Monday, November 14, 2005
Just for a change of pace, I thought I'd have an aviation-related post, since I do like to talk about my career field once in a while. The aircraft pictured above is where I got the term bacosaurus from. I call this picture "Bacosaurus Butt."
I originally chose the term "bacosaurus" to use as part of this blog's web address due to its uniqueness (I was having trouble finding another blogspot name I liked that wasn't taken.) But I think it's appropriate. The aviation industry does, after all, make its living by using the by-products of dead dinosaurs. For more on THAT issue, a good site to check out is Peak Oil. Hopefully expensive oil will ultimately spur innovation to find some other type of fuel that aircraft of future generations can use...but we'll see what happens. Anyway, that's not the topic for today's post.
The mighty bacosaurus, or as it is formally known, the BAE-146, is a good aircraft...quiet, fairly reliable, and roomier than many other "regional" jets. It does great at getting in and out of mountain airports, and is even certified to land on gravel runways (this isn't generally a feature needed in the United States, but it does come in handy overseas.) However, due to its design, it flies rather slowly compared with passenger jets of similar size, and the four engines make it expensive to maintain. (With the exception of widebody aircraft, finding a passenger plane with more than two engines these days is very rare. Even the newer widebody aircraft only have two engines.) Also, the planes are getting older and are no longer manufactured, 9/11 having cancelled the manufacturer's desire to create a new model.
For these reasons, among others, my airline will no longer be flying the 146 after April. We did have about seventeen of these planes flying when I first got here, and that number is currently down to six. It's kind of the end of an era...these planes have been on the property for a LONG time. Or, as my picture above indicates, the TAIL end of an era.
An updated version of the 146 is still being flown by another US-based regional airline, but they're being phased out of service there as well. As far as I know, we're the last two operators of this aircraft type in the United States, although I'm sure it will continue flying in overseas markets for some time to come. For more information about this aircraft, please check out the excellent website Smiliner.
Posted by Chuck at 10:33 AM