It feels really good when I make good on a promise. Especially promises relating to side view aircraft illustrations! Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m rather proud of myself for actually being able to make good on the word that I made last week to have this Dornier 328JET side profile drawing complete. Considering how much other work I had on my plate, it’s a miracle that it even happened at all. But I pushed through it knowing that there are some of you who have been waiting for this one since it lost out to the Saab 340 back in December.
Now that this one is complete, I realized that starting with the turboprop version of the 328 last week was the right thing to do. It’s the much more (visually) complex version of this aircraft type, and there was a lot more research involved trying to figure out all the little details. Much to my delight, it turns out that there are no visual differences between the 328 and 328JET other than the engines and the way they connect to the wings. It was a literally a matter of an engine swap with no other modifications.
Speaking of engine swaps, the Dornier 328 might be one of the most unique aircraft illustrations that I’ve done so far. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another aircraft type that was available in propeller and jet versions over the span of it’s life. I’m sure there are others (military aircraft perhaps), but I’m not aware of any other commercial airliners that had the same option. Please do let me know in the comment section below if there are any others, because I find it fascinating that the same aircraft type would perform well with two very different propulsion methods. Maybe I’m overcomplicating it and it’s really not a big deal?
A brief history of the Dornier 328JET
One of the most interesting things I discovered in my research about the Dornier 328JET was the fact that is was basically the airplane that killed Fairchild-Dornier for good. If anything, I would have assumed that a modern (and more powerful) version of the original propeller version would have sold like hot cakes! Especially at a time when propeller-driven aircraft were starting to get a bad rap here in the US and the commuter aircraft industry was going all-jet. Competition from the CRJ-200 and ERJ-135 was fierce, and it would seem to me that the jet version of the 328 would have put up a good fight. It didn’t.
Fairchild Aircraft acquired Dornier in 1996, with the introduction of the 328JET happening shortly thereafter. That’s why the official title of this aircraft carries the “Fairchild-Dornier” prefix whereas the 328-110 was simply a “Dornier”.
Unfortunately, production of the 328 only lasted until 2002 with only 110 being produced. That’s far too short of a production run for an aircraft this good, and it’s really too bad that that Fairchild-Dornier wasn’t able to get through their financial difficulties. The 328JET was a far nicer aircraft than anything Bombardier or Embraer was producing at the time – and I fondly remember the only two flights I had on one of these things back in 2003. It was a SBN-CVG round trip on Delta Connection (operated by Atlantic Coast Airlines), and I specifically remember feeling smug that I successfully avoided one of those dreaded CRJ-200s.
Thanks to all of you out there who were patiently waiting for me to finish this one! It was certainly one of the most interesting airplanes I’ve illustrated lately, so it’s nice to have it complete and added to the Norebbo archives.
What’s next? To be honest – I don’t know! I will be starting an all new template next week (I might not be able to finish it by the end of the week though), and I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any. As always, the most common suggestion wins. 🙂
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