BAE Systems Regional Aircraft Re-Launches BAe 146QT Freighter

Former Flybe BAe 146-200 G-JEAJ

Former Flybe BAe 146-200 G-JEAJ, currently stored at Kemble, will be one of the first new freighter conversions (Michael Brazier)

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has announced a formal go-ahead for its re-launched BAe 146QT (Quiet Trader) freighter conversion programme. BAE Systems sees a promising future for the BAe 146QT, as the type is fully capable of meeting planned Stage 4 noise limits. As a freighter, the 146QT would have a payload of 10-12 tonnes, filling a gap between the 8 tonne payloads of the larger turboprop freighters and the 15- tonnes of Boeing 737 conversions. During the 1980s, one series 100, thirteen series 200s, and ten series 300s were converted to QT freighters by Pemco World Air Services of Dothan, Alabama. A further five series 200s were converted to QC convertible freighters. All remain in service with TNT Airways, Pan Air, Mistral Air, and Titan. BAE Systems is currently negotiating with several Romanian aerospace companies to undertake the new conversions. BAE Systems is already collaborating with Romaero on ATP freighter conversions. Conversion will involve installation of a large, 3.32×1.93 metres, upward-opening freight door in the rear fuselage, an E-class interior, a freight handling system, 9G forward restraint, and a loadmaster seat. The 200QT will have a maximum bulk payload of 11,670kg (25,730lbs) or a maximum containerised payload of 10,630kg (23,435lbs) based on carrying 6.5 108 x 88 inch containers, while the 300QT will have a maximum bulk payload of 13,265kg (29,245 lbs) or a maximum containerised payload of 12,065kg (26,600 lbs) based on carrying 7.5 108 by 88 inch containers. Two BAe 146s that have recently been returned off-lease by Flybe, G-JEAJ (msn E2099) and G-JEAK (msn E2103), will be the first to be converted. BAE Systems expects them to be ready for delivery in mid 2008.

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