AEROSPATIALE BROUGHT ITS ATR-42 DEMONSTRATOR TO THE UNITED STATES IN OCTOBER 1985. FIRST POTENTIAL (AND EVENTUAL) CUSTOMER WAS RANSOME AIRLINES, WHICH WAS LOOKING FOR A REPLACEMENT FOR ITS DHC-7. I WAS WRITING FOR COMMUTER AIR MAGAZINE AT THE TIME, WHICH MERITED A PHOTO FLIGHT...AND MY FIRST COVER PHOTO WITH THAT MAGAZINE
ATLANTIS AIRLINES WAS THE FIRST US OPERATOR OF THE BAE-3100, A VASTLY UPGRADED VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL HP.137 JETSTREAM. N155AA, THE SECOND PRODUCTION JETSTREAM 31, WAS LEASED TO ATLANTIS AIRLINES OF FLORENCE, SC. THE JETSTREAM 31 WENT ON TO BECOME ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL 19-SEAT PRESSURIZED COMMUTER AIRCRAFT.
PROBABLY MY MOST ICONIC PHOTO SHOOT. RANSOME AIRLINES HAD DEPARTED FROM THE ALLEGHENY COMMUTER SYSTEM AND JUST RECEIVED A BRAND NEW DASH 7 IN ITS OWN COLOR SCHEME. THE COMPANY ORGANIZED A PRESS PHOTO FLIGHT (WE WERE IN A NORD 262) AND WE MADE A COUPLE OF PASSES AROUND THE PHILADELPHIA AREA. AFTER THAT, THE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING ASKED IF ANYONE WANTED ANYTHING ELSE. I PIPED UP, "HOW ABOUT A SHOT IN FRONT OF THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING?" LIFE WAS SOOOOO0O SIMPLE 35 YEARS AGO...
The Swearingen Metro was essentially a stretched Merlin corporate transport. For many years, it was the only pressurized aircraft built for the commuter airline market. Earlier models were limited by regulations to 12,500 lbs fully loaded. As a result, the early Metros were severely weight-restricted. In 1980, weight restrictions were raised to 14,000 lbs, and Swearingen immediately began work on the Metro III. Midstate was an early operator of the Metro III