Navy Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion for trials. The LADS fitted to the Dash 8 will be smaller and more accurate than these systems, the company says.

The Dash 8 will be delivered in June for installation of the LADS, and will enter service in mid-1998. LADS says that it selected the Dash 8 because it combines extended mission endurance with the ability to operate on hot days from limited-length airfields. The company also cites the aircraft's cabin size, which provides room for the equipment and a comfortable working environment for the crew.

Bombardier says that the Dash 8 will provide almost 5h of survey time 550km (300nm) from base, enabling an area of more than 360km2 to be surveyed from an altitude of 1,600ft (500m). Time on station 1,500km from base is 90min, enabling an area of 120km2 to be surveyed.

The LADS can be used to measure coastal waters to depths of 70m and is faster and less expensive than the traditional method of surveying using surface vessels, the company says.

Source: Flight International