Aero International [Regional] ATR-42 and 72 Series Aircraft Report

Gary Horton, Vice Fleet Captain, Saint Paul Airlines

 

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY:

The ATR (Aviones de Transport Regional) consortium was launched in October 1981 in response to a newly posted industry request for a 64 to 72 seat, mid-range, regional aircraft. Prominent among the specific requirements sought after by the carriers was [1] Exceptional operational flexibility in severe or restricted environments, [2] Fuel and maintenance efficiency, and [3] Passenger comfort. When the various manufacturers looked at the requirement, France’s Aerospatiale and Italy’s Aeritalia / Alenia companies decided that it made more economic sense to cooperate than compete in this tight market. They, therefore entered into an equal partnership agreement for the project.

Using existing engineering work done prior to their merger, ATR employed much of the research and development efforts that had already gone into the Aeritalia AIT-230 and the Aerospatiale AS.35 to produce a new aircraft. In addition to being resourceful, a key component to their upcoming success lay in the adoption of a "family" concept of development. Specifically, it was agreed to incorporate a high degree of commonality in their aircraft. Thus, identical internal systems would be used as much as possible to allay maintenance and supply issues, the fuselage diameter of their ships would also remain constant for future modification purposes, and a common cockpit layout was adopted to facilitate cross-crew qualification training. The results of their activities became the ATR 42 and the stretched version, the ATR 72. Their names were derived from the normal seating capacities for the first variants.

Following the lead of the Airbus Industrie’s use of diverse component construction sites, ATR split their efforts as well. The fuselage and rudder sections are built by Alenia in Naples, Italy, the wings and engine nacelles are built by Aerospatiale in St. Nazaire, France, the powerplants are built by Pratt & Whitney of Canada in Longueil, Quebec and the propellers are built by Hamilton-Standard of Hartford, Connecticut. All of these components are then transported to Toulouse, France for final assembly, flight testing and delivery.

It wasn’t long before ATR recognized they had struck upon a winning combination. Their family of aircraft would soon provide feeder service to major airlines throughout the USA, as well as point to point service worldwide. By the end of March 2001, 616 aircraft have been delivered of the 652 that have been ordered. Of these, 256 are the ATR 72 variants, while the remaining 360 are ATR 42 series ships. This represents 67% of the world market share for turboprops in the 40 to 70 seat category. Currently, there are 102 operators worldwide in 65 different countries. Some of the major carriers using the ATR line include American Eagle, British Airways/CityFlyer, Team Lufthansa, Alitalia Express, CSA Czech Airlines, Thai International Airways, Sabena, Continental Express, Iberia/Air Nostrum, ASA/Delta Connection, Air France, Air New Zealand Link, EuroWings and KLM Excel.

Plans for the additional stretching of both variants into the ATR 52 and 82 series were dropped in 1992 when the Franco-Italian partnership joined the Deutsche Aerospace Group (DASA) and British Aerospace (BAe). In January 1996, the alliance changed with the company now calling itself AI[R] Aero International (Regional). This venture did not include the Germans, but did bring in two BAe subsidiaries, Avro International Aerospance and Jetstream Aircraft. In mid 1998, the AI[R] group disbanded and ATR regained its independence. Corporate Headquarters has remained in Toulouse, France where the parent companies have merged the marketing, sales, customer support, and product R&D activities for the ATR program.

 

 

ATR 42 SERIES AIRCRAFT DATA

The first of two prototype ATR 42-300s successfully completed its maiden flight on August 16, 1984. Certification of the airframe by both French and Italian authorities occurred in September which then sparked a flurry of intense activity at ATR. Further testing, sales, procurement and extensive training for both the air and ground crews allowed the southern French carrier Air Littoral to bring the new airliner into service on December 3, 1985.

This initial –300 series aircraft became the standard production version of the ATR 42 family until 1996. A more complete description of the various series aircraft follows.

COMMON ATR 42 SERIES AIRCRAFT DATA:

Flight Crew: two pilots & one flight attendant

Maximum Seating: 50 at 4 abreast, but more typically 46 for greater PAX comfort

Length: 74 ft. 4 in.

Wingspan: 80 ft. 7 in.

Height: 24 ft. 9 in.

  

CRITICAL STATISTICS

ATR 42 PROTO

ATR 42-300

ATR 42-320

ATR 42-500

Basic Operating Weight [BOW]

22,086 lbs.

22,685 lbs.

22,685 lbs.

24,802 lbs.

Zero Fuel Weight [ZFW]

32,625 lbs.

33,510 lbs.

33,510 lbs.

36,817 lbs.

Max Take Off Weight [MTOW]

35,605 lbs.

36,825 lbs.

36,825 lbs.

41,005 lbs.

Max Landing Weight [MLW]

35,270 lbs.

36,160 lbs.

36,160 lbs.

40,344 lbs.

Max Fuel Capacity

10,006 lbs.

10,006 lbs.

10,006 lbs.

10,006 lbs.

Max Payload Weight

Not Configured

10,824 lbs.

10,824 lbs.

12,015 lbs.

Max Flight Time @ 996 lbs/hr

 

 

 

 

**Reserves + 46 PAX @ 170 lbs.

4.67 hrs.

5.30 hrs.

5.30 hrs.

7.37 hrs.

Max Range @ Average 240 kts

1120 nm

1272 nm

1272 nm

1769 nm

Max Range @ Average 250 kts

1168 nm

1325 nm

1325 nm

1843 nm

 

*Please note that "Range" is a highly variable issue with many components involved to determine a given fuel load for the same trip under differing conditions. This fuel burn number has been arrived at through the use of ATR flight profile parameters which conform to standard airline flight planning practices. By flying a 3 hour 55 minute trip from Toronto-Pearson Int’l CYYZ to Miami KMIA in FS2K, I found my numbers a little higher than planning estimates. Given the current limitations of FS2K and FS98 in the representation of turboprop aircraft, I think the 996 lbs/hr average burn is close to reality. Unfortunately, I have not had access to a real time ATR pilot to confirm these numbers. Nevertheless, when you do the math for the various versions, the range numbers come very close to the "advertised" numbers found in numerous aircraft web sites. However, these numbers may not work well in the simulation world, but they do provide some ball park figures to work with.

**Reserves are defined as 0.3 hrs for taxing and 0.75 hrs for alternate field / holding, etc.

 

 

INDIVIDUAL 42 VARIANT DESCRIPTIONS

ATR 42-300

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-120 engines at 1800 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2000 shp [reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, four bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard 14SF5 propellers. They are 13 ft in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. Propeller pitch angle varies from –10 degrees in full reverse to to 86.5 degrees in full feather. The right hand engine is fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.

Description: This was the first standard production version until 1996. It is fitted with two fuel tanks at a maximum total capacity of 10, 006 lbs. / 1,516 gals. [758 gals / 5003 lbs] each.

ATR 42-312

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-120 engines at 1800 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2000 shp [reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, four bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard 14SF5 propellers. They are 13 ft in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. Propeller pitch angle varies from –10 degrees in full reverse to to 86.5 degrees in full feather. The right hand engine is fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.

Description: This version represents a variety of small internal variations from the –300 model and pioneered the quick change cargo concept known as the ATR 42F.

ATR 42-320

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-121 engines of 2100 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2280 shp {reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, four bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard 14SF5 propellers. They are 13 ft in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. Propeller pitch angle varies from –10 degrees in full reverse to to 86.5 degrees in full feather. The right hand engine is fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.

Description: This was the second major production version with noticeably better performance than earlier models. Its’ development was in response to numerous carriers asking for better hot weather, high altitude, short field attributes. This ship was also discontinued in1996.

ATR 42-400MP

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-121 engines of 2100 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2280 shp {reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, six bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard / Ratier-Figeac 568F propellers. They are 12 ft 4 in. in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. The right hand engine is again fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.

Description: This was a briefly lived third model. It really served as an operational prototype for the upcoming –500 series and was offered as a possible military version as well. Most of the internal improvements that would appear in the –500 series were first incorporated into this model with the exception of the more powerful PW-127E engines. Development was ATR’s response to requests for higher levels of PAX comfort and payload capabilities. Fuel tank size and aircraft range stayed within the general parameters of earlier models.

ATR 42-500

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-127E engines of 2400 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2600 shp {reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, six bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard / Ratier-Figeac 568F propellers. They are 12 ft 4 in. in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. The right hand engine is fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.

Description: This is the current production version. It’s fuel tank capacity remained the same, with significant improvements in handling and overall performance.

Other Improvements: This series uses the same new cabin interior design with its increased volume overhead bins, and acoustically absorbent materials as the –400s and the 72-500s. Further reductions in noise are achieved through the installation of tuned vibration dampers throughout the fuselage and the suppression of parasitic noise from outflow valves, hydraulic pumps and other sources. With a reduced diameter, slower rotational speed and advanced blade tip design, these propellers significantly reduce the noise and vibration transmitted to the passenger cabin. It shares an astounding 89% commonality of spare parts to the ATR 72-500 series.

Data Primarily for ATR 42-300 / 320 series aircraft

Balance Field Length[Minimum Field T/O and Landing Length: 3822 feet @ MTOW & 3694 feet @MLW

Using a straight-in ILS approach, this is an "Approach Category B aircraft in the 91 to 120 kts range.

Service ceiling: FL250

Max cruise speed @ FL150: 269 kts TAS. 304 kts for –500

Normal cruise speed: 248 kts TAS.

Stall [Clean] Vs1 @ MGW = 104 kts.

Stall [Dirty / Flaps & Gear] Vso @ MGW = 88 kts.

Average fuel burn per hour: 996 lbs.

FLYING THE ATR 42-300 / 320 Series AIRCRAFT

Flap settings: Takeoff @ MTOW is 15 degrees.

V Speeds @ MTOW:

V1: 109 kts.

Vr: 112 kts.

V2: 123 kts.

Flap retract schedule after takeoff @ MTOW is
From 15 degrees to zero degrees @ 143 kts

Acceleration Altitude for prop driven aircraft is : 400 ft AGL

Climb Profile: 1500 ft/min @ 160 kts IAS & props @ 86% Np [props must be @ 86% if icing conditions exist]

Cruise Profile: Props @ 86% with 263 kts TAS @ FL150

Props @ 84% with 276 kts TAS @ FL170, Economy 80% @ 267 kts TAS

Props @ 84% with 275 kts TAS @ FL210, Economy 80% @ 265 kts TAS

Descent Profile: 1500 ft/min @ 240 kts TAS

Normal Approach & Landing Sequence:

Flaps @ 15 degrees & gear down: 160 kts.

Flaps @ 30 degrees: 145 kts.

Continue 3 to 5 degree glide slope & cut throttles / flare @ 20 ft alititude above runway.

Landing Reference Speed is 105 kts.

Vref @MLW: There are four flap settings on the ATR 42. Speeds for their use are as follows:

Vref @ 0 degrees: 132 kts.

Vref @ 15 degrees: 115 kts. Vfe: 170 kts.

Vref @ 30 degrees: 102 kts. Vfe: 150 kts.

Vref @ 45 degrees: 093 kts. [Emergency Only] Vfe: 130 kts. [Emergency Only]

 

ATR 72 SERIES AIRCRAFT DATA

Four years after the ATR 42 had entered service, the first ATR 72-200 prototype, F-WWEY, took to the air on October 27, 1988. It was soon followed by the second aircraft on December 20th. ATR’s first firm order for the larger ship was placed by Finland’s Finnair for five aircraft to be used by its subsidiary KarAir. Certification followed and ATR 72-200 serial OH-KRA became the first production aircraft delivered. KarAir took possession on October 30, 1989.

Both the 42 and 72 designs incorporate numerous internal systems to facilitate quick change operations. A standard front cargo door allows the aircraft to be rapidly converted from a passenger layout into being a freighter. The maximum payload a 72 series aircraft can accommodate in this configuration is 15,875 lbs. (7200kg) in thirteen containers.

COMMON ATR 72 Series AIRCRAFT DATA:

Flight Crew: two pilots & two flight attendants

Maximum Seating: 74 at 4 abreast, more typically 68 for greater PAX comfort

Length: 89 ft. 1.5 in.

Wingspan: 88 ft. 9 in. This extension occurs outboard of the engine nacelles, with 30% of it being made from composite materials for the spars, skin panels & a carbon fiber wing box.

Height: 25 ft. 1 in.

 

CRITICAL STATISTICS

ATR 72-200/202

ATR 72-210/212

ATR 72-500

Basic Operating Weight [BOW]

27,558 lbs.

27,558 lbs.

28,953 lbs.

Zero Fuel Weight [ZFW]

43,430 lbs

43,430 lbs.

43,430 lbs.

Maximum Take-Off Weight [MTOW]

47,300 lbs.

47,400 lbs.

48,501 lbs.

Maximum Landing Weight [MLW]

47,068 lbs

47,068 lbs.

47,068 lbs.

Maximum Fuel Capacity

10,300 lbs.

10,300 lbs.

11,020 lbs.

Maximum Payload Weight

15,875 lbs.

15,875 lbs.

15,875 lbs.

Maximum Flight Time @ 1368 lbs/hr

 

 

 

**Reserves + 68 PAX @ 170 lbs.

4.93 hrs

5.00 hrs.

4.79 hrs.

Maximum Range @ Average 240 kts

1183 nm

1200 nm

1150 nm

Maximum Range @ Average 250 kts

1232 nm

1250 nm

1198 nm

*Again, please note that "Range" is a highly variable issue with many components involved to determine a given fuel load for the same trip in differing conditions. This fuel burn number has been arrived at through using the same profile I used in the ATR 42. By flying a 4 hour 1 minute trip from Toronto-Pearson Int’l CYYZ to Miami KMIA in FS2K using an ATR 72-210, I again found my numbers a little higher than planning estimates. Given the current simulation limitations of FS2K and FS98, I think the 1368 lbs/hr average burn is close to reality. When you do the math for the various versions, the range numbers come very close to the "advertised" numbers found in numerous web sites.

**Reserves are defined as 0.3 hrs for taxing and 0.75 hrs for alternate field / holding, etc.

 

INDIVIDUAL 72 VARIANT DESCRIPTIONS

ATR 72-200 / 201

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-124 engines at 2160 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2300 shp [reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, four bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard 14SF11 propellers. They are 13 ft in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. Propeller pitch angle varies from –10 degrees in full reverse to to 86.5 degrees in full feather. The right hand engine is fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.

Description: This was the first production version. It has a fuel capacity of 1562.5 gal / 10,300 lbs in two tanks of 780 gal each. The –201 model was simply an expression of slightly different internal configuration.

ATR 72-202

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-124B engines of 2400 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2600 shp [reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, four bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard 14SF5 propellers. They are 13 ft in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. Propeller pitch angle varies from –10 degrees in full reverse to to 86.5 degrees in full feather. The right hand engine is fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.

Description: When the industry cried for more power, later production –200s were fitted with the more powerful PW-124B engines. To differentiate between the earlier models and these upgraded versions, the –202 designation was used. Fuel capacity and range remained fairly constant to the –200s.

ATR 72-210 / -211 / -212

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-127 engines of 2480 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2700 shp [reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, four bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard 247F propellers. They are 13 ft in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. Propeller pitch angle varies from –10 degrees in full reverse to to 86.5 degrees in full feather. The right hand engine is fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.

Description: Development and production of this model was spurred on mainly by an American Eagle request for increased hot weather, high altitude, short field performance for this larger aircraft. AE took first delivery of this variant in December 1993. In addition to slightly more powerful engines and different propellers, it also featured improved PAX cabin layout, enhanced noise reduction and upgraded air conditioning. Its’ fuel capacity and range remained similar to earlier models. From a pilot’s point of view, the extra performance simply made it an all around better ship than its earlier stable mates. It is basically the stretched version of attributes found in the ATR 42-320 series ships. The variant numbers again express minor internal variations.

 

ATR 72-500 (Originally designated ATR 72-210A)

Powerplants: Two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PW-127F engines of 2750 shaft horsepower with auto power increase of an engine to 2990 shp [reserve take-off rating].

Propellers: Two constant speed, six bladed, full feathering, reversible Hamilton-Standard / Ratier-Figeac 568F propellers.. They are 12 ft 4in diameter and turn clockwise as the observer faces the same direction as the aircraft. These props turn at 1200 rpm at 100% Np. The right hand engine is fitted with a propeller brake on the propeller reduction gearbox, allowing the engine to run without the propeller turning.driving six bladed Hamilton-Standard With a reduced diameter, slower rotational speed and advanced blade tip design, these propellers significantly reduce the noise and vibration transmitted to the passenger cabin.

Description: This variant looks externally to be an exact duplication of the ATR 72-210/212 series. Its one exception being the six bladed propellers. Internally, it is a much different story. The –500 series was certified in early 1997 and represents the apex of the ATR 72 design at this time. It carries a slightly increased fuel capacity, that being 1670 gal / 11,023 lbs in two tanks of 835 gal

Other Improvements: A completely new cabin interior design is employed which incorporates all of the identical advantages placed in the 42-500 series aircraft. The higher engine power of the PW-127Fs and improvements in lateral flight control has enhanced the ship’s take-off and landing performance.

Data Primarily for ATR 72-500 series aircraft

Balance Field Length[Minimum Field T/O and Landing Length: 4620 feet @ MTOW

Using a straight-in ILS approach, this is an "Approach Category B aircraft in the 91 to 120 kts range.

Service ceiling: FL250

Max cruise speed @ FL150: 284 kts TAS

Normal cruise speed: 248 kts TAS.

Stall [Clean] Vs1 @ MGW = 102 kts.

Stall [Dirty / Flaps & Gear] Vso @ MGW = 84 kts.

Average fuel burn per hour: 1368 lbs.

FLYING THE ATR 72-500 Series AIRCRAFT

Flap settings: Takeoff @ MTOW is 15 degrees.

V Speeds @ MTOW:

V1: 109 kts.

Vr: 112 kts.

V2: 123 kts.

Flap retract schedule after takeoff @ MTOW is
From 15 degrees to zero degrees @ 143 kts

Acceleration Altitude for prop driven aircraft is : 400 ft AGL

Climb Profile: 1500 ft/min @ 160 kts IAS & props @ 86% Np [props must be @ 86% if icing conditions]

Cruise Profile: Props @ 86% with 263 kts TAS @ FL150

Props @ 84% with 276 kts TAS @ FL170, Economy 80% @ 267 kts TAS

Props @ 84% with 275 kts TAS @ FL210, Economy 80% @ 265 kts TAS

Descent Profile: 1500 ft/min @ 240 kts TAS

 Normal Approach & Landing Sequence:

Flaps @ 15 degrees & gear down: 160 kts.

Flaps @ 30 degrees: 145 kts.

Continue 3 to 5 degree glide slope & cut throttles / flare @ 20 ft alititude above runway.

Landing Reference Speed is 105 kts.

Vref @MLW: There are four flap settings on the ATR 42. Speeds for their use are as follows:

Vref @ 0 degrees: 132 kts.

Vref @ 15 degrees: 115 kts. Vfe: 170 kts.

Vref @ 30 degrees: 102 kts. Vfe: 150 kts.

Vref @ 45 degrees: 093 kts. [Emergency Only] Vfe: 130 kts. [Emergency Only]

 

When one compares the statistics for the 42 series versus the 72 series, it become quite evident how similar these two aircraft handle. With the various sources of information that I was able to access, there does not appear to be much difference in the numerous V speeds for the two aircraft. Given the increased use of lighter weight composite material in the –500 series, and the tremendous commonality which exists between the two models, this would make some sense. In the flight simulation world, there doesn’t seem to be much difference in flying either model. However, I must admit that these numbers are handicapped by the fact that I have much more detailed performance data on the 42 series than the 72 aircraft.

 

THE FUTURE OUTLOOK FOR THE ATR 42 & 72 SERIES AIRCRAFT:

One is immediately impressed by the ATR Publicity Department’s presentation of their fine aircraft. Their brochure is entitled "The Regional Way to Profitability" . Just to let you know they have something to back up their hype, they begin by sharing some eye opening statistics. At the end of 1999, there were a total of 3976 regional aircraft operating in the 20 to 99 seat segment of current airline fleets. Turboprops still constitute the back bone of those fleets. Their 3288 aircraft represent 83% of the total worldwide fleet.

Of the routes serviced by these regional carriers, only 12% of the turboprop routes of 260nm in length are directly threatened by regional jets. 74% of the turboprop routes are less than 175nm in length, where the use of jets makes no economic sense. In such an environment, ATR is firmly the number one source of aircraft in the 40 to 70 seat segment. They hold a whopping 67% of the market share.

In the 2000 Air Finance Journal’s poll of operators and investors, concerning turboprops, the ATR 72 ranked number one in residual value, investor appeal and value for money. Its stable mate, the ATR 42 scored number two in the same poll. Both of these aircraft have placed first and second for two consecutive years now. The consortium’s future looks bright indeed, as they plan to continue to be the prime supplier of quality turboprop aircraft to the industry.

To give you a feel for the dominance this company exerts in current orders, a comparison was made between the ATR 72 and the DeHavilland Dash 8-400. As of January 2001, overall market firm orders for these similar products stood at 82% of demand for ATR and 18% for the DeHavilland people. This consortium has also demonstrated a strong response in the second hand market. There have been more than 160 used aircraft transactions in the past five years.

Besides offering a quality product with low maintenance and supply cost, enormous versatility, and ease of cross-crew transitioning, the ATR products are the most fuel efficient aircraft in their categories. When you factor in the weight of the vehicle and passengers carried, the 72 series fuel efficiency is 11% lower than a typical European automobile and 60% lower than your typical 70 seat regional jet. Those are some astounding numbers, particularly in this age of varying fuel costs!

On the down side of their history, American Eagle lost an ATR 72-212 on October 31, 1994 at Roselawn, Indiana. The ship, N401AM, lost control while descending in a right handed turn from a 10,000 foot holding pattern to a newly assigned altitude of 8000 feet. The crew was momentarily able to right the ship, but it again dropped off into an inverted position until it impacted the ground. The event with its 68 fatalities proved to be a severe financial hit to ATR’s US market. American Eagle had been one of their largest users with over 100 airframes on order. The FAA attributed the crash to icing conditions which induced an aerodynamic aileron lock up. Although extensive post crash testing at Edwards AFB failed to reproduce the conditions of another lock up, the American public’s growing fear of flying on turboprop aircraft doomed extensive additional sales in this country. Some analysts have concluded that the American Eagle accident was the single most important impetus in the following high sales of regional jets to assume previous turboprop routes.

The most current data available places the average fleet age of the ATR 42 at 11 years and for the ATR 72 it is 7 years.

 

THE ATR FAMILY SERIES OF AIRCRAFT IN THE FLIGHT SIMULATION WORLD:

The ATR products have long been a favorite of mine. In the early days of St. Paul Airlines VA, we had a slightly different aircraft assignment structure which gave me the opportunity to log 88.6 hours on the ATR 72-210. Its good looks (from my personal perspective) and ease of handling quickly made a positive impression on me.

Again, in my personal opinion, the two finest sources of ATR aircraft on the net are found at the web sites for the International Aircraft Design Group www.flightsimnetwork.com/IADG/ , and the Allied FS Group www.AlliedFSGroup.com . Both of these organizations are a ready source of visually and aeronautically outstanding models to work with. At the moment, there are no six bladed 72-500 aircraft out there for FS2K. Hopefully, someone will design and post one in the near future. Until then, you will have to use your imagination. Once you have fired up those two fans, you can’t see the prop difference anyway.

It is a different story in FS98, Liam Conlan, www.liamconlan.com has produced an authentic looking 72-500 series aircraft with their signature six bladed props. His –500 versions are painted in the ATR House Colors and in American Eagle markings which also celebrates the 500th ATR aircraft to be delivered. There is also a 72-212 in Atlantic Southeast Airlines markings and and a 72-202 in Trans World Express colors.

In addition to the available aircraft, I would highly recommend several other quality resources that you can download from a variety of flight sim sites. The first is the freeware Flight Dynamics Editor V1.2.0.14. to make the proper internal tweaking necessary for appropriate fuel loads and flap settings. This holds true for both the FS98 and FS2K aircraft. The second comes from Patrick Saint-Dizier of Toulouse, France. He has worked up excellent FDEs for both the ATR 42-500 and the 72-500 series aircraft. This material can easily be added to any of your ATR aircraft. And thirdly, the Pilot Series Checklist Part IV Full Version for FS2K on the ATR 72-200 compiled by Chris van Bijlert from the Netherlands. Often, these aircraft come with ATR cockpits as part of their zip package or you can place your favorite twin turbo office in there instead. I hope you enjoy flying these wonderful birds as much as I do.

 

A special note of thanks to several identifiable sources which provided excellent, detailed data necessary to produce a document like this:

Former Army Aviator and Retired Airline Captain Jerry Allen for taking the time to answer many questions and describe the usual flight profiles used with turbo prop aircraft of this class.

Matt Zagoren for his extensive Flight Operations Page Data on the ATR 42-300/320 aircraft which came from avsim.com

Christopher Susie who prepared an excellent ATR 42-300 handbook which can be found in the UND ATR 42 download from Flightsim.com As a student in their aviation program in North Dakota, he put together data which I had long been looking for on the net.

The ATR website for their "info-mercials" on their products.

To www.airliners.net for their incredible source of quality aircraft photos and historical data.

LEGAL STUFF:

I acknowledge that this research is a document "in process", that inadvertent errors certainly can exist within it. My research method included scouring the net for any ATR information out there and flying various models in FS2K to get flight sim numbers. Once gathered, it became a process of comparing the wide range of figures offered by different sources and then trying to find where reality fit into it all.

I further acknowledge that I have not, to the best of my knowledge, infringed upon copyrighted material. If I have, and you can identify it for me, I will gladly make note of it to provide proper credits for other people’s work. I would also appreciate it if anyone has more accurate data about these aircraft to share it with me so that a more complete picture can be made available to all. My email address is glhorton@tcinternet.net

 

Gary L. Horton

 

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