DR Smith Foto
Westjet De Havilland Canada DASH 8 Q400 arriving at Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport on a brisk Sunday morning 2020 - Photo by Robson Smith
Westjet De Havilland Canada DASH 8 Q400 arriving at Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ) (likely from Québec City's Jean Lesage International Airport, YQB) on a brisk Sunday morning 2020. First launched in 1984 by De Havilland Canada, the DASH 8 series has morphed, ownership-wise, between a number of companies and corporations, culminating with its famous mark today. Subsequent to De Havilland's success with the design in the 1980s, the company was purchased by Boeing in 1988. However, ownership of the DASH 8 would soon revert to a Canadian company in 1992 by Bombardier, headquartered out of Quebec. It was at this stage that the aircraft was rebranded as the "Bombardier" DASH 8, alligning with their brand. The DASH 8 is best known by this title. Moreover, following the divestiture of this aircraft family from Bombardier in 2019, the new owners, Longview Aviation Capital, another Canadian company, would gain rights to this famous aircraft lineage. Of note, having acquired the original company brand (De Havilland) in additon to the actual aircraft's rights and manufacturing facilities, Longview Aviation Capital is able to revive the De Havilland Canada brand with the DASH 8, some 30 years later. The roots of this ubiquitious plane stem from the DASH 7, whose program commenced in the 1970s as a short take off/landing "STOL" prop plane with four engines. However, airlines, unsurprisingly, were more interested in operational costs rather than short field performance. This led to the DASH 8's inception, whereby two engines would be used in lieu of four. The airliner entered service in 1984, with NorOntario. With this, timing was excellent as many older aircraft (from the 1950 and 1960s) were nearing their respective retirements. Boeing then aquired DeHavilland, as mentioned, but did this in an attempt to facilitate an advantageous position to compete againts Airbus for large sales to then crown corporation Air Canada. Airbus won, and as a result, Boeing sold the unit to Bombardier. The rest is, as they say, "history". Variation wise, The Q series is the name given to all those of the family manufactured after 1997, toting active noise control systems (the "Q" stands for "Quiet"). The -400 model is not the only variation in service, but it remains the only one still in active production. It is, indeed, a fascinating aircraft and history. Enjoy the image!
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