The Plane Chains crew is excited to release edition 5. Edition 5 is the very first commercial aircraft to join our hangar, and as a Canadian company, we couldn’t think of a more iconic aircraft to take that honor than a Dash 8 operated by Canada's national flag carrier airline.
Edition 5 is made from the skin of C-FJFM; a De Havilland Dash 8 300 series that spent the majority of its career operating on behalf of Air Canada. Not only do these chains feature the beautiful Air Canada blue metallic paint, and intricate logo decals, but this edition is also officially licensed by Air Canada, featuring the Air Canada logo.
The De Havilland Dash 8 series of aircraft are a family of turboprop regional airliners which were developed from the Dash 7s and were first introduced in 1984 with the Dash 8-100. Throughout the 1970s, De Havilland Canada invested large amounts of resources into their Dash 7 program. The Dash 7 was a four-engine turboprop aircraft with STOL capabilities designed for regional routes and smaller airports. Unfortunately for De Havilland however, only a handful of carriers ordered the Dash 7. Most airlines would rather opt for the favorable operating costs of a two-engine turboprop, than the short-field performance of the four-engine Dash 7. In the early 1980s, De Havilland addressed these demands, modifying the Dash 7 to utilize two stronger turboprop engines. The result was the Dash 8, an extremely versatile aircraft that would go on to become one of the most successful regional aircraft of all time.
The 39-seat Dash 8-100 had her maiden flight on June 20, 1983. The aircraft entered service early the next year with NorOntair. Several versions of the Dash 8-100 were developed with improvements to the power plants, takeoff weights, and certain military upgrades for military operators of the aircraft.
The success of the Dash 8-100 led to the development of the Dash 8-300. Aside from a stretched fuselage, the 300 was in many ways similar to the 100 series, even featuring the same Pratt & Whitney PW123 turboprop engines.
Shortly after the development of the new Dash 8-300 began, De Havilland Canada was purchased by Boeing. Air Canada was in the process of fleet renewal; replacing their aging 727 and DC-9 aircraft. Boeing purchased De Havilland in an effort to put themselves into a favorable position with Air Canada, as they were in direct competition with Airbus for Air Canada’s fleet renewal orders. This acquisition came at a good time for De Havilland, as Boeing would improve their Downsview production facility. For a short time as a result of Boeing's acquisition of De Havilland, the new Dash 8 300 was promoted as a Boeing product.
The Dash 8-300 had her first flight in May of 1987 and was introduced into passenger service with Time Air in 1989. The Dash 8-300 had seating for 50-56 passengers, she could operate at max weight from runways shorter than 4000 feet, cruise at 25,000ft, and travel 1000 miles in a single flight. The Dash 8-300 was by every measure the perfect aircraft for Canadian regional airlines. She could comfortably connect small towns and communities to major hubs. By the time Dash, 8-300 production had ended, and more than 260 airframes had been delivered.
The aforementioned fleet renewal order from Air Canada ended up going to Airbus, and Boeing decided to sell De Havilland Canada. Luckily, Canadian-based Bombardier acquired De Havilland in 1992. Bombardier continued manufacturing the Dash 8 series of aircraft, and eventually developed a fourth model - the Q400.
Our Dash 8-300; C-FJFM rolled off the production line at De Havilland's Toronto Downsview facility as MSN 240 in late 1990. She was delivered to Time Air that same year and operated on behalf of Time Air until Time Air became Canadian Regional Airlines in 1993. After 7 years of operating for Canadian Regional, FJM was leased by Air Nova, before finally being transferred to Air Canada Jazz with the merger of Air BC, Air Nova, Air Ontario, and Canadian Regional Airlines in 2002. Since 2002, FJFM operated on behalf of Air Canada up until her retirement in late November of 2021. Over the course of her nearly 32-year career, C-FJFM proved to be a reliable workhorse, safely transporting hundreds of thousands if not millions of passengers.
Sadly, throughout 2021 and 2022, Air Canada phased out both the Dash 8-100 and 300 aircraft from their fleet, to make way for more modern, and efficient aircraft. Like many ex-Air Canada and Jazz Dash 8 aircraft, FJFM was stored in North Bay post-retirement. For some of these airframes, North Bay will be their final destination. However, many of these Dash 8s have plenty of life left in them owing to service life upgrades. For such aircraft, their storage at North Bay airport is merely a well-earned break, before they are transferred to new operators and have the opportunity to continue demonstrating their reliability and versatility for years to come.
This Dash 8 300; C-FJFM was dismantled in mid-2022. Stripped of her useful parts, her fuselage was eventually cut up. Despite the end of her life as a passenger aircraft, C-FJFM will continue to serve a purpose. The entire cockpit section of the aircraft was preserved to be used for drone strike research; an extremely important effort that will improve aviation safety. The Plane Chains crew is honored to have had the opportunity to upcycle parts of FJFMs’ fuselage into unique aviation keychains. Now FJFM will be appreciated in the hands of aviation enthusiasts, flight crew members, engineers, maintainers, and the passengers she flew for decades to come.
Visit our shop to claim your very own piece of one of the most iconic Canadian airliners of all time.