When the idea of regional jets was first proposed, the reaction from industry experts and Wall Street analysts was quite negative. People said that regional jets would never catch on because they were too small to be effective and too big to be efficient. In reality, however, these jets ended up being an incredible success that still helps fuel the growth of many major airlines around the world today.
What are regional jets?
In an industry where jargon flies faster than jets, it can be difficult to keep up with all that aviation terminology. So before we continue, let’s make sure we’re all speaking the same language here. In short, regional jets are smaller aircraft designed for short-haul flights and runways with shortstops. As you might imagine, their size makes them far more efficient than larger planes for these types of trips; on top of that, they also help reduce emissions and noise pollution. However, because regional jets don’t have as many seats as larger commercial airliners, they aren’t able to accommodate as many passengers at once. This means that most airlines use a combination of both large and small aircraft to maintain a high level of service while still keeping costs low. But how did such a unique class of planes come about in the first place? Let’s find out!
These jets were produced at a time when airline travel was just beginning to experience a meteoric rise in popularity. This also came at a time when government deregulation allowed airlines to provide air service between cities that had previously been unprofitable. Because these planes were only used within domestic borders, they were considered regional jets and were more commonly known as RJs or RJBs (for regional jets). Their main job was transporting passengers between large metropolitan areas that required medium-range transport. As technology advanced and fuel prices rose, they began to be replaced by larger and more efficient aircraft, namely 757s and 737s. These are no longer being produced today but still, have an extensive presence on runways all across America. What is your favorite regional jet?
Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia
The Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia is a turboprop airliner that was developed and produced by Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer. Production of the EMB 120 started in 1976 and entered service with Express Air in 1977. The airliner was originally known as Pamir until it was renamed after its native country in 1989. More than 560 Brasilias have been delivered to airlines around the world, making it one of Embraer’s most successful aircraft to date. In addition to its widespread use throughout commercial aviation, many military operators utilize Brasilia for various purposes ranging from cargo transport to aerial firefighting support. Several variants have been produced over time, including 28 for head-of-state use as well as a military trainer and tanker versions.
The Bombardier CRJ100/200 is a family of regional airliners designed and built by Bombardier. The CRJ-series competes with Embraer’s ERJ, ATR series, and Sukhoi Superjet 100. Manufactured in Canada, France, China, and the United States, it is a very successful series consisting of 23 variants. The success came as a surprise to many in that they were an entirely new aircraft based on technology from an unexpected source (the de Havilland Canada Dash 8) when Embraer was expected to create their replacement for their EMB 120 Brasilia.
These jets are typically flown by major airlines and are often seen at major airports such as Los Angeles International Airport or John F. Kennedy International Airport. They are also often used for charter flights by smaller companies due to their relatively low cost compared to larger planes like Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s. They have even been seen in movies such as The Terminal starring Tom Hanks where they portray fictional plane models. As a result of its popularity among airlines, there has been talking about expanding production into larger models including replacing the Saab 340 and Fokker 50 jets which have similar ranges but less seating capacity than most regional jets.
Fokker 50 & 100
The Fokker 50 and 100 are members of a series of regional jets produced by Fokker, a Dutch aircraft manufacturer. All models were designed to be flown by one pilot, making them ideal for airline operators interested in cutting costs. The Fokker 50 and 100 are equipped with turbofan engines that allow them to accommodate up to 52 passengers; however, they can also be outfitted with larger engines if needed. (This option is especially popular among charter companies.) These regional jets seat 19 fewer people than their competitors but use significantly less fuel—they’re able to complete an average flight 1.5 hours faster than other planes on the market! This combination makes them particularly appealing to airlines looking for economical ways to offer new routes.
Other early regional jets
There were many other early entrants into what would become a profitable field. In 1985, two American manufacturers, Beechcraft and Piper, introduced their versions. Beech’s was called Jetprop and its maker claimed it could fit almost anywhere and be used to fly with operational flexibility. The Piper aircraft was called Saratoga; it was nicknamed Useless Toy by some in aviation because it had so much technical trouble before customers started flying. Both models lacked an airworthiness certificate from either Europe or the U.S., but still managed to sell more than 500 units each—and they paved the way for larger business jets that were to come in later years.
Today, most regional jets have a greater range and higher passenger capacity than those first-generation aircraft. They also have better reliability records as well as new technologies such as ground proximity warning systems (which warn pilots if they are about to crash) and digital cockpit displays (which show pilots flight information on computer screens). With a growing number of airports having noise restrictions due to increasing numbers of people living near them, many airlines have switched from older, less efficient planes to newer ones that use less fuel and make less noise during takeoff. Most new regional jets can carry between 70 and 100 passengers compared with only 30 seats on one version of the first-generation jet made by Bombardier Aerospace in Canada.
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