Dornier 328Jet

C59F4427.jpgWhen someone tells you something with absolute certainty, you might be justified in doubting whether they know exactly what they are talking about. At some point in the late 1990s I was in the Pilatus factory in Switzerland talking to an engineer that had previously worked for Dornier. He was telling us that the idea of re-engining the Dornier 328 turboprop with jet engines had been reviewed and the wing was not strong enough to take the loads. There was no way the program would ever happen.

C59F4440.jpgTurns out he was not entirely accurate with his projection. Dornier did build a jet version of the plane and they show up now and again. I have seen one on the ground at Midway a few times when flying through but have never got a decent shot of it. Meanwhile, a recent visit there caught me out when another example of the type showed up on approach. I think it is quite a nice looking plane. Certainly a bit different to other aircraft of the size and something of a novelty as the regional jet market moves to larger sizes. Ironically, it was developing a 70 seat jet that took Dornier into bankruptcy.

C59F4415.jpgIt now looks like the 328 family might have a new lease on life. The owners of the design rights have signed an agreement with a Turkish organization to start production of an updated version for various Turkish government requirements prior to developing a new type. Maybe there is life in the jet yet!

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