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Ageing aircraft


Aerospatiale/BAe (BAC) Concorde

Thirteen of the 14 Concordes delivered to British Airways and Air France between 1975 and 1980 remain in service. Twenty Concordes were built, including two prototypes, two pre-production aircraft and two production aircraft which were not delivered. One of the seven Concordes delivered to Air France has been permanently withdrawn, while another has until recently been in long-term storage at Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport, but is being re-activated to cover for aircraft undergoing maintenance. All seven Concordes delivered to BA remain in service. BA achieves a considerably higher utilisation from its Concorde fleet than does Air France and, as a consequence, has the fleet-leading aircraft.

The original design life for the Concorde was set at 24,000 cycles, although the actual figure was never proved, as fatigue testing was suspended in the early 1980s with around 20,000 simulated cycles logged. As a result, the aircraft has a calculated design life which is defined as 6,700 reference flights, with one such flight being equivalent to a long sector operated from a take-off at a gross weight of more than 170t (ie, a transatlantic service). A take-off for a shorter flight at, for example, a gross weight of 120t, counts as 0.5 reference flights.

Although the high-cycle Concorde has now recorded over 6,900 cycles, its calculated reference-flight tally is around 5,900. As the lead aircraft is approaching the current limit, BA, in conjunction with BAe and Aerospatiale, is working to extend the limit to 8,500 reference flights. The programme, dubbed Concorde Relife Group, is being co-ordinated from BAe's factory in Filton, UK.. BA and Air France both expect to be able to continue Concorde operations until around 2014/5.

Max weight 185,000kg

Accommodation 100 (design maximum 144)

Wingspan 25.6m, length 62.1m, height 11.4m

Original design life 24,000 cycles (or 6,700 reference flights), 45,000h, 12-15 years

Average fleet cycles 5,183

Average fleet hours 14,438



Airbus Industrie A300

Airbus built a total of 250 of the original B-suffixed A300 variants (the A300B1, B2, B4, and cargo derivatives C4/F4), produced before the consortium standardised on the -600 models in 1985, with the majority of this fleet qualifying for the census. The first A300 was flown in October 1972, and deliveries began in 1974. The majority of A300Bs were powered by GE CF6s, the remainder being equipped with P&W JT9Ds.

Around 200 A300s older than 15 years are still in operation, 41 of which are at least 20 years old. With a relatively large fleet of ex-airline A300B4s available on the used market, the demand for freighter-converted aircraft has increased considerably, and it is estimated that some 30-50 A300 freighters could be in service by the end of the decade. Both Dasa Airbus and BAe Aviation Services offer cargo-conversion programmes for the aircraft.

Max weight 142,000kg

Accommodation 220-320 (336 high-density)

Wingspan 44.8m length 53.6m height 16.5m

Original design life 36,000 cycles, 60,000h,20 years

Average fleet cycles 20,514

Average fleet hours 33,203


Airbus Industrie A310

The A310, a short-fuselage derivative of the A300, makes its first appearance in the census this year, with five aircraft qualifying. The original -200 was flown in April 1982 and the type entered service a year later. Of the 84 A310-200s produced between 1982 and 1989, almost half are now operating with (or destined for) FedEx in the freighter role.

Max weight (-200): 142,000kg

Wingspan 43.9m length 46.7m height 15.8m

Original design life 35,000 cycles, 60,000h,20 years

Average fleet cycles 9,138

Average fleet hours 22,564


Boeing 747

The 747 remains in production, with around 1,100 having been delivered since the first in 1969, including 724 of the "Classic" (non-400) variants. Numerous engine/airframe combinations exist, powered by versions of the GE CF6, P&W JT9D and PW4000, and R-R RB.211. More than 490 747s which are 15 years old or greater remain in the fleet, including more than 240 built over 20 years ago. Appearing for the first time this year is the stretched upper-deck -300 model.

During 1996, a 747-100 operated by TWA passed the 100,000 flight-hours milestone. With expensive modifications needed for the ageing 747 fleet, it is increasingly becoming the most economic solution to dismantle early-build aircraft for spares.

The first 747 "Classic" to be retrofitted with a digital cockpit was certificated in 1997 by the German civil-aviation authority. The aircraft, an ex-United Airlines 747SP belonging to the Brunei royal family, was modified by Lufthansa Technik. It has been fitted with the basic equipment needed to take advantage of the Future Air Navigation System (FANS), although the necessary software for this capability is not yet available for the Classic. Lufthansa is calculating the cost-effectiveness of modifying its own -200s, and the -200 freighters of its cargo subsidiary.

KLM, meanwhile, has selected Canadian Marconi to act as systems integrator for the Dutch carrier's planned flightdeck upgrade for its fleet of 13 747-200/300 Classics, which includes an integrated global-positioning/ flight-management system with "FANS-1 equivalent" capability, and the replacement of electro-mechanical instruments with liquid-crystal displays.

Max weight (-100) 333,000kg

Accommodation (-100) 433 (500 all-economy)

Wingspan 59.6m length 70.5m height 19.3m

Design life objective 20,000 cycles, 60,000h,20 years

Average fleet cycles 14,010

Average fleet hours 60,015


Boeing 767

The 767 joined the census in 1996, and now some 41 aircraft qualify. First flown in September 1981, launch customer United Airlines put the 767 into service on its domestic network in August 1982. Several of those early-model -200s have since been subject to a weight and fuel increase, enabling them to be operated on United's transatlantic services.

Max weight (-200) 136,200kg

Accommodation (-200) 216 (290 all-economy)

Wingspan 47.6m length 48.6m height 15.9m

Design life objective 100,000h, 40 years. Cycles not known

Average fleet cycles 8,615

Average fleet hours 25,070


Ilyushin Il-86

The Il-86 was the first widebodied airliner produced in the former Soviet Union, and was flown for the first time in December 1976. The type entered service in 1979, and some 104 aircraft had been completed and delivered by the time production ceased in 1994. Four military airborne command-posts have also been completed. The high-time aircraft is a 1983-build machine, and the high-cycle one a 1984-build example. There are 20 aircraft built before 1983.

Max weight 208,200kg

Accommodation 234 (380 one class)

Wingspan 48.1m length 59.6m, height 15.8m

Original design life 30,000h, 20,000 cycles, 20 years


Lockheed L-1011 TriStar

Some 200 TriStars built before 1983 remain in service. A total of 249 TriStars was delivered between 1972 and 1984 (the prototype was never delivered), including 50 of the short-fuselage, long-range, TriStar 500s. The youngest TriStar in service (a -500) is now 14 years old. All versions of the TriStar are powered by three R-R RB.211s.

Max weight (-100): 211,375kg

Accommodation 256 (400 high-density)

Wingspan 47.3m length 54.2m, height 16.9m

Original design life 115,000 cycles, 210,000h, 20 years

Fleet leaders Cycles 35,065. Hours 78, 636Age 25 years (122 over 20 years)

Average fleet cycles 19,797

Average fleet hours 50,398


McDonnell Douglas DC-10

A total of 446 DC-10s was built between 1970 and 1989, including 60 KC-10 Extender tanker/transports for the US Air Force. Some 342 DC-10s built before 1982 are still in operation. This fleet includes versions of both the short-haul GE CF6-powered -10 and longer-range -30, and the P&W JT9D-powered -40. The short/medium-range DC-10-10 is now a prime candidate for conversion to freighter, with MDC managing a major upgrade programme for FedEx under the designation MD-10. Work includes the installation of a main-deck cargo door and an advanced electronic flightdeck.

Max weight (-30) 263,320kg

Accommodation 270 (380 high-density)

Wingspan (-30/40) 50.4m length 55.5mheight 17.7m

Design life and "test-supported life" (DC-10-10): 42,000 cycles, 60,000h, 20 years; (DC-10-30/40) 30,000 cycles, 60,000h, 20 years

Average fleet cycles 17,527

Average fleet hours 56,006





Boeing 707/720

Boeing built and delivered 856 707s (including 93 military E-3 and E-6 versions) between 1957 and 1991. A further 154 short-fuselage 720s were built. Boeing handed over the last civil 707 in 1979, with production after this being of military airborne warning-and-control and submarine-communications derivatives.

Some 175 Boeing 707/720s manufactured before 1983 are still in operation, the majority of which are the longer-fuselage -300 version, operated in the cargo role. Only P&W JT3D-powered versions remain in commercial service. A Stage 3 hushkit is being developed for the 707 by Burbank Aeronautical II (BAC II) which is expected to be certificated later this year, while Quiet Nacelle has developed a kit for the US Air Force. Omega Air will begin flight-testing a P&W JT8D-200 re-engined 707-300 during 1998, and certification of the modification is expected by mid-1999.

Max weight (300B/C) 161,450kg

Accommodation (-300) 141 (219 all-economy)

Wingspan 44.4m length 46.6m height 12.9m

Design life objective 20,000 cycles, 60,000h,20 years

Average fleet cycles 13,487

Average fleet hours 36,170


Ilyushin Il-62

The four-engined Il-62 was first flown in January 1963 and around 280 aircraft have been produced. The original model entered service in 1967, powered by Kuznetzov NK-8s, and subsequent variants by larger Soloviev D-30KUs. A total of 92 aircraft qualifies for the census.

Design life has already been extended from 30,000h to 40,000h, and further extensions are being studied, although major overhaul is required.

Weight (Il-62M) 165,000kg

Accommodation 168

Wingspan 43m length 46.6m height 12.4m

Design life 12,000 cycles, 30,000h, 20 years


McDonnell Douglas DC-8

A total of 556 DC-8s was built and delivered between 1958 and 1972, of which 285 remain in operation with non-military operators. As well as the JT3D-powered -50 and -60 versions, all 110 Series 70s (-60s re-engined with the CFM56) remain in service. A Stage 3 hushkit has been developed by Burbank Aeronautical II (BAC II) for the DC-8-62/63, which has been certificated by the US FAA. BAC II is developing a kit for the -50/61.

Max weight (-63) 161,000kg

Accommodation 259

Wingspan (-63) 45.2m length 57.1m height 12.9m

Original design life 25,000 cycles, 50,000h, 20 years

"Test-supported" life 50,000 cycles, 100,000h, 20 years

Average fleet cycles 24,109

Average fleet hours 63,766





Boeing 727

Boeing built and delivered a total of 1,831 727s between 1963 and 1984, and retained one prototype for development flying. The ageing 727 fleet totals 1,315 aircraft and includes examples of the -100, -200 and -200Adv, being operated in the passenger and cargo roles. The stored fleet has begun to decline, but this is largely because aircraft are being broken for spares.

FedEx Aviation Services has developed a Stage 3 hushkit for the 727, and more than 200 aircraft have been equipped with the kit, which was first certificated by the US FAA in 1989. Dee Howard offers an R-R Tay re-engineing programme for the 727-100, and UPS' fleet of 50 aircraft has been modified. Valsan's JT8D-200 re-engineing programme has been taken over by Rohr and marketed as the Super 27 conversion, and a total of 21 aircraft has been modified. Raisbeck Engineering has received FAA approval for a modification which reduces noise levels on the 727-200 below Stage 3 noise levels without the need for a hushkit.

Max weight (-200Adv) 89,450kg

Accommodation (-200) 145 (189 high-density)

Wingspan (-200) 32.9m length 46.7m height 10.4m

Design-life objective 60,000 cycles, 50,000h,20 years

Average fleet cycles 36,310

Average fleet hours 50,000


Boeing 757

Making its debut in the census this year, Boeing's twin-engined, narrowbodied 757 had its first flight in February 1982 and entered service a year later. Both the R-R RB.211-535 and PW2037/PW2040 engines are offered on the aircraft. Thirteen 757s are over 15 years old.

Early examples were delivered to Eastern Air Lines and British Airways. While the latter aircraft are still with their first operator, the early-build Eastern aircraft are now with Airtours International.

Max weight 99,900-115,800kg

Accommodation 186 (235 high-density)

Wingspan 38.1m length 47.3m height 13.6m

Design-life objective 100,000 cycles, 40 years

Average fleet cycles 8,436

Average fleet hours 18,771


McDonnell Douglas (MDC) MD-80

The P&W JT8D-200-powered MD-80, developed from the DC-9 and originally known as the DC-9 Super 80, entered production in 1979 and continues to be produced at MDC's Douglas Aircraft plant in Long Beach, California. The first aircraft was handed over in 1980 and, to date, more than 1,160 aircraft have been delivered. A small number of MD-80s has been assembled from MDC-supplied kits in Shanghai, China. A total of 114 aircraft was built in 1982 or earlier. Two sizes have been produced, the basic MD-81/82/83/88 and the short-fuselage MD-87.

Max weight (MD-81) 63,500kg

Accommodation 155 (114 for MD-87)

Wingspan 32.9m length 45.1m height 9m

Original design life 30,000h

Average fleet cycles 15,782

Average fleet hours 23,164


Tupolev Tu-154

The Tu-154 tri-jet was first flown in October 1968, and entered service in 1971 with Aeroflot. To date, around 920 aircraft have been built. Three basic versions have been produced: the original Tu-154, the Tu-154B powered by three Kuznetzov NK-8-2s, and the Tu-154M, which is equipped with Soloviev D-30KUs. Some 431 pre-1983 examples of the aircraft are still in operation. After the Tu-154's service entry, it transpired that structural improvements would be needed to attain the required service life of 30,000h, which has since been extended to 40,000h. Most examples of the early-model Tu-154 have been withdrawn.

Weight 90,000kg

Accommodation 167

Wingspan 37.5m length 48m height 11.4m

Design life 15,000 Cycles 30,000h, 20 years




Aerospatiale (Sud Aviation) Caravelle

Sud Aviation (now part of Aerospatiale) built and delivered some 282 Caravelles between 1955 and 1973. The initial versions: (Series 3 and 6) were powered by two R-R Avons, while later models (10B, 10R, 11R and 12) were equipped with two P&W JT8Ds. A total of 24 Caravelles remains in commercial service, and the youngest operational aircraft is now 37 years old.

Max weight (Srs 12) 58,000kg

Accommodation (Srs 12) 128 (140 all-economy)

Wingspan 34.4m length 36.2m height 9m

Original design life not known

Average fleet cycles 25,450

Average fleet hours 40,847



British Aerospace 146

The four-engined BAe 146 makes its first appearance in the census this year, as the oldest aircraft in service are now 15 years old. The BAe 146 had its first flight in May 1981 (a -100) and entered service in May 1983. Some 219 aircraft were produced and delivered, in three fuselage lengths (-100, -200 and -300), through to 1993, when the type was superseded by the more advanced Avro RJ family. BAe also developed a freighter version, the "QT" (Quiet Trader), which features a large main-deck aft cargo-door.

Max weight (-100) 38,100kg, (-200)42,200kg

Accommodation (-100) 82, (-200) 100

Wingspan 26.2m length (-100) 26.2m, (-200) 28.6m height 8.5m

Original design life 80,000 cycles 60,000h

Average fleet cycles 13,797

Average fleet hours 13,366



British Aerospace (BAC) One-Eleven

The One-Eleven was produced by BAC and, later, British Aerospace between 1963 and 1982, in two fuselage lengths: the basic Series 200, 300, 400 and 475, and the stretched 500. A total of 235 aircraft was built in the UK before production was transferred to ROMBAC (now Romaero) in Romania, where nine aircraft were completed under licence and delivered. All versions are powered by two R-R Speys, although one aircraft was re-engined with Tays as part of a proposed re-engineing programme, now defunct. Some 113 pre-1983-build examples are still operational. Many One-Elevens are operated in the corporate role, particularly in North America. Development of a Stage 3 hushkit for the One-Eleven is being undertaken by US-based specialist Quiet Nacelle, in conjunction with European Aviation of the UK.

Max weight (Srs 500) 47,400kg

Accommodation (Srs 500) 99 (119 high-density)

Wingspan (Srs 500) 28.5m length 32.6mheight 7.5m

Original design life 55,000 (now 85,000)Cycles 55,000h (now 85,000), 25 years (now 40)

Average fleet cycles 31,292

Average fleet hours 32,790


Boeing 737

Boeing's smallest jet-powered airliner, the 737 had its first flight in April 1967 and entered service ten months later, in February 1968. Some 2,840 examples of the twinjet had been built by the beginning of 1997. Production of the initial versions (-100, -200 and -200 Advanced), powered by P&W JT8Ds, ceased in 1988 after some 1,144 aircraft had been delivered.

The JT8D versions were superseded by the second-generation family of CFM-powered models (-300/400/500), the first of which entered service (a -300) in December 1984. The Next Generation family (-600/700/800) is now also in production, with the first example (a -700) having been flown in February 1997 and scheduled to enter service in October.

Some 810 pre-1983-built 737s are still in use. Two companies, Nordam and AvAero, have developed US FAA-approved Stage 3 hushkits for the JT8D-powered 737s.

Max weight (-200) 53,290kg

Accommodation (-200) 108 (130 all-economy)

Wingspan (-200) 28.3m length 30.5m height 11.3m

Design-life objective 75,000 cycles, 51,000h,20 years

Average fleet cycles 40,135

Average fleet hours 42,598


Fokker F28

Four basic versions of the F28 (Mks 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000) were produced between 1967 and 1987, with 241 aircraft being delivered. All the aircraft are powered by the R-R Spey 555. Two fuselage lengths were offered, covering the original short Mk1000 and similarly sized Mk3000, and the stretched Mk2000/4000. The Mk1000 and Mk2000 featured a 23.6m wingspan, while the Mk3000 and Mk4000 were equipped with a larger wing, of 25.1m span, offering improved performance. Two Mk6000s, whose wings incorporated leading-edge slats, were completed. These were later delivered with the slats disabled, effectively making them Mk4000s. Plans for a Stage 3 hushkit for the F28 have been superseded by Fokker Services' proposed R-R Tay 620 re-engineing programme. A total of 143 pre-1983-build F28s is still operational.

Max weight (Mk4000) 32,234kg

Accommodation (Mk4000) 79

Wingspan (Mk4000) 25.1m length 29.6mheight 8.5m

Original design "goal" 90,000 cycles, 60,000 hours, 40 years

Average fleet cycles 33,035

Average fleet hours 28,065


McDonnell Douglas DC-9

MDC produced five basic models of the original DC-9 (Series 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50) between 1965 and 1982, all powered by the P&W JT8D. A total of 813 DC-9s is still operational. The aircraft was superseded by the larger MD-80 family, which is a development of the DC-9. A DC-9 operated by Northwest Airlines passed the 100,000-cycles milestone during 1996. ABS Partnership has developed a US FAA-approved Stage 3 hushkit for the type.

Max weight (-30) 46,760kg

Accommodation (-30) 97 (125 one-class)

Wingspan 28.5m length 36.3m height 8.5m

Original design life 40,000 cycles, 30,000h, 13 years. "Test-supported" life: 100,000 cycles, 75,000h, 20 years.

Average fleet cycles 58,726

Average fleet hours 55,260


Tupolev Tu-134

The Tu-134 was first flown in July 1963, and production ceased in 1985, with 852 having been built. The aircraft entered service in 1967. Three versions exist: the basic Tu-134; the stretched Tu-134A, powered by two Soloviev D-30 turbofans; and the Tu-134B, similar to the A, with improved engines and revised interior. A total of 356 pre-1983-build examples remains in service. Of these, more than 140 have been flown for more than the design hours, yet few problems have been found, and the type is expected to stay in service through to the middle of the next decade, despite poor operating economics.

Max weight (Tu-134A) 47,000kg

Accommodation 80

Wingspan 29m length 37m height 9.1m

Original-design life 20,000 cycles, 30,000h


Yakovlev Yak-40

The Yak-40 was flown in October 1966, and some 1,000 aircraft were built before production ceased in 1985. Powered by Ivchenko AI-25 turbofans, the tri-jet entered service in 1968 and was envisaged as the Soviet Li-2-replacement regional-jet airliner, designed to fly from grass airfields. Large numbers remain in service with CIS airlines, although some are being purchased for corporate use. A total of 444 pre-1983-build examples is in service.

Max weight 13,700kg.

Accommodation 33

Wingspan 25m length 20.3m height 6.5m

Original design life 25,000 cycles, 30,000h,25 years


Yakovlev Yak-42

The trijet Yak-42 had its maiden flight in March 1975, and the first delivery to Aeroflot occurred in 1980. The type was withdrawn in 1982 after an accident, and was re-introduced into service in 1984.

Some 170 Yak-42s, powered by Lotarev D-36 turbofans, are believed to have been delivered. The aircraft remains in production as an updated version, dubbed the Yak-142, equipped with an AlliedSignal avionics suite and electronic flight-instrumentation system. This version is expected to receive US FAA certification. Fifteen Yak-42s in service are 15 years or older (including three pre-production models).

Max weight 54,000kg

Accommodation 120

Wingspan 34.9m length 36.4m height 9.8m

Original design life 30,000 cycles, 30,000h




Ilyushin Il-76M/T

Originally conceived as military freighters, older military Il-76s, with low hours and cycles, are being converted to civil use. The first example of the high-winged four-engined freighter was flown in March 1971 and entered service in 1972. Over 1,000 aircraft have been produced, with around 60 completed airframes stored at the production plant awaiting delivery. The original versions were powered by MKB (Soloviev) D-30s, and a stretched, re-engined, derivative, the MF, has been developed, powered by the Perm PS-90. The first Il-76MF was flown in August 1995.

There are now 85 pre-1983-build Il-76s in commercial service.

Max weight 170,000kg

Max payload 40,000kg

Wingspan 50.5m length 46.6m height 14.8m

Design life 10,000 cycles, 30,000h




Ilyushin Il-18

There are three versions of this four-turboprop airliner: the -18V, the more powerful -18E, and the heavier, longer-range, -18D, with additional freight versions of V and D models. A total of 62 pre-1983-build examples of the Il-18 remains in service.

Max weight (-18D) 64,000kg

Accommodation 122

Wingspan 37.4m length 35.9m height 10.2m

Original design life 25,000 cycles, 30,000h




Lockheed Electra

Some 63 of the 170 L-188 Electras built by Lockheed remain in existence. The first aircraft was flown in December 1957, and production of the four-engined airliner ceased in the 1960s.

Max weight 52,660kg

Accommodation 98

Wingspan 30.2m length 31.8m height 9.8m

Original design life none set




(More than 20 seats)

Antonov An-24/An-30

Some CIS military An-24s are being transferred for civil operation, but these are mainly outside Russia. There are five models, including B, RT, RV, and T variants, all powered by two Ivchenko AI-24s, some with an auxiliary turbojet for improved performance and engine starting. Included with the An-24 this year is the airborne survey derivative, the An-30. With survey work now falling off, the An-30 is now increasingly being used as a freighter, however, and occasionally in the passenger role. Some 70 aircraft are included within the An-24 totals.

Max weight 21,000kg

Accommodation 50

Wingspan 29.2m length 23.5m height 8.3m

Design life 35,000 cycles, 50,000h, 25 years


Aerospatiale (Nord) 262

Some 111 examples of the 26-seat twin turboprop were produced by Aerospatiale and its predecessors between 1962 and 1976, of which 23 remain in service. The aircraft entered service in 1965. A re-engined version, the Mohawk 298, featured P&WC PT6A engines in place of the original Turboméca Bastan VIIs.

Max weight 10,800kg

Accommodation 26-29

Wingspan 22.6m length 19.3m height 6.2m

Original design life n/a


BAe (Avro)/Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) 748

A total of 382 748s was built, including 89 aircraft manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics in India, and 31 military Andovers. All 748s are powered by two R-R Darts. The last examples were completed in 1987. Some 147 748s in service are pre-1983 build examples. The Royal Air Force has begun disposing of its Andovers, and some are now operated in the cargo role by commercial operators.

Max weight (Srs 2A) 21,100kg

Accommodation 58

Wingspan 30m length 20.4m height 7.6m

Original design life 30,000 cycles, 30,000h


CASA C-212

The 19-26-seat C-212 Aviocar was developed by CASA for the military/utility and regional-airliner roles. The first aircraft was flown in 1971 and deliveries of the military variant began in 1974. Production has been undertaken both by CASA in Spain and IPTN in Indonesia. Production for the military market continues, with the latest version designated the -400.

Max weight 7,300kg

Accommodation 26

Wingspan 9.0m length 15.2m height 6.7m

Original design life 25,000 cycles

Average fleet cycles 7,996

Average fleet hours 6,748


Convair CV-580

The CV-580 is a conversion of the piston-powered CV-340/ 440 with two Allison 501-D13 turboprops, carried out by Pacific Airmotive of Burbank. It has a larger fin for single-engine stability, modified systems and new instrument panel. A total of 164 aircraft was converted, and 129 remain in operation. All current airframes are at least 25 years old. Kelowna Flightcraft has developed a stretched version, the -5800.

Max weight 26,370kg

Wingspan 32.1m length 24.1m height 8.6m

Original design life never established


Convair CV-600 and 640

These are turboprop conversions of the Convair 240 and 340/440, respectively, powered by two R-R Dart 10 Mk 524s. A total of 38 CV-600s and 27 CV-640s was created, with 27 examples remaining, all of which are older than 25 years.

Max weight (640): 24,950kg.

Accommodation (640): 56

Wingspan (640): 32.1m length 24.8mheight 8.6m

Original design life never established.


De Havilland (Bombardier) Dash 7

The Dash 7 four-engined 50-seat regional turboprop has short-take-off-and-landing performance. The first example was flown in 1975, and the aircraft entered service in February 1978. Powered by four P&WC PT6A-50s, 113 were built before production ceased in 1988. Some 78 current examples of the aircraft are at least 15 years old.

Max weight 19,960kg

Accommodation 50

Wingspan 28.4m length 24.6m height 7.9m

Original design life 60,000 flights crack-free. The design life has been extended to 80,000 flights. This is not a limit as further extensions are possible with continued engineering evaluations.


Fairchild FH-227

The FH-227 is a stretched 52-seat derivative of the R-R Dart-powered Fokker F27 (see entry) developed by Fairchild (then known as Fairchild Hiller) for the US market.

The first aircraft was completed in 1966 with some 78 FH-227s being built before production ceased in 1968. Several dimensionally similar versions were developed, including a cargo variant. The current fleet totals 34 examples

Max weight (FH-227B/D) 29,640kg

Accommodation 52

Wingspan 29m length 25.5m height 8.4m

Original design life not known


Fokker/Fairchild F27/F-27

Fokker flew its first R-R Dart-powered F27 twin turboprop in November 1955, and production of the civil versions continued until 1985. Several versions were developed, including mixed passenger/cargo and freighter variants, and a stretched version (the Mk500), all powered by two R-R Darts. Production of the F27 was undertaken in the USA under licence by Fairchild, with US-produced versions dubbed the F-27. The US-developed stretched derivative, the FH-227, is described separately.

Fokker completed 580 F27s, and a further 129 F-27s were produced by Fairchild in the USA, for a total of 709 aircraft. Fokker developed an advanced derivative to replace the F27, called the Fokker 50. Production of the new model began in 1985. A total of 325 of the current fleet is older than 15 years.

Max weight 20,410kg

Accommodation (Mk 500) 52 (60 maximum)

Wingspan 29m length (Mk 500) 25.1mheight (Mk 500) 8.7m

Original design goal 60,000 cycles, none for hours or age


Grumman Gulfstream 1

Originally conceived by Grumman as a business aircraft, several of the twin-turboprop G-159 Gulfstream 1s have since been converted for airline use, seating up to 24 passengers, or for freighter use. Some 200 of the R-R Dart-powered aircraft were produced between 1958 and 1963. A stretched conversion, dubbed the GI-C, can carry 37 passengers, but only five aircraft were modified before the programme was terminated.

Max weight 16,300kg

Accommodation 24 or 37

Wingspan 23.9m length 23m height 7m

Original design life n/a


Handley Page Herald

A twin-turboprop regional aircraft powered by the R-R Dart, the high-winged Herald began life as a four-engined design, equipped with radial piston engines. The first prototype was flown in this guise in August 1955. The decision to switch to turboprop power was taken in 1957, before deliveries of the piston-engined version had begun. A total of 50 "Dart" Heralds was built through to 1970, and ten aircraft are still current, in the cargo role.

Max weight 19,500kg

Accommodation (Series 200) 56

Wingspan 28.9m length 23m height 7.3m

Original design life 30,000 cycles, 15 years



This Japanese-designed regional airliner, powered by two R-R Dart turboprops, was produced by Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing (NAMC). The 60-seat aircraft was conceived to satisfy the requirement of Japan's domestic airlines. Some 182 examples were produced between 1962 and 1973, including mixed-traffic and all-cargo models. Some 105 examples are current, and some are now operated in the cargo role.

Max weight 25,000kg

Accommodation 60

Wingspan 32m length 26.3m height 9m

Original design life not known


Shorts 330/360

Originally called the SD3-30, the 330 is a 30-seat utility derivative of the Shorts SD3 Skyvan, powered by two P&WAC PT6As. Including the military Sherpa, 139 aircraft were produced between 1974 and 1992. The majority of aircraft, however, were produced between 1976 and 1985, and the design was superseded by the slightly larger Shorts 360 from 1982, which also features a conventional tailplane and fin in place of its predecessor's twin-tail design. The US FAA's requirement for cockpit-voice recorders prompted many US-based Shorts 330 operators to upgrade to the 360, while 330s ended up in cargo roles. Shorts ran a programme by which many 330 operators have been able to extend the life of their airframes at 28,000 cycles, to 57,600 cycles.

There are 56 examples of the 330/360 which are at least 15 years old. There is a US Army programme under way which is seeing many 360s converted for the utility role, involving the retrofit of the 330's twin tail and aft loading ramp.

Max weight (330) 10,160kg, (360) 12,290kg

Accommodation (330) 30, (360) 36

Wingspan 22.8m length (330) 17.7m, (360) 21.6m height (330) 4.95m, (360) 7.3m.

Design life 30,000 cycles, 30,000h.


Vickers Viscount

The Viscount was the world's first turbine-powered airliner to enter revenue-passenger service (in July 1950). A total of 444 aircraft was delivered, with three basic models being developed: the Series 700, 800 and 810. All versions were powered by four R-R Dart turboprops. Some 20 aircraft remain in service, most of which are operated in the cargo role.

Max weight (32,890kg

Accommodation 70

Wingspan (Srs 810) 28.6m length 26.1mheight 8.2m

Original design life 75,000 cycles, 30 years




(Less than 20 seats)

BAe/Handley Page Jetstream/J31

The twin-turboprop Jetstream was originally designed and produced by Handley Page, with the first Turboméca Astazou-powered version entering service in the late 1960s, and some 44 aircraft were produced through to 1970 when Handley Page was declared bankrupt. The programme was bought by Prestwick, Scotland-based Scottish Aviation (now part of BAe) with the aircraft being relaunched, powered by the AlliedSignal Engines TPE331, and redesignated the Jestream 31 (or J31). The first J31 was flown in 1980 and some 385 aircraft were built at Prestwick before production ceased in 1993. Jetstream has developed a scheme to extend J31 life to 45,000 cycles, which is now being ratified by the US FAA, having gained approval in Europe. BAe says that J31 life could be extended to 67,000 cycles if the economic case is there.

Max weight 6,400kg

Accommodation 18-19

Wingspan 15.9m length 14.4m height 5.3m

Original design life 30,000 cycles

Average fleet cycles 16,341

Average fleet hours 12,764


Beech (Raytheon) 99

A 15-seat airliner development of the Beech Queen Air general-aviation aircraft, the first Beech 99 was flown in 1996 with deliveries starting in 1968. Production of the P&WC PT6A-powered twin-turboprop ceased in 1986 after 239 aircraft had been completed.

The original life of the aircraft had a spar limit of 10,000h, which was subsequently increased to 20,000h with the installation of a spar reinforcement kit. Another spar kit allows this to be extended by a further 20,000h to 40,000h.

Max weight 4,940kg

Accommodation 15-17

Wingspan 14.0m length 13.6m height 4.4m

Original design life 10,000h (extended to 40,000h)


De Havilland (Bombardier) DHC-6 Twin Otter

The Twin Otter was conceived for short-take-off-and-landing operations, with the first aircraft being flown in 1965. Production of the twin P&WC PT6A-powered aircraft continued until 1988 with some 844 aircraft being built. The fleet leaders are now on their second set of wings, while many -200s and -300s have been relifed to 49,000 and 33,000 hours, respectively. Five-year corrosion inspections are now mandatory.

Max weight 5,670kg

Accommodation 20

Wingspan 19.8m length 15.8m height 5.9m

Original design life 50,000 cycles, 25,000h


Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante

The Brazilian-manufactured unpressurised, twin-turboprop was first flown in 1968 and entered service in 1973, although deliveries of the civil commuter version did not begin until 1978. Production ceased in 1991 after some 500 aircraft had been built. The UK CAA set the most stringent lifetime limitation, for the lower wing-to-fuselage attachment fittings in front centre-section spar, of 11,420h or 17,569 landings. It also prescribed inspections of the front-spar lower cap at 20,000h to allow continuation to 30,000h, and then to 45,000h with an approved reinforcing kit in the nacelle region. The Australian CAA was the most demanding for wing-to-fuselage attachment fittings in the forward spar cap, at 15,400h or 23,600 cycles.

Max weight 5,600kg

Accommodation 19-21

Wingspan 15.3m length 14.2m height 4.7m

Original design life 21,000 cycles, 30,000h


Fairchild Dornier 228

The twin-turboprop 228 was produced by Dornier, now Fairchild Dornier in two versions, the basic 15-seat -100, and the stretched 19-seat -200. The first aircraft was flown in 1981 and over 230 aircraft have been built to date. Versions of the 228 include military/utility and regional airliner.

Max weight 5,700kg

Accommodation 15-19

Wingspan 17.0m length (-100) 15.0m (-200) 16.6m height 4.9m

Original design life 62,500 cycles


Fairchild Dornier (Swearingen) Metro

Originally developed by Swearingen from the Merlin business twin-turboprop, the first Metro was flown in 1969, and entered service in 1970. A corporate version, the Merlin IV, was also developed. Some 595 examples of the 19- to 20-seat aircraft have been built to date, and production continues of the current version, dubbed the Metro 23.

Max weight 5,670kg

Accommodation 20

Wingspan 14.1m length 18.1m height 5.1m

Original design life n/a


GAF Nomad

The twin-turboprop short take-off-and-landing capable Nomad was designed by Australia's Government Aircraft Factories (GAF) for utility and commuter roles. Two versions were produced, seating 13 and 17 passengers. The first aircraft was flown in 1971, and production ceased in 1984 after 172 aircraft had been built. Some 29 pre-1983 build aircraft remain in commercial operations.

Max weight 3,855kg

Accommodation 13-19

Wingspan 16.5m length 14.4m height 5.5m

Original design life n/a


Shorts Skyvan

The Skyvan was originally designed as a piston-powered aircraft, and was flown for the first time as such in January 1963. A turboprop version was developed, initially equipped with the Turboméca Astazou engine, but later with the AlliedSignal TPE331. The first TPE331-powered Skyvan was flown in 1967 and production continued until 1986, with some 149 aircraft being produced.

Max weight 5,670kg

Accommodation 19

Wingspan 12.2m length 19.8m height 4.6m

Original design life 20,000 cycles




Antonov An-12

This aircraft was a development of the An-10, with redesigned rear fuselage and tail unit, and powered by four Ivchenko AI-20K turboprops. Civil numbers of this aircraft may increase because of conversions from the military version. A total of 209 pre-1983-build examples remains in operation.

Max weight 61,000kg

Wingspan 38m length 33.1m height 10.5m

Design life 25,000 cycles, 30,000h



Antonov An-26

The pressurised An-26 is powered by two Ivchenko AI-24VTs and an RU-19A-300 auxiliary-power unit is available for take-off/cruise. More An-26s are moving across to the civil sector as airlines acquire the surplus military aircraft, particularly since modifications have permitted an increase in payload from 4.5t to 6.3t. About 682 pre-1983 examples are current. The An-26 entered service in 1969.

Max weight 50,706kg

Design life 16,000 cycles, 30,000h,



Lockheed L-100 Commercial Hercules

A commercial derivative of the C-130 military transport, the L-100 Commercial Hercules entered production in 1964. A total of 115 aircraft was built, with three versions developed - the basic L-100 and two stretched variants, the L-100-20 and L-100-30. All versions are powered by four Allison 501 turboprops. Production continued through to 1993, although the majority of the aircraft was built before 1985. Some 46 aircraft older than 15 years are in service.

Max weight 70,310kg

Wingspan (-30) 40.3m length 34.4m height 11.7m

Original design life not set