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Tesla
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Posts: 186
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:27 pm

Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Background: In over 30 years of traveling to Long Island, I never really thought of flying there, even though it is so inconvenient to drive or take the train. This year, though, I was going to be right in the vicinity of ISP Long Island MacArthur Airport. I found out that American Eagle, operated by Piedmont Airlines, serves the ISP-PHL route. The operating equipment was due to be the Dash 8-100. I'd never flown on any Dash 8 before, so it cought my interest. In searching for advice on the best seats, I read that the Dash 8-100 was soon to be retired from service in American Eagle colors. Convenience and a new aircraft type, in fact my first turboprop, and the price was right, too. Sign me up!

It turns out that the Dash 8-300, also operated by Piedmont for American Eagle, and another new type for me, is also due for retirement. I researched its routes and found one for later in the year which worked perfectly for my return trip from Georgia: Instead of flying ATL-PHL, I decided to fly AGS-CLT-PHL with the Augusta-Charlotte segment on the Dash 8-300. The Charlotte-Philadelphia segment was scheduled to be the A330-200. Another good price for my first flight on the Dash 8-300 before it's withdrawn, and the connection on a domestic widebody. Sign me up!

Finally, my return PHL-ISP for Christmas with family was again to be operated by Piedmont for American Eagle, but by this time, the Dash 8-100 currently serving the route would already be enjoying its retirement. Instead the operating equipment was to be the E145. Piedmont is switching to an all-jet fleet of E145's. I've flown on an E145 before, but not with Piedmont. Skipping the holiday traffic and unexpectedly flying all of the types in Piedmont's fleet? Sign me up!

Flying all three types in the fleet would mean Piedmont is not only the operator with whom I've flown all the types in the fleet, but also the highest number of types in the fleet. Please enjoy the reports, and I look forward to your comments.

ISP-PHL
AA 4850 operated by Piedmont for American Eagle
Departure: 18:09 (actual 18:09)
Arrival: 19:18 (actual 19:15)
Actual Block Time: 1h6
Actual Flight Time: 0h53
Dash 8-100

My first Piedmont experience began by being dropped off at ISP Long Island MacArthur Airport, a new airport for me.

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The only passenger in the check-in area, I enjoyed an in-person check-in and was given a cardstock boarding pass. The agent explained how to reach the gate. Security did not offer Precheck, no surprise there, but there was no line, either. After the quick security, I was airside by 16:50. Boarding was set for 17:39, and departure for 18:09. As I headed to the gate, I saw the Long Ireland Pumpkin Ale advertised on draft at Maggie O'Shea's Irish pub in the terminal. I decided to stop for a quick beer. This was not a busy airport at all; it's so nice to fly out of airports like this. With 50 minutes till boarding, with the terminal not crowded, in no rush, I might as well stop for a local seasonal beer. With more than 30 years coming to Long Island, and my first time flying, so far it sure seems like you can't beat this. I was happy to be flying today, especially given that my aircraft is the new-to-me Dash 8-100, first time on this aircraft, and it's soon to be retired, too. I was looking forward to an easy 1h flight to Philly on this new prop plane. After my beer, I headed to Gate A1L.

ISP Long Island MacArthur Airport:

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N975HA, a Dash 8-100 in US Airways Express colors, had the distinction of being my first turboprop. N975HA was built by De Havilland Canada in 1989. It was a very small plane, very fun to fly in major airline colors. I was happy to see my small plane, the smallest I've flown in major airline service, with a capacity of only 37 passengers. I was excited to begin my flight experience today.

On-stand in ISP:

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There was not much seating at the gate, seeing as how the gate was pretty much right off of the corridor. I decided to just form the line for boarding, to be among the first onboard. I got on line in the Group 5-9 queue. I had Group 5 as a credit card holder benefit. Groups 1-4 were all considered Priority. This is the new AA boarding group order. With only 10 minutes until boarding, the plane already appeared prepared. The gate agent began passing out gate-check tags for passengers with larger carry-on bags. At 17:51 boarding began with Concierge Key, then Group 1, military in uniform, Groups 2, 3, 4, and then me with Group 5. At this gate you simply walk outside and up the stairs into the plane.

During boarding:

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I got onboard to find a very small plane with only 9 rows of seats. The configuration was 2-2 seating, except for the last row which had 5 seats all the way across. I noticed row 1, the forward exit row, had above average legroom. I found my seat, 7A, and my seat mate arrived shortly. I found decent legroom; my knees weren't hitting the seatback in front, and there was plenty of room overhead for my bag. In fact, it was pretty comfortable. The seat anchor was adjacent to wall, which limited footroom, but it was not really a problem for this small plane. As I settled in, I noticed the windows had no window shades! And then I noticed the seats offered no recline! Recline is not really needed for such a short flight, and I thought the seat was comfortable enough as is.

Seats 7AB:

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Legroom shot:

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Safety card:

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Overhead panel:

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The flight deck announced that we were not expecting any delays into Philadelphia; the flight would be at 12,000 ft. The flight attendant welcomed us aboard, only one flight attendant on this plane, and in less than fifteen minutes, boarding was already complete. Our load today was 32/37. The flight attendant visited the exit row, three rows ahead of me, to go over the exit row regulations. Devices were to be placed in airplane mode, and the flight attendant performed the safety briefing.

The views from 7A:

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Pushback was on-time at 18:09. Our flying time was to be 50 minutes. The engines started. "Good evening from the flight deck, we are number one for takeoff!" Our takeoff was from 33L at 18:14; it got pretty loud, there was not too much pushback into the seat, but a short takeoff roll into the Long Island sky. Climbout was pretty noisy and featured a lot of vibration, too. Not unexpected in the slightest. It was not too deafening, but a good degree of noise, like sitting in the back of an MD80. Our climb was not too rapid, pretty gradual in fact, almost seemed like we weren't even climbing.

Climbing over Long Island:

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10,000 ft was reached in good time, followed by an announcement from the flight attendant about inflight service, featuring beverage service with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. "Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight." We proceeded out over the Atlantic Ocean. Having flown both LGA-PHL and JFK-PHL, two similar routes which did not offer any service, I had not been expecting any service on ISP-PHL, either. That's a pleasant surprise.

Passengers were treated to pretty consistent vibration, much more than a jet, but really not bad in my opinion. The noise was not so bad, either. I'm not of the opinion that a flight needs to be so quiet, anyway. So far the Dash 8-100 was making for quite an enjoyable flight. The captain announced that we'd reached cruising altitude of 12,000 ft; our route to Philadelphia was smooth, so the seatbelt sign was switched off. We had 40 minutes left in flight.

Service began front-to-back. Snacks on offer were either pretzels or Biscoff cookies. I asked for a water, which was served from a tray. Despite being standard American inflight service, I was impressed due to it not being expected.

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As I enjoyed my snack I realized I was a bit surprised that it'd taken me so long to fly on a prop plane in major airline colors. And now they're being withdrawn from service! That's too bad, because I really feel it's fitting to have such a plane on such a route as ISP-PHL. Anyway, they can't even fill up this small prop plane, there's clearly no need for a larger regional jet!

Flying over the Atlantic:

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As the flight continued, I was particularly enjoying the loud prop noise. It was definitely my loudest flight besides the back of an MD80. I thought it was unique and fun.

We made landfall over Beach Haven on LBI, and cabin lights were switched back on. The captain announced that we now had 15 minutes to go in flight. The temperature was 72 degrees, and we were to park at F21. The seatbelt sign was switched back on. The flight attendant announcement said to put away larger devices, and reminded that smaller devices need to be in airplane mode. "Familiarize yourself again with the location of the exits."

Beach Haven:

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The Garden State Parkway over the Mullica River:

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We were getting lower as we descended over NJ in the westbound direction. I watched the gear go down as we approached the Delaware River. It seemed like we would be landing perpendicularly across the river. Nice, I had been wondering if we'd use that runway. It would be my first time using the regional runway, 35. Landing was at 19:07. Engine 1 was shut down, for taxi only on engine 2. We arrived on stand F21 at 19:15 for my first time going into PHL Terminal F. As I deboarded I found most passengers waiting plane side for their gate checked bags.

On-stand in PHL:

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I took the 19:39 Septa train to Center City. It was my first time using the new automated fare machines to purchase a ticket. Septa, which used to have no automated machines whatsoever, is slowly introducing them, and the first installations are at the airport stations, but only for rides originating at the airport. I'm happy they are finally offering fare machines at the airport for the pre-purchase price of $6.75. The onboard price is $9.00!

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I had enjoyed this flight very much. It was by far the most convenient way to access Long Island. I was sad that the smallest Dash 8, the Dash 8-100, was retiring so soon, but happy to have had the opportunity to fly on it before it's too late. I was very much looking forward to my Dash 8-300 experience coming up in 2 months' time.
 
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Tesla
Topic Author
Posts: 186
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

Re: Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:27 pm

AGS-CLT
AA 4822 operated by Piedmont for American Eagle
Departure: 16:09 (actual 18:38)
Arrival: 17:23 (actual 19:30)
Actual Block Time: 0h52
Actual Flight Time: 0h41
Dash 8-300

I arrived to Augusta Regional Airport and found no lines; I quickly completed an in-person check-in, checked through AGS-CLT-PHL. The 12:50 departure preceding my flight was showing a 2h delay, but my flight was showing as on-time. I was happy to be trying out another new small airport; they're so pleasant to fly out of. AGS is served by Delta Connection and American Eagle as one of their few remaining Dash 8-300 routes...the reason for me choosing this itinerary! It would be my first flight on the Dash 8-300 before they're withdrawn, and then connecting to a domestic widebody, American's A332 to Philly - a very good itinerary. The airport even had nice outdoor seating in two courtyards, so I took advantage of that along with the free airport WiFi while I waited.

The AA flight information display at the gate for my flight counted down the boarding time all the way to boarding, then abruptly changed to a 2h delay. The incoming plane, AA 4822 CLT-AGS, also had a 2h delay, and had naturally not yet left CLT. AA boarding countdown minute-by-minute is very silly. As soon as the 2h delay posted, everyone in the gate area got in line to see the agent because they would be missing their connections. AA 4822 had shown historical data on the AA website of only around a 50% on-time record, so I had booked a long connection of 3h as opposed to the first available connection of only 1h. Apparently no one else had reviewed the on-time performance data. I was the only one who didn't need to see an agent!

Our new time of departure was to be 18:05 instead of the originally-scheduled 16:09, and our arrival into Charlotte was to be 19:19 instead of 17:23. My flight to Philly was to begin boarding at 19:50 for departure at 20:20. The reason for the delay was not the weather as expected, but a prior maintenance delay. In any case I was glad I had chosen the long layover. Meanwhile Delta Connection was showing all flights as cancelled for the rest of the day. This was December 17, 2017, the day of the blackout in the Atlanta Airport! Had I not chosen AGS-CLT-PHL to fly on the Dash 8-300 today, my itinerary would have been ATL-PHL, and I would have been screwed and stuck in ATL due to the power outage. I really do have good travel luck.

1.5h later, our delay was updated to show an 18:35 departure and 19:49 arrival, that's right at my next flight's boarding time. Fortunately the actual time in flight is closer to 40 minutes rather than the 1h14 scheduled. Also fortunately the inbound plane was on the way and due to arrive AGS at 18:06. The end to my delay was in sight.

My aircraft, N331EN, arrived right at 18:06. N331EN is a Dash 8-300 built in 1991, who previously flew for Air Wisconsin as N430AW, Atlantic Coast Airlines with the same registration, Shuttle America as N806SA, and finally Piedmont Airlines. Boarding was called at 18:20 with all groups. I headed out the door, down the ramp, and into the stairs into the plane.

On-Stand in AGS:

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I found pretty much the same configuration as on the Dash 8-100 a few months ago, except more rows of seats this time, and only sets of two seats, no five-seats-across in the back. They were the same seats, offering the same legroom and decor. And again no window shades. I had a similar view of the cabin ahead, but there were more rows behind me this time, and despite being in Seat 7A both times, I was seated just a little forward with respect to the engine this time, since the wing was farther back on the Dash 8-300. Boarding completed within eight minutes, and the flight attendant offered people to opportunity to relocate seats, since there were approximately a third of the seats empty. I was looking forward to beginning this prop plane flight, to conclude my year of prop planes despite the stress of a long delay.

Legroom Shot - same as on the Dash 8-100 two months prior:

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Safety Card:

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Cabin Overview:

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Engines were started on-stand as a manual safety demo was conducted to a to read script. At 18:38 we pulled away from the terminal area, expecting a short 35-minute flight once airborne. "From the flight deck, we're number 1 for departure!"

During taxi:

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Takeoff was at 18:41; we taxied right into the runway, with a rolling start and then increasing thrust with very loud vibrating sound, which heightened the sense of speed nicely. It was a quick takeoff roll and we're off, with very good vibration on climbout.

My last view before the clouds:

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As we reached 10,000ft an announcement advised that there was not enough time for the usual beverage service, but the flight attendant will come through the cabin offering water. The loud noise and vibration continued at cruise, but perhaps less deafening than during climb. There's no forgetting it's a prop flight though.

With 15 of our 35 minutes in flight already done, the flight attendant went to the back to prepare a tray of cups of ice water which she then offered beginning at the front. I happily accepted, appreciating at least some inflight service, and with less than 20 minutes left, understanding the lack of time for a full service. There were more passengers on the Dash 8-300 to serve than on the Dash 8-100, after all.

With service complete, the flight attendant began collecting trash, and it feelt like we'd already begun initial decent. The captain announced that we were 32 miles from Charlotte, and the weather was light rain and 52 degrees. We should be on the ground in 15 minutes, and will be parking at E35.

Landing was at 19:22 and we parked on-stand at Gate E35 at 19:30.

On-stand in CLT:

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I took a brisk walk to Gate D11 for my A332 flight to Philly, getting there five minutes before the stated boarding time. My A332 today was N289AY. That means it was my third time ever repeating a registration number! I'd previously flown PHL-MIA on N289AY in July 2016.

Second time flying on N289AY:

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I was very happy to have chosen Piedmont out of Augusta, considering the new-to-me aircraft, but even more so, the problems in Atlanta that I avoided and the long layover I'd chosen which got me safely to my connection. And later in the week I'd complete the Piedmont fleet with the E145 PHL-ISP.
 
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Tesla
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Posts: 186
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

Re: Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:28 pm

PHL-ISP
AA 4864 operated by Piedmont for American Eagle
Departure: 20:50 (actual 20:49)
Arrival: 21:53 (actual 21:38)
Actual Block Time: 0h49
Actual Flight Time: 0h35
E145

While an E145 flight is perhaps not typically something special, in today's case, I was looking forward to it, to compare to the Dash 8-100 on which I flew the same route before, as well as to complete the Piedmont fleet. I'm somewhat disappointed the unique Dash 8 prop planes are no longer in use here in PHL, seeing as how 2017 was my year of prop planes, and they really made a lot of sense on a route such as PHL-ISP. Well now the Dash 8-100 is retired from Piedmont, who will soon be retiring the Dash 8-300 as well, as they transition to a jet fleet made up of the E145. Delta already has no prop planes in its regional fleet, and now American is close to that as well. I was curious to see any difference in service between the prop last time and the jet this time, assuming the jet will make for a shorter flight time.

I parked my car at my usual off-airport parking, Preflight. Even though my flight today was going out of Terminal F, the regional terminal, I had the shuttle drop me off at American Airlines Terminal B to avail myself of the curbside check-in for the first time ever. My desire for the traditional AA cardstock boarding pass, combined with the difficulty in obtaining it in the pre-merger US Airways hub of PHL with its emphasis on self-service kiosks, led me to try out curbside check-in. I enjoyed it very much, a luxury better than even First Class check-in. It was well worth the tip to the agent. I proceeded indoors to Terminal C Precheck; I was literally the only one in line. I thought the Friday before Christmas was supposed to be a very busy travel day? I walked all the way to Terminal F, continued down most of the length of the concourse to Gate F26, passing pretty much nothing but American Eagle E145's. It was quite a change from US Express which did not have any E145's, instead using Dash 8 prop planes and the CRJ. Then US Express transitioned to American Eagle, but with essentially the same planes, plus the introduction of the E145. And now with the retirement of the Dash 8 prop planes and the removal of the CRJ-200, it's transitioned to mainly the E145 along with the CRJ-700 and -900. I got to my gate at 19:35. Boarding was set for 20:20 and departure for 20:50. I had only just sat down as my aircraft, N665BC, pulled into the gate. N665BC is an Embraer E145 built in 2004.

At the gate in PHL:

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I have flown on an E145 a few times before, and for a small regional jet, I do enjoy the 1-2 seating. I was looking forward to my flight today less for the flight itself than for the ease of getting to Long Island without driving. After 30 years of visiting family in Long Island, I wish I had found out about this route earlier!

Nobody was crowding the boarding gate in a mob, so I liked the nice relaxed experience unlike most in the large hub airport of PHL. And not too many passengers were even here of course for this regional jet flight to Long Island. Boarding began on time with Concierge Key, then Group 1 and military in uniform, Groups 2 through 4, and then me and Group 5 for credit card holders. I entered into the E145 with a ceiling so low that I couldn't stand up! I found very nice new seats finished in black leather, classy and much nicer than I was expecting, and with adjustable headrests, too. And window shades this time!

Piedmont's new E145 Cabin (photo from Google photo search):

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People were trying to stow bags overhead, a difficult task considering there is no compartment at all over the A seats. The compartments over the BC seats quickly filled up. I settled into 7A, a pretty comfortable seat and nice to have no seatmate. I found it felt much less crowded in the single seat despite the small plane. There was decent legroom similar to the Dash 8. The nice seats really seemed new. Then again the E145 is new at Piedmont.

Legroom Shot:

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Safety Card:

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Overhead Panel:

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Boarding quickly completed in less than ten minutes. We had a full flight tonight. The captain welcomed us aboard, and said that Islip is 47 degrees with overcast skies. He expected an on-time departure and a flight time of 30 minutes wheels-up to wheels-down. We pushed back at 20:49. The manual safety demo, to recorded narration, took place as taxi began.

The view from 7A:

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We were Number 2 for departure. We tookoff from Runway 27L at 21:00, and I enjoyed pretty good pushback into the seat, more than expected. We tookoff to the south, turned left to head over New Jersey, then turned northeast to point toward Islip. Lights had been shut off after the safety demo, and for once not a single person turned on their personal light to disrupt the darkness of the cabin. The flight attendant announced that due to the flying time, there was not enough time to prepare a beverage service, but should time and conditions permit, she will try to fulfill special requests. But then another announcement was made, saying that the captain advised that there was turbulence in the area so she will remain seated.

I was already enjoying this short flight in the dark. The captain shortly announced less than 20 minutes to go, along with some details I couldn't hear. We soon flew out over the Atlantic, leaving New Jersey.

After flying for what seemed to be only a matter of minutes, the lights were turned back on for the cabin prep announcement. We hadn't experienced any turbulence, but if I'm honest, there really wasn't enough time for any inflight service. As predicted, the full beverage service on the Dash 8-100 was made possible by the longer flight time of a prop vs. a jet.

Landing was at 21:35 and we got to Gate A1 at 21:38. We used a jet bridge this time, unlike for the Dash 8-100. It was the same gate but not the lower level.

At the gate in ISP:

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While I enjoyed this flight, it was really way too short. Then again a flight like this isn't about the experience as much as it serves to make a connection or as a convenience.

Some pictures of ISP Long Island MacArthur Airport

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With my family on Long Island getting ready to move to North Carolina, this should be my final visit to Long Island. I was happy to accomplish it in the most convenient manner of flying there, while simultaneously completing all aircraft types in the Piedmont fleet.
 
NASBWI
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:12 am

Re: Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:16 pm

Excellent trip report, Tesla! I recall flying on almost all variants of the Dash, with the exception of the Q400. Piedmont (then called Henson Airlines) was my first experience, followed by Bahamasair and their -300s. I once got to try Horizon's Q200 service before they were retired. The only difference I could tell between a -100 and -200 was that the interior was updated. I've always had fond memories of the Dash 8 and will also miss it gracing the skies. Cheers!
Fierce, Fabulous, and Flawless ;)
 
JealousTrooper
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Re: Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:02 pm

Any idea on how the noise on the dash 8 100/300 compares to the ATR 42 (it's obviously louder but how bad is it)
 
NASBWI
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:12 am

Re: Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:56 pm

JealousTrooper wrote:
Any idea on how the noise on the dash 8 100/300 compares to the ATR 42 (it's obviously louder but how bad is it)


Honestly, having flown on the ATR 42-300 and ATR 72-210s, the noise level (and profile) is about the same. One might argue that in cruise, the -100s, -200s, and -300s are slightly quieter than the older ATRs. When it comes to the ATR -500 and -600 series though, it's a world of difference. One might compare them to the Q400s.
Fierce, Fabulous, and Flawless ;)
 
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Adipasquale
Posts: 827
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:39 pm

Re: Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:16 am

Thanks for the report, I love the Dash, and am sad to see it leaving US fleets. I caught two segments on UAX -200s last year, and I'm afraid they'll be the last tprops I catch roe quite some time.
DH8A DH8B CR1 CR2 CR7 CR9 E45 E70 E75 E90 D93 M88 319 320 321 333 343 712 732 733 734 73G 738 739 744 752 753 762 763 77L 77W
 
JealousTrooper
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:56 pm

Re: Piedmont Airlines ✈ American Eagle ✈ Dash 8-100, Dash 8-300, E145

Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:02 pm

@NASBWI
thanx for the feedback

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