Air Transport World

Precision flies into the future on high-tech wings. (commuter airline purchases the Dornier 228-200)

Most travelers can't tell one airliner from another, unless it's with the labels "Big" or "Small." They see little difference between a Boeing 767 and an Airbus A300 or a de Havilland Twin Otter and an Embraer Bandeirante.

But at New York's LaGuardia and Newark airports, passengers notice one unique shape, the profile of N228RP. Operated exclusively in the U.S. by New England's Precision Airlines, the Dornier 228-200 stands out with its slightly drooping nose, high trapezoidal wing and squat landing gear.

Precision says it has a winner on its hands. The 228 satisfies passengers, pilots and corporate execs all at once. Banking its future as a "great big little airline" on the Dornier. Precision and its first pilot, founder and President Walter L. Fawcett, Jr. plan to spread six new 228s across a route structure serving points in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania from a base in Manchester, N.H.

Flexibility needed

Precision used the same cuations style to choose the Dorniers as it has in planning its growth.

In early 1983, Precision used a "little home computer" to run a comparative analysis of the numerous small and medium airliners. "We used factory performance charts to study the (Fairchild) Metro III, (BAe) Jetstream 31, the Twin Otter, Shorts 330 and 360, Beech's C99, and even some larger planes--like the (Fokker) F27 and (de Havilland) Dash 7--to see how we compared to our competition," Fawcett explained.

For the first time in it's 11-year history, Fawcett noted, Precision's average stage length had moved into triple digits--from about 60 miles to almost 120. …

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