MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the twin-engined, medium-range regional airliner and transporter aircraft, the CN-235 took to the skies for the first time in 1983. After testing the aircraft was certified in 1986 and entered service on March 1, 1988.
The aircraft was a joint venture between the Spanish manufacturer Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (or CASA for short) and the Indonesian plane maker IPTN. Both parties subsequently formed Airtech International to oversee the program.
However, this partnership only covered the series 10 and 100/110 with subsequent variants developed individually.
Although the CN-235 was initially developed for a military role it did enjoy some limited success as a passenger airliner. Spanish flag-carrier Iberia (IB) ordered a total of nine examples to be used by its Binter Canarias (NT) and Binter Mediterraneo (AX) subsidiaries. The type would serve with the carriers from 1989 until being replaced by the ATR-72 in 1997.
Other notable passenger carriers who used the type included the Argentinian carrier Austral Lines Aéreas Córdoba-based subsidiary Inter Austral (AU) and Merpati Nusantara Airlines (MZ) of Indonesia. The latter was the largest civilian operator of the type and at one time had 15 in its fleet
However, it was in its military role that the CN-235 has found the most success. The type has been used as a surveillance aircraft, a personnel transport, and for maritime patrol. The biggest user of the type is Turkey, which utilizes 59 CN-235s within its Army, Air Force and Navy.
Featured image: Madagascan charter carrier Tiko Air operated a single CN-235 until June 2006. (Photo: Bob Adams from George, South Africa, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)