MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the prototype British Aerospace (BAe) Jetstream 41 (G-GCJL) took to the skies for the first time from Prestwick (PIK) in 1991.
The Jetstream 41 (J41) was an evolution of the Jetstream 31, which had taken to the skies on March 28, 1980. Sales of this 19-seat airliner surpassed 360, making the type one of the most successful small regional commuter aircraft in the world.
Rival firms were already developing their own larger turboprops such as the Saab 340, Dornier 328 and Embraer Brasilia. To compete, BAe decided to bring its own design to the table and planned to develop the aircraft in just 28 months.
A Complete Redesign
The J41 was a complete redesign, with a 16 foot (4.88m) plug added to the fuselage. It had a greater wingspan than its predecessor with revised ailerons and flaps and accommodation for 29 passengers. The feeder-liner is powered by a pair of five-blade Allied Signal TPE331-14 engines.
Certification occurred on November 23, 1992, in Europe and April 9, 1993, in the United States. The J41 entered service with Manx Airlines (JE) on November 25, 1992. Today Eastern Airways (T3) remains the largest operator. Pre COVID-19 the Humberside-based carrier was operating 14 of the type.
BAe looked at developing further variants of the Jetstream family, including the Jetstream 51 and 71. The BAe ATP was also relaunched as the Jetstream 61, although the project was scrapped before any aircraft were built.
Featured image: Eastern Airways is the largest operator of the J41 and has flown 24 examples over the years. (Photo: BAe Systems)