British Aerospace BAe 146-300 s/n 3213 VH-NJL

Short Haul Regional Jet Airliner


History of VH-NJL

This aircraft was manufactured in 1992, and was first flown on 21 July of that year.  After some time in storage it was registered as G-BVPE on 25 July 1994, registered to British Aerospace (Operations) Ltd.  The aircraft was leased to National Jet Systems Australia in October 1994, and was registered on the Australian register as VH-NJL.  It was flown to Australia arriving in Adelaide on 30 October 1994.

VH-NJL was operated by National Jet Systems on behalf of QANTAS Airlink on regional services in South Australia and Western Australia until 2006 and then by National Jet Systems as the registered operator.  National Jet Systems was renamed Cobham Aviation Services in 2009, and VH-NJL was re-painted in the new livery in February of that year.  It continued operations with Cobham until retirement in May 2017.  Cobham continues to use BAe 146 in its network of operations.

Cobham donated the forward fuselage of VH-NJL, including the cockpit and three rows of passenger seats, to SAAM in May 2018.  The aircraft is currently on display in the main hangar, and will be developed as an interactive display with access to the interior.


History of Type

The BAe 146 family of airliners was first announced by Hawker Siddeley Aviation  in August 1973 as the HS-146 short range airliner, however economic conditions and the oil crisis of that time delayed the official launch until 1978, by which time Hawker Siddeley had become British Aerospace.  It was to be a high wing ‘quiet’ airliner powered by four small turbofans.

The initial model, the BAe 146-100, first flew in September 1981 and certification followed in early 1983, with first deliveries in May 1983. Passenger capacity in the -100 was 70 to 94 depending on seat configuration.  A stretched version , the BAe 146-200 first flew in August 1982, the extra 2.39m length providing capacity for 85 to 112 passengers.  A further stretch of 2.3m created the BAe-146-300 which had a capacity for 100 to 128 passengers.

An upgraded series known as the Avro RJ was offered in 1990, these being optimised as regional jets and were known as the RJ70, RJ85 and RJ100.  Production of the BAe 146 ended in 1993, with the Avro RJ ceasing production in 2003.

The BAe 146 has been Britain’s most successful jet airliner design with some 390 examples built – it had a low external noise footprint, and was easily convertible to carry freight.  In Australia the BAe 146 was operated by Ansett, QANTAS Air Link / QANTASLink, Ausralian Airlink, EastWest Airlines, TNT and National Jet / Cobham Aviation Services, and a number are still operational.


Technical Specifications

Engine :     4 x Textron Lycoming LF 507-1H turbo fans with 31.0kN (6970lbs) thrust

Maximum Take-off Weight :  44,225kg

Length :  30.99m

Wingspan :  26.21m

Height :  8.61m

Cruising Speed :  426kt  (790km/h)

Ceiling :  10,000m (33,000ft)

Capacity :  100 passengers at 5 abreast  (maximum 128 at 6 abreast)

Range :  1,600km

Crew :  2