Aircraft Identification


Years ago, I flew into Winnipeg on a plane operated in affiliation with Northwest Airlines. I seem to recall the planes were decorated with the Northwest colors and logos. We boarded the plane by walking across the tarmak. The plane held a couple dozen people, as I recall, had the wing at the top of the fuselage and had four props. I believe they were turboprops. What interested me at the time was that only two engines were used for take-off but all four for cruising.

Is this enough information to identify the plane? If not, I can drag out a photo I took.

P.S. I hope this isn’t considered too far off topic.


I’m thinking now that maybe it was an Avro RJ-85, which is not a turboprop. My main question remains. Why take off with two engines and cruise with four?


Your description does sound like an Avro.

It’s interesting how many people mention the fact that it takes off on two engines, and cruises/lands with four. I’m not sure what it is about the aircraft, but a lot of people swear that this is true. Sadly, it isn’t.

There is no airline that would “cheat” itself out of all available thrust by only using two engines for takeoff. This isn’t done, it isn’t safe, and would never be an approved procedure by either the Airline or the FAA.



My question is what’s the difference between the AVRO and the BAe-146? I work for airwisconsin and we have a few 146s, but NW has the AVROs.


There isn’t much of a difference. The Avro RJ85 is the updated version of the BAE 146-200 and the Avro RJ100 is the updated version of the -300, which air Whiskey flies.

The major difference are the switch from the Lycoming ALF 502R-5 engines that are on the Bae 200/300 to AlliedSignal LF-507 engines on the Avros. They are of basically the same thrust, and offer the same range as the Lycomings, but they have FADEC and are easier/cheaper to maintain.

Additionally, the Avros have a semi-glass panel, where as the BAEs have all steam guages.

The cabin is in a different style with larger bins,etc…



I’m interested in seeing the picture. There hasn’t been a 4 engined prop aircraft in a long time. As the others say, I think it is a BAe 146, although it does seat more than 12 people and has jets instead of props.


If there really are a lot of people who report this, then there must be something to it, don’t you think? It’s been a few years, but here’s how I recall it. We took off with what felt like normal acceleration. I just assumed we were using all four engines because, after all, that would be the spot where you’d want to use the most thrust, or so I though.

We rose fairly quickly. Kind of felt like a STOL. We leveled off, and perhaps 15 minutes or more after takeoff I heard what sounded like jets powering up. There was a very marked accompanying acceleration that went with it.

I have no recollection of the landing.

If all four jets are used at takeoff, then perhaps the engines were simply ramping up from a slower speed to a faster speed for cruising. But I think that would have sounded more normal.

How about this? Is it possible four engines are used for takeoff, then two are shut down until cruising when they’re powered up again?


Not plausible… second only to takeoff you want lots of power for the climb.
What you could have heard was auxiliary power (no longer needed since the engine generators can cover the load) spinning down.


Or possibly the heat/ac coming on. I’ve been on some flights where the system is off/low during takeoff and then brought up later in the climbout. Sometimes the fans and ducts make a lot of racket, sometimes sounds like the roar of a jet, or even sometimes like the whine of a turbine.


If it was a four engined prop aircraft with high wings, then it could have been a DHC Dash 7. However, I don’t recall any of the Northwest affiliates using this aircraft.


Well, the Avros do make an odd noise. They’re sometimes affectionately called the “flying washing machine” due to the noise of the engines.

I wonder if it wasn’t the flaps retracting. The Avro flaps make more noise than those on any other aircraft that i can think of. They are also very large, in terms of the percentage of span which the occupy, and their retraction causes a very noticeable acceleration as the drag goes down.



Swissflight: Thanks for the info. Yeah, Air Whiskey runs the -200 and -300s. That being said, it’s kinda up in the air if they are going to retire those. Word initially they were, however I guess our pilots and that aircraft is perfect for Aspen, so UAL might keep us running that route. This of course is good for me because it means I would keep the United flight benefits as well as having the US Air/America West flight bennies :smiley:


Oh yes, I’d also like to mention the brake fans on the 146s are LOUD.


It sounds as though the BAE 146 is an incredibly noisy plane. How does it do with respect to airport noise restrictions?


Hey, free tickets to Aspen sounds great! 8)

Actually, the Avros/BAE are very quiet. From the outside, at least. They make none of that “traditional” jet engine rumble. It’s more of a quiet whine. This, combined with their amazing STOL capabilities, allows them to opperate in and out of Aspen (For AW and Mesaba), as well as the London City airport.

It’s just from the inside that, during flap retraction, you get this loud whine/cranking sound.



The APU, given it’s location (as compared to a CRJ) is considerably quieter, especially when throwing bags in the front bin.

That being said, loading baggage on those aircraft SUCK


MESABA (NWA AIRLINK) flys “THE AVRO RJ85” and did fly Dash 8’s for short time.


Greetings, XJPILOT.

You ever fly into TVC?


I don’t buy it. The reason is there was a marked, accompanying surge forward. I would not expect a forward acceleration to accompany spinning down of engines. Plus the pitch was going up, not down.


I just realized that what I typed is ambiguous. By pitch, I meant the frequency of the sound of the engines – not attitude.