BAE Systems Regional Aircraft reports “good progress” with the conversion of the first relaunched BAe 146QT (Quiet Trader) freighter at the program’s Aerostar conversion center in Bacau, Romania. Program manager David van Veggel said he expects the first converted aircraft–a Series 200 (S/N E2099)–to roll out for service in the first half of next year.
Inside the first conversion aircraft at Bacau, workers have stripped passenger equipment and services from the fuselage in preparation for the transformation. On the exterior of the aircraft, paint stripping around the window areas and large freight door structure has begun, allowing for identification of the original rivet spacing.
Meanwhile, engineers have established a manufacturing cell and positioned two freight-door jigs at Avioane Craoiva, the Romanian company responsible for the manufacture of the large freight door, door surrounds, 9-g bulkhead, floor reinforcements, E-Class interior and associated hardware. The company has started three sets of parts and it plans to deliver the first fully completed kits to Aerostar in February.
The relaunched BAe 146QT follows into the market 29 BAe 146QT/QC freighters that remain in service after conversion from the production line in the mid-late 1980s.
The biggest operator, TNT Express, flies 19 of the quad-jets on a busy overnight European schedule from its Liege hub in Belgium. Other operators include Australian air Express, the UK’s Titan Airways and West Air Sweden.