The BAe HS 748 is a short range cargo aircraft capable of transporting 6,000 kg via an internal pallet system. Cargo pallets require a forklift to access its main deck.
History and Features
The HS 748 was developed during the late 1950s as a move to re-orientate the company towards the civil and export markets. Powered by the popular Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engine, it was specifically designed as a modern feederliner to act as a replacement for the aging Douglas DC-3s then in widespread service. Originally intended to seat a smaller number of passengers, market research indicated that a seating capacity of around 40 passengers would be optimal for the type. As a means to differentiate the new airliner from competitors, it was designed to possess a high level of performance, including its short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities and overall ruggedness. First flying on 24 June 1960, the series 1 HS 748 entered revenue service during the following year.
Once in service, the HS 748 found itself a niche within the short-haul market. Several different models would be developed of the regional airliner, typical improvements being the adoption of increasingly powerful Dart engines and a higher gross weight. Perhaps the most distinct variant was the HS 780 Andover, a dedicated military transport model developed for the Royal Air Force (RAF) that featured a large rear loading ramp and a squatting main landing gear to assist in loading bulky freight items. By 1988, the year in which production of the type was terminated, 380 aircraft had been produced between Hawker Siddeley (the owning company of Avro) and Indian aviation company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). During the 1990s, a larger, stretched development of the HS 748, the BAe ATP, was developed and had attempted to compete with market leaders such as the de Havilland Canada Dash 8 and ATR 42, but saw only limited sales prior to production being terminated.
Aircraft with similar capabilities, configuration and era were: Convair CV-240 family, Fairchild Hiller FH-227, Fokker F27, Handley Page Herald, NAMC YS-11, Saab 340, Grumman Gulfstream I.