Featured image: De Havilland Canada

6/20/1983: Maiden Flight of the Venerable Dash 8

DALLAS — Today, in 1983, The prototype De Havilland Canada (DHC), Dash 8-100 (C-GDNK), operated its maiden flight.

Development of the type began in the 1970s. After market research, DHC envisaged considerable demand for a new 30 to 40-seat commuter airliner, replacing types such as the Fokker F27 Friendship and its own Dash 7.

The fourth DHC-8 Dash 8-100 prototype (C-GGPJ) is seen at the Farnborough Air Show. Photo: BAe Systems

Fuel Efficiency

Building on the success of the Dash 7, DHC used the same basic layout as its predecessor but with two, rather than four, turboprop engines.

By using two engines, the Dash 8 was much more economical, becoming the most fuel-efficient regional aircraft in the world when introduced.

Following type certification in September 1984, DHC delivered the first Dash 8 to launch customer Canadian regional airline, norOntair, on October 23, 1984 (C-GJCB). This example was the sixth airframe off the production line and would remain in service until the airline ceased operations on March 29, 1996.

Flybe (BE) was once the largest operator of the Dash 8 in the world. Photo: BAe Systems


The Series 300 followed in May 1987. This was the first stretch of the airframe, giving a seating capacity of 50 to 56 passengers. The type also had new Pratt & Whitney PW123 engines.

DHC then developed the Series 200. It had the same fuselage as the -100 but with the PW123 engines of the -300. It offered a greater all-up weight and improved hot and high performance.

In 1986 de Havilland was privatized and taken over by Boeing. Boeing subsequently sold the company again in 1992 to Bombardier Aerospace.

Under the new owner’s leadership, the largest variant of the Dash 8, the Q400, was introduced in 1999. The Q stood for ‘Quiet’ after introducing a noise and vibration suppression system in 1996. All Dash 8s delivered after this time were fitted with this system.

Featured Image: The Dash 8 family became part of de Havilland again in 2019. Photo: de Havilland

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