Thursday, 5 November 2020

Another Airline Retires the Last of Their BAe146 / RJ85's + Reminiscences About the Dan-Air Fleet

Dublin, Ireland-headquartered CityJet has withdrawn its only remaining BAE Systems Avro RJ85 ending a 27-year association with the regional jet and its predecessor, the BAe146. 

The wet lease specialists RJ85 registration number EI-RJF and named “Great Blasket Island” left Dublin Airport (DUB) for KeflavĂ­k International Airport (KEF) on November 2.

The 22-year-old aircraft will make a stopover in Iceland before flying on to the USA. Once the plane arrives at Spokane International Airport (GEG) in Washington, it will be converted into a firefighting aircraft and enter service with Aero-Flite.

Constructed in 1999, CityJet acquired the 95 seat aircraft from Minnesota-based Mesaba Airlines in 2007 and used it on routes flying out of London City Airport (LCY). 
CityJet operated its Avro RJ85 on behalf of Irish national flag carrier Aer Lingus with regularly scheduled flights between London City Airport and Dublin Airport (DUB).

Because of its high-wing and T-tail, the aircraft was capable of steep descents, making it the perfect choice for challenging airports like London City. The Avro RJ85 was also a very quiet plane making it an ideal choice for noise-sensitive airports within cities.

In 2016 CityJet decided to embark on a fleet modernization program phasing out its RJ85s and replacing them with 20 Canadian-built Bombardier CRJ900s.

History of the BAe146 / RJ85

In May 1983, British airline Dan-Air became the first carrier to launch services using British Aerospace's new 146; the first revenue-earning service was flown between London Gatwick Airport and Berne Airport.

In total 387 BAe146 / RJ85's were produced. One unusual feature was that the engines lack thrust reversers due to their perceived reduced effectiveness in anticipated conditions. 
Instead, the BAe 146 features a large airbrake with two petals below the tail rudder at the rear of the fuselage, which has the advantage of being usable during flight and allowing for steep descent rates if required. In addition, the aircraft has full-width wing spoilers, which are deployed immediately on landing.

G-SCHH was a regular performer at Newcastle Airport, the registration giving prominence to the fact that these planes were extremely quiet compared to other planes of that time and indeed, those produced today.

More information on the BAe146 relating to Dan-Air can be found here

More detailed information about the BAe146 and RJ85's here