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Fairchild-Dornier 328 TP (Turboprop)

The Fairchild Dornier 328 turboprop was designed by Fairchild Dornier, a division of Fairchild Aerospace, at the company's facility in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. It entered service in 1993 and established itself as the premier turboprop in the 30-seat class. The Fairchild Dornier 328 turboprop was designed by Fairchild Dornier, a division of Fairchild Aerospace, at the company's facility in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. It entered service in 1993 and established itself as the premier turboprop in the 30-seat class. The aircraft is technically good, with a good safety record, but the 328 program was troubled from the start, coming late to market and then selling in disappointlingly small numbers (about 110 turboprops and about 83 jets).

Aircraft have carried the name of aviation pioneer Claude Dornier since 1915. Dornier's legendary Do Wal and Do X flying boats, the high-performance Do 17 medium bomber, and the highest performance piston fighter of World War II, the Do 335 - were all hailed as groundbreaking designs. Commercial Dornier aircraft formed the backbone of the Lufthansa fleet during the airline's early years. In the '50s, the name Dornier was closely linked to the rebuilding of the German aircraft manufacturing industry. Innovative technology continued to be the hallmark of Dornier aircraft. In the 1960s, the Do 31 - the world's only vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft - was developed.

In the 1980s, the company developed the Dornier 228. The Dornier 228 is a 12- to 14-seat capacity twin-engine turboprop aircraft of German origin. The Dornier 228 is the only modern twinengine STOL aircraft that can operate on short runways. The modern and fuel efficient Dornier 228 surpassed the venerable Twin Otter aircraft in speed and fuel economy.

The Do-228 was followed by one of the fastest and quietest turboprops in the world - the 328. By 1988 the Daimler-Benz management probably regreted the takeover of Dornier in 1985, which had drawn the prosperous automobile maker into the turbulence and pitfalls of the highly political and unpredictable international aerospace scene. By early 1988 pressure was building regarding Governmental support for the Dornier Do.328 commuter aircraft. Modest DM220 million R&D funds were requested from the Government in early 1987. These had not been granted, even though repayment on schedule was virtually assured by Dornier's excellent position in the commuter aircraft market. It was implied that the funds may be forthcoming as soon as Daimler-Benz decided favorably on the MBB takeover. All of this hurt the Mercedes producer badly, and was viewed by many as coarse Governmental prodding. "Mercedes should not become the milking cow of the Federal Government". Daimler-Benz chairman Edzard Reuter reportedly said: "If the Government is not willing to support the Do.328, then Mercedes will finance the venture out of its own resources".

The DO-328 was the fastest turboprop regional plane. The 328's new fuselage allowed for comfortable 3-abreast seating, with the potential for a 4-abreast configuration. Combined with the supercritical wing developed from the Dornier Do 228, thee 328 had excellent cruise and climb capabilities. However, the 328 entered a market crowded with other competing turboprop aircraft at the time, as well as increasing competition from new regional jets in the early 1990s.

From an engineering point of view this was brilliant, but the development costs eventually drove Dornier into bankruptcy. Even though the Dornier 328 turboprop was the best turboprop in its class, the market was changing. Passenger preference for jets was growing along with the market demand for regional jets. Thus came the birth of the 328Jet. By 2005 the largest operator was Hainan Airlines of the People's Republic of China. The largest US operator of the type parked its fleet of 328 Jets.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) second dedicated search and rescue aircraft, the Dornier 328 turbo-prop, Nemo 2, was commissioned in Perth on 17 August 2006. The dedicated search and rescue service for Western Australia is part of the $74 million funding package announced by the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, in the 2004 and 2005 Budgets to strengthen AMSA's search and rescue capability around Australia.

The twin turbine engine Dornier 328 is fitted with the latest technology including Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) camera system, satellite communications and direction finding equipment to detect and home in on emergency beacon transmissions and radio distress calls, and by the end of the year surface search radar. Life rafts and other emergency equipment can be deployed from the Dornier to people in emergencies. The Dornier is capable of operating at speeds in excess of 600 kilometres per hour, in all weather conditions and will be ready to respond to an emergency within 30 minutes.

The Dornier is operated by AeroRescue Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of the Paspaley Group, who won the contracts to provide five aircraft for search and rescue services at strategic locations around the Australian coastline. AeroRescue already provides the dedicated search and rescue Dornier aircraft (Nemo 1) for AMSA in Darwin. The other three search and rescue aircraft are to be progressively introduced at Cairns in October 2006, Melbourne in December 2006 and Brisbane in February 2007. The Dornier is an important part of AMSA's multi-disciplinary approach to maritime and aviation Emergency Response Division and will be available under a whole of Government approach to other agencies.








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