DALLAS – Today in Aviation, the Saab 2000 prototype first took flight in 1992. At the controls were pilots Eric Sjöberg and Lennart Nordh. Flight test engineers were Sture Rodling and Anders Bergstrand.
Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab Scania had already found success in the regional turboprop market with its 340 airliner. Saab considered creating a larger and faster variant, seen as meeting the demand of the 50-seat market.
Using the new state-of-the-art three-dimensional computer-aided interactive application, computer-aided design or CATIA CAD for short, the development of the Saab 2000 was well ahead of its time.
Problems with the powerful Allison GMA 2100 turboprops caused many delays to the program. Certification was finally granted in March 1994.
However, its engines also gave huge thrust to the Saab 2000. This allowed the type to become one of the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world, with a maximum cruise speed of 682 km/h (368 kt) . It remains about 100 km/h higher than competing models such as the ATR-42, Fokker 50 and Dash-8-300.
Swiss regional carrier Crossair (LX) received its first machine (HB-IZC) on August 30, 1994. The airline became the largest operator of the type flying 34 examples. LX was so impressed with the Saab 2000 that he nicknamed it “Concordino”, emphasizing the impressive performance of this type.
Unfortunately, the type was not as successful as Saab had hoped. Competition from regional jets such as the Embraer and Canadair regional jets led to the end of the program in 1999. Saab delivered the last example (HB-IYH) to LX on April 29, 1999.
Featured image: The Saab 2000 prototype. Photo: Ken Fielding/https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenfielding, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons