Early this year we broke the news that Bombardier, in cooperation with Canada-based Air Inuit, was launching a large-door passenger-to-freighter conversion program for the Q300 turboprop. At that time, Bombardier said: “In support of this conversion, a new Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) will be developed under license by a specialized third party entity.”
Seven months later, B/E Aerospace has emerged as the “third party,” and has taken over the lead role in the program, with the engineering to be done by the company’s Canadian arm, headquartered in Winnipeg.
Air Inuit, which serves remote communities and mining operations in Northern Canada, developed its own small-door Q300 conversion several years ago, and converted two of its ten Q300 passenger aircraft. Air Inuit did have one large-door freighter – an aging Hawker-Siddeley HS-748 – but, facing increasing demand for shipment of oversized cargo, such as snowmobiles, mine equipment, and generators, the carrier began working with Bombardier and B/E to develop a large-door version of the Q300.
As things now stand, the program is well underway, with a three-unit launch order from Air Inuit. B/E will do the engineering, using Bombardier’s OEM data, and provide three complete kits (with Ancra providing the cargo loading system), while Air Inuit will provide the touch labor on the conversions through its own MRO facility. First flight is expected in late 2017.
The goal, of course, is more than just three freighters for one Canadian airline. B/E, which will own the STCs, plans to offer the Q300 in four configurations, with the large-door and small-door versions available in both palletized and bulk-load variants, and the Q300, with its high wing and T-tail, is capable of operating on gravel airstrips.
Payload will be between 5.5 and 6.5 tonnes depending on the exact configuration (see chart at right).
- The large cargo door will offer an opening of 274 x 173 cm (108 x 68 inches).
- The Ancra cargo loading system accommodates up to nine 46” x 66” pallets, with palletized cargo volume of 20.6 cubic meters (730 cu ft).
To learn more about the Q300 large-door conversion program, join us at the Cargo Facts Symposium in Miami next week, where executives from both B/E Aerospace and Bombardier will be present. To register, go to CargoFactsSymposium.com.