Piedmont retires last of its Dash 8s

Piedmont Airlines has retired the last of its de Havilland Canada Dash 8s after 33 years of flying the turboprop aircraft as it completes its switch to an all-jet fleet.

The carrier, which has carried out a rapid switch of its fleet from turboprops to Embraer ERJ145 regional jets in just over two years, has been flying the Dash 8 since its first revenue flight on 2 May 1985. The wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines saw its last revenue flight using the aircraft carried out on 4 July, with flight 4927 from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Salisbury Wicomico Ocean City Regional Airport in Salisbury, Maryland.

Piedmont says the Dash 8 “revolutionised the regional industry. The turboprop was ideal for connecting passengers in small communities to major airports.” Piedmont, formerly Henson Aviation, flew the aircraft first under the banner ‘Henson, the Piedmont Regional Airline’ and later for parent companies US Air/US Airways and American Airlines.

It says its first Dash, N906HA, is estimated to have flown 14.8 million miles and carried nearly two million passengers in its lifetime.

The twin-turboprop Dash 8 replaced the four-engine Dash 7. Piedmont has flown 109 Dash 8s in three different models: the 37-seat Dash 8-100 and -200, and the larger, 50-seat Dash 8-300.

“The Dash 8 was one of those rare airplanes that stood out in a crowd,” said Piedmont Captain Michael Schirmann. “It had the performance and ability to handle tough weather conditions that, when paired with a skilled pilot, allowed it to routinely and safely complete flights that other airplanes simply couldn’t. From a pilot’s perspective, the Dash 8 was a lifelong friend that commanded respect and taught so many of us what flying was really about.”

“The Dash was the workhorse of the regional network, and it has served us well for years,” said Lyle Hogg, CEO of Piedmont Airlines. “It was a true pilot’s airplane. The Dash’s outstanding safety record, reliability and short runway capabilities will be missed in communities all over the East Coast. We know that passengers prefer the regional jets and we want to provide the best service we can for American and for our customers, but it will be a bittersweet day for Piedmont.”

The airline’s first ERJ145 regional jet began flying for it in February 2016.

 

Written by: Mark Thomas

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