What’s the difference in travelling in two of the world’s most popular propeller planes the ATR 72 and Bombardier Dash 8 ?
I am not a big fan of propeller planes. Maybe it’s because they are small and not so interesting. But they have a story of their own. ATR 72 is a 72-78 seater twin propeller aircraft manufactured by french aerospace company ATR. While the Dash 8 is a twin propeller aircraft manufactured by Canadian aerospace company Bombardier. Dash 8 is claimed to be the fastest propeller plane in the sky.
Propeller jets are more common on shorter routes which does not demand a large 100 seater Airbus or Boeing jets mostly because the distance is too short or the routes are not so demanding. ATR is the most common propeller plane in India being preferred by Jet Airways and Indigo whereas Dash 8 is used only by Spice Jet.
I don’t like to travel in prop planes because my experience with them is not so good. My first prop plane was an ATR and its was the most bumpiest ride that i ever had. They take off was bumpy and the landing was bumpy too. And that too when the sky was relatively calm. I didn’t expect anything different in Dash 8. But to be frank, Dash 8 had a relatively calm take off. I travelled to Goa on a one day trip recently. I took off from Chennai on an Airbus A320 to Goa. The landing was bumpy on the jet. The weather was pretty rough that day. The wind was high and it was raining heavily. But the take off on Dash 8 was smooth as it could be. Yes. Take off on two jets should not be compared as pilots and weather vary every time. But hey, If Dash 8 performed smoothly on that weather how rough could it be on a calm day ?
The flight on Dash 8 was pretty calm. ATR was louder. I found that the cabin on the Dash 8 to be little bit smaller compared to ATR’s. Procedure wise, ATR’s have cargo hold on front of the plane. Passengers could board the aircraft only from the rear of the plane. Bombardier had separate cargo hold on the back of the plane and you could board the aircraft from both rear and the front. It’s not a big deal, but it does makes boarding and seating on the aircraft a little bit faster and easier.
Technically, both the aircrafts vary a lot. There are lot of differences in economy and technical specifications of the aircraft. But as a passenger, if i had to choose between Dash 8 or the ATR, as of now i would go with Dash 8. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of the smoother take off. But i did fell in love with that prop.