A leader in the passenger turboprop segment, ATR has announced the launch of a new version of the aircraft for short takeoffs and landings. Designated as ATR 42-600S (Short), the aircraft will be able to operate on runways that are only 800 meters long.
The STOL version will have the best performance in its class, surpassing the old Q200, smaller variant of the Dash 8 turboprop, which is no longer produced. The Canadian aircraft could take off from 1,000-meter runways and land in just 780 meters, following the company’s tradition of landing and short takeoff aircraft.
But if the Q200 offered this performance with 35 passengers on board, the ATR 42-600S could carry 40 people within 200 nautical miles (370 km).
To achieve this performance, ATR will make minor turboprop changes. The main change is to increase the ruder area to allow better control of the aircraft at low speeds. While maintaining the same engine power as other versions, pilots will be able to choose two power modes, one for STOL operations and one for prioritizing efficiency.
ATR will also alter the operation of spoilers so that they act symmetrically to increase the efficiency of landing brakes – the aircraft will also have an automatic braking system to operate from the moment of contact with the ground.
The planemaker expects to certify the ATR 42-600S in the second half of 2022 and already has 20 purchase commitments, including lessor Elix Aviation Capital and airline Air Tahiti.
But the manufacturer sees huge potential for the new turboprop, which could expand the market by 25% by allowing commercial flights at about 500 small airports around the world. Not bad for a plane that came out almost 40 years ago and has since dominated the segment.