Nothing is easy in the world of Saab, especially when GM is around. While its automobile arm was selling its soul to GM, Saab aerospace was rolling out an high speed turboprop that had one mission : to take down the Dash-8 and the ATR and dominate the regional air transport market.
The Saab 2000 was a modern turboprop capable of carrying 50 to 60 passengers at the wig destroying speed of 413MPH. The first aircraft was delivered to Crossair in 1994. The Swiss airline had ordered no less than 34 aircraft and Saab had high hopes that other airlines would join the bandwagon.
In typical Saab fashion, the ergonomics are fantastic. Each driver gets a proper steering wheels, two pedals, stick throttle controls, 3 screens and some kind of auxiliary steering wheel for ground maneuvers. The visibility is also excellent, thanks the the low belt line and the generous greenhouse.
On the outsidem the “2k” as avgeeks likes to call it easily identifiable by its two mighty Allison engines that also holds the wheels, a nice typical Saab quirk. The sleek shape of the 2k makes it one of the most beautiful regional aircraft in the world.
General Motors operated several corporate versions of the 2k, they even used one of them to fly execs to Washington to get their bailout money and kill Saab automobiles. GM was in talk with a regional airline named Pro Air Express. The goal was order several 2k’s, which would have definitely saved the aircraft and made the sky a sfer and quirkier place, but bad luck strike again and Pro Air went bankrupt and orders were cancelled. Of course, GM did nothing to help and let Saab bite the dust.
Ironically, the production of the 2000 ended in 1999, after only 57 examples were built. It’s very sad for the general public, but definitely makes it collector’s material. As of 2013, only 33 Saab 2000 remains in service, Darwin airlines (Etihad regional) is running the largest fleet with 10.
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