History of the 146
Early design studies | The HS 146 | The BAe 146 | 146 Developments | The Avro RJ | The Avro RJX
Despite attempts to improve the efficiency of the plant, it was announced that Hatfield factory and aerodrome would close in 1993. The 146 Assembly Hall, built only 6 years previously only went so far in alleviating the problems of producing aircraft in the 1934 factory with its low level roofline that necessitated aircraft being tilted so their tails cleared the struts as they passed along the line. The Dynamics site the other side of the runway had closed in 1988 and other famous sites such as Weybridge (Vickers) had closed in recent years. A downturn in sales of civil aircraft caused by the recession and the first Gulf War meant BAe were also selling off the 125 corporate jet - another Hatfield product. This left the second production line at Woodford which also built the ATP turboprop as the centre for future developments of the 146.
Original ideas on development of the 146 family were focused on the the proposed RJ70 and RJ80, both to use the 146-100 airframe, with four de-rated LF507 turbofans and the new EFIS cockpit. Another proposed development was the 146-NRA (New Regional Aircraft) which would have had two underwing mounted engines, most likely to have been IAE V2500, CFM-56-5, RR Tay 690 or the new BMW-Rolls Royce turbofans then under development.
Allied Signal had acquired the turbine-engine producing side of Lycoming, (manufacturers of the LF 507 and ALF 502) from Textron. Allied Signal itself later merged with Honeywell.
In the event, the new developments were the RJ70, RJ85 and RJ100 being upgrades of the 100, 200 and 300 series respectively, utilising the new avionics and updated engines. Testing took place during 1992 and 1993, the aircraft now bearing the name "Avro" (revived as they were now being solely built at Woodford).
|The Avro RJ family|
From 1996 until 1998, Avro International Aerospace and Jetstream Aircraft were both members of Aero International (Regional) which also comprised Aerospatiale and Alenia (as ATR). The purpose was to merge the sales and support of their regional turboprop and jet aircraft. In its near 10 year lifespan, sales of the RJ were modest around 50 fewer than the total number of BAe 146s.
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