The DHC 8 is more usually referred to nowadays as the Dash 8 and although it is often thought to have been an original Bombardier aircraft, it actually has its design and production roots in De Havilland Canada.
Therefore the purpose of this web page is designed purely to chart the early history of this iconic and successful aircraft.
The DHC 8 or 'Dash 8' is a twin turboprop regional transport passenger aircraft which places its design concept on high performance and low operating costs. Its twin-engine configuration brings economic maintenance which is especially true when compared with the Dash 7, its four engine predecessor.
Initially designed to carry 36-39 passengers (Dash 8-100), subsequent variants such as the 200, 300, 400 and Q400 models have stretched seating capacity up to 78 passengers (model numbers prefixed by ‘Q’ indicate that cabin noise suppression equipment is fitted).
The prototype DHC 8-100 (C-GDNK) flew for the first time on 20th June 1983 and entered service with NorOntair on 23rd October 1984. Its elegant appearance is highlighted by the High T-tail, which avoids the effects of propwash, and its elongated engine nacelles which also accommodate the rear-folding undercarriage.
The 100 was followed by the Dash 8-200 which had the same seating capacity but featured a much higher all-up weight and more powerful PW123 engines which extended its cargo and baggage capacity. The Dash 8-300 flew in May 1987 (50 seats) and then the stretched Dash 8-400 flew in January 1988.
In 1986, the Canadian Governement privatised De Havilland Canada, selling the aircraft production facilities and product range to Boeing. Boeing were in direct competition with the fast emerging European manufacturing company Airbus and it simply used the DHC name to strengthen its relationships with shared product customers.
However, when Air Canada announced their intention to purchase Airbus aircraft and amidst various accusations, Boeing reacted by placing DHC for sale.
Bombardier Aerospace of Montreal eventually acquired DHC in 1992, incorporating the aircraft into their portfolio of feeder airliners. It further expanded the Dash 8 with the introduction of the Q400 which proved highly popular on city airport routes due to its low noise footprint on arrival and departure.
Eventually, all DHC Type Certificates were purchased by Viking Air who successfully put the aircraft back into production.
The Dash 8 family has been very successful, with more than 1,200 delivered and can still be seen on regional and feeder-liner routes world-wide.
Total production of the 100, 200 and 300 series was 671 aircraft whilst production of the 100 ceased in 2005. It was followed by the 200 and 300 in 2009. Up to the end of September 2017, a total of 1,232 aircraft of the DHC-8 family have been delivered, with the Q400 continuing in production.
|Dash 8-100||Dash 8-200||Dash 8-300||Dash 8-400|
|Powerplants||Two 1,800shp PW120||Two 2,150shp PW123||Two 2,380shp PW123||Two 4,850shp PW150A|
|Span||84ft 11in||84ft 11in||90ft 0in||93ft 2in|
|Length||73ft 0in||73ft 0in||84ft 3in||107ft 8in|
|Maximum Weight||34,500 lb||36,300 lb||43,000 lb||67,200 lb|
|Capacity (pax)||37||37||50 - 56||78 - 90|
|Cruise speed||310 mph||334 mph||328 mph||414 mph|
Variants and Numbers built
|DHC 8-100 Series||37–39 passenger version that entered service in 1984. Powered by the 1,800 shp PW120A; and later PW121. 299 built|
|DHC 8-101||1984 variant with 33,000 lb take-off weight|
|DHC 8-102||1986 variant with 34,500 lb take-off weight|
|DHC 8-103||1987, PW121 engines, can be modified to 35,200 lb max weight|
|DHC 8-106||1992, further max take-of weight increase to 36,300 lb|
|DHC 8M-100||Two aircraft equipped for maritime pollution monitoring|
|CC-142||Canadian Forces transport deployed in Europe|
|CT-142||Canadian Forces navigation trainer variant|
|E-9A Widget||USAF range control aircraft equipped with AN/APS-143(V)-1 radar|
|DHC-8-200 Series||Series 100 with 2,150 shp PW123 engines. 105 built|
|DHC 8-201||1995 variant powered by two PW123C engines|
|DHC 8-202||Powered by two PW123D engines|
|DHC-8-300 Series||50–56 passenger version that entered service in 1989, stretched 11.3 ft over the Series 100/200, powered by the 2,380–2,500 shp PW123, 123B or 123E. 267 built|
|DHC 8-301||1989, powered by two PW123 engines|
|DHC 8-311||1990, powered by two PW123A engines with revised landing gear|
|DHC 8-314||1992, powered by two PW123B engines|
|DHC 8-315||1995, powered by two PW123E engines|
|DHC-8-300 MSA||Upgraded maritime surveillance aircraft|
|RO-6A||US Army designation of DHC-8-315|
|DHC-8-Q400 Series||70–78 passenger version that entered service in 2000. Powered by 4,850 shp PW150A engines. 561 delivered to end September 2017, production continues with orders for a total of 610 received by the same date.|
|DHC 8-400||Maximum of 68 passengers|
|DHC 8-401||Maximum of 70 passengers|
|DHC 8-402||Maximum of 78 passengers|
|Q400 NextGen||Updated cabins, landing gear. Extra Capacity variant accommodates a maximum of 86 passengers. From 2016, offered in a 90-passenger high-density variant.|
|Q400 MR||Two aircraft adapted to water bombing role|
|DHC-8 MPA-D8||2007, maritime patrol version|
|DHC-8-402PF||2008, pallet freighter variant|
|Q400-CC||2015, combi-passenger freight, 50 seats plus 8,200 lb cargo|
The Dash 8 is in widespread service and the Q400 variant remains in production.