History of the 146

Early design studies | The HS 146 | The BAe 146 | 146 Developments | The Avro RJ | The Avro RJX

After evaluation of various other available engines, including the Rolls Royce Spey, Rb.410, RB415, SNECMA M.45, GE TF34 and the Avco Lycoming ALF 502, it was determined that the ALF 502 and its core, the T55, used extensively in helicopters, was the most promising for an aircraft of this type.  In 1971, a new design study was begun at Hatfield, designated the HS 146.  Unlike previous feederliner designs, this aircraft would use a high wing with four under-slung engines and a T-tail.

HS 146

A wooden mockup was constructed at Hatfield, the comparatively wide fuselage allowing the accommodation of 5 Boeing 747 seats abreast in the passenger cabin.  There were to be two variants, the HS 146-100 seating 71 to 88 passengers and the -200 series to seat between 82 and 102.  Application was made to the British Goverment for development funding assistance which was subsequently granted in 1973 despite the fact it was a single-nation project as it was deemed to be well within HSA's capabilities to design and build it.

Artists' Impression from 1978

Unfortunately by 1974, things weren't looking so good.  The Arab-Israeli "Yom Kippur" war of 1973 had triggered the "oil crisis" and rising fuel prices were denting air travel passenger numbers having knock on effects on sales of aircraft and thus the willingness of manufacturers to produce new types.  Thus the 146 became put on hold and would remain so until the formation of British Aerospace in 1978.

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