Twenty five year sago, on September 25, 1991, the first Jetstream 41 regional turboprop airliner took to the skies from Prestwick International Airport.
A total of 104 aircraft were built through to 1998 and around 64 of the 29-seat aircraft continue in service today with some 18 operators in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. A further 25 aircraft are currently stored, available to be returned to service. Over the life of the aircraft to date some 3.3 million cycles have been accumulated.
While most of the in-service aircraft continue to fly on airline duties, one of the largest operators has this year found new applications for the aircraft, underlining the aircraft’s flexibility for different roles.
In the UK, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has announced that it is trialling a Jetstream 41 from this month as part of a development to support its search and rescue (SAR) helicopters. The aircraft is provided by Eastern Airways (which has a fleet of 17 Jetstream 41s) on behalf of Bristow Helicopters and has a dedicated crew. The aircraft will be controlled through the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC), and will be tasked where there is a risk to life and in support of the Agency’s helicopters.
Painted in red and white HM Coastguard colours, the Jetstream 41 will be patrolling the southern and eastern seaboard of the UK.
The aim of the trial is to assess whether a fixed-wing aircraft will provide valuable additional support for the SAR helicopters. The new capability will help save lives at sea by identifying people, boats or ships in distress. The Agency states that if the trial is successful, options for permanent provision will be explored, possibly in combination with similar requirements elsewhere in Government.