History of the 146

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

In 1999, BAe announced plans for a new, updated version of the aircraft, the change being Honeywell AS977-A1 FADEC equipped engines.  These combined with new pods and pylons were known as an Integrated Powerplant System (IPPS).  The new aircraft was known as the Avro RJX and work on it progressed through 2000 and 2001.  Engine running test began in March 2001 with the first flight taking place on 28 April with G-ORJX, an RJX-85 and the first prototype to be built.  G-IRJX, the first RJX-100 flew on 23 September, just 12 days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Orders were placed by Druk Air of Bhutan and FlyBe (of the UK).  Both were established 146 operators, Flybe with a fleet of 15 and Druk with two 146-100s.  Its home airport of Paro was a very difficult approach at high altitude and with a short runway.  The 100 series could not however carry more than 70 passengers and could not fly the crucial Paro-Bangkok route non-stop.  The additional capacity and range of the RJX-85 they ordered would be a great benefit.  No other aircraft at that time, with the possible exception of hte Embraer 170 would have been suitable.

The Avro RJX-100 Photo: Toby Vickers

Unfortunately, in the wake of 9/11 and with the collapse in the airliner market, all pending sales of RJX fell through and on 27 November, BAE Systems announced the cancellation of the RJX program.  Existing RJ airframes were completed and delivered.  For a while (when it was unknown whether Druk Air and FlyBe would cancel their orders), the test program was resumed and the first production aircraft, G-6-391 flew on 9 January, 2002.  However the orders were duly cancelled and the production of the last British airliner came to an end.  A total of 394 airframes were completed, compared with  235 One-Elevens, 117 Tridents, 54 VC10s, and 14 Concordes.

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