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First Q400s head for cargo conversion

A cargo conversion programme has been launched for the Bombardier Q400 turboprop by Canada's Cascade Aerospace.

Flight's Commercial Aviation Online reports that two eight-year-old ex-Scandinavian Airlines Q400s will be the first to undergo the conversion, named the Q400PF.

Swedish cargo operator Nord-Flyg is launch customer for the conversion being set up by the Canadian maintenance and engineering company. The first ex-SAS aircraft is due to arrive at Cascade Aerospace next week.

Nord-Flyg's director Ulf Darenius tells CAO that Cascade will convert the aircraft into an E-Class cabin compartment with a 9g vertical net. The second conversion will be performed in Europe with Cascade's support.

"Cascade Aerospace will have the supplemental type certificate for this aircraft ready by the end of August," says Darenius.

The Q400PF will be capable of carrying up to 9.5t of palletised cargo and, according to Darenius, will accommodate up to 40 Euro standard pallets in its 85m3 (3,000ft3) interior. In comparison, the gross usable volume for the ATR 72F is up to 75.5m3.

Nord-Flyg will operate its first Q400PF on behalf of a European customer that it has already lined up, says Darenius. He expects the first aircraft to be re-delivered late August and enter into service in September. The second should follow in August.

Cascade has developed a multi-role aircraft, the Q400-MR model, and has in the past performed conversion of two passenger aircraft into an aerial fire control role. Both ex-SAS Q400s were acquired in 2004 from Bombardier and sold to French Securite Civile the following year.

The company has also converted the first Bombardier CRJ200s to package freighters for Swedish operator West Air.

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