The Saab 30 took off on its maiden flight 2000 years ago

30 years ago, on March 26, 1994, the Saab 2000 took off on its maiden flight. A revolutionary aircraft and the evolution of the Saab 340. Development had started years before. In 1988 the engineers began construction and for the first time in the company's history an aircraft was not created on the drawing board. Saab relied on CATIA CAD software. This had previously also been used in the construction of the Saab 9000.

Saab 2000 aircraft SE-LRA
Saab 2000 aircraft SE-LRA

For the first time, a Saab is designed on screen

Fittingly, the software also has its roots in aviation. The French manufacturer Dassault-Aviation, known on the market as Avions Marcel Dassault at the time, first relied on computer-aided design. The French have been using the new technology since 1969, and in 1975 they bought two-dimensional design software from Lockheed and developed it into 3D software. This resulted in the original version of the CATIA CAD software,

Saab was also a pioneer in the market and had its own company, Datasaab, that manufactured mainframes. Datasaab was later taken over by Ericsson, and the computing technology, which was considered particularly powerful at the time, was used in all areas of the Saab Group.

On March 26, 1992, four years after the start of the project, the first Saab 2000 took off on its maiden flight. As a further development of the proven Saab 340, it offered 50 instead of just 30 seats. Two Allison turboprop engines each provided about 3096 kW and enabled a cruising speed of 655 kilometers per hour.

Saab 2000 Aircraft SE-LRA
Saab 2000 Aircraft SE-LRA

The Concorde for regional flights

Due to its speed and elegant appearance, the Saab 2000 was later affectionately called the “Concordino”, in reference to the supersonic Concorde.

However, it was not until March 1994 that the first aircraft could be delivered to the Swiss company Crossair. Before that, Saab still had to solve problems with the control system that were triggered by the powerful engines. Although the first 6 aircraft still had a mechanical control system, all later received the easier-to-use new hydraulic system.

The Saab 2000 was ahead of its time and had an innovative Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) installed in the cockpit, which consisted of 6 monitors. In the pressurized cabin, an active noise control system ensured pleasant silence and a high level of comfort.

Saab 2000 Erieye AEW
Saab 2000 Erieye AEW

Nevertheless, the Saab 2000 was not a success. At the same time, new competitors with jet engines also entered the market in regional and short-haul traffic. The Brazilian Embraer ERJ was heavily subsidized and much cheaper than the Saab and the Canadian Bombardier CRJ200 offered more performance at a similar price.

In general, it was probably also the zeitgeist that showed jet engines in a more advanced light compared to turboprop machines. Already in 1999 the production of the Saab 2000 was stopped after only 63 copies.

The fact that a few years later the market for regional aircraft would change again and jets were no longer in demand due to their poor fuel economy unfortunately came too late for the Saab 2000 and the 340, which was also discontinued.

The Saab 2000 is not only used civilian. The Swedish coast guard and maritime surveillance rely on specially equipped derivatives of the 2000.

Images courtesy of Saab AB

10 thoughts on "The Saab 30 took off on its maiden flight 2000 years ago"

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    reading pleasure

    thanks tom Although an aviation layman, I find a Saab exciting in the air and feel emotionally and culturally closer to the topic than some non-Saab topics with wheels.

    I find it funny that the Saab PR has to make a statement at all that no new edition is planned. So the idea is there – if only as wishful thinking on the part of individual Swedish journalists...

    And that's right, turboprops and propfans are more efficient than pure jet engines. In the medium and long term, they could gain in importance again (turboprop) or further (propfans) in aircraft construction. If I understand the layman correctly, in addition to pure fuel efficiency, contrails also play a climactic role – the higher, colder and more stable they are written in the sky, the greater their CO2 equivalent. Also an ecological advantage of the Tuboprops, whose optimal flight altitude is below that of jet engines.

    But turboprop (a turbine with an external propeller) has little to do with what some turbo drivers might imagine? This is not a Saab domain, but shortly after WW II it simply became the international standard for all military and civilian machines on medium and long-haul routes, which for various reasons cannot or not yet be used with pure jet engines, but no longer with large ones either , heavy and inefficient reciprocating engines.

    Was a fine aircraft, the Saab 2000. And maybe turboprops are experiencing a renaissance on medium and long-haul routes for ecological reasons? For the same reason, however, short-haul routes will probably fall to the railways, and for Saab, military investments and development costs are much more attractive than civilian transport projects for current and sad reasons. Unfortunately, there will probably never be a civilian Saab again ...

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    I have very good memories of my 2-3 flights as a SAAB 2000 passenger. At that time, SwissAir and CrossAir operated the Dresden – Zurich route and thus collected a few additional passengers for longer European flights from Zurich. You were greeted with “Grüzi” and instead of a starter candy, there was Swiss chocolate. As already written by others, I also found the space and general comfort on board to be very pleasant. A special AHA experience for me was the short time on the runway. The turboprops feel like they take off much faster than jet planes. Really cool.

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      Felt and actually 😉

      The runway may be shorter. The layout of a Tubopop is different. The wings are flown by the props and a certain amount of lift is generated even when stationary, before the pilot even releases the brakes in the chassis...

      In the case of purely jet-powered aircraft, this effect is completely absent, no flow from the own propulsion. There is only lift from the speed of the missile itself. It has to accelerate correspondingly higher in order to take off, and its minimum speed when approaching/landing is higher.

      Even after the Saab 2000, some modern constructions were deliberately designed with turboprops for good reasons. Think of the Airbus A400M.

      The project may be problematic, but central points in the client's specifications were solved using turboprops and would not have been solvable with other engines ...

      In this respect, problematic is also relative. A specification is always a request. You can also write in flying and egg-laying woolly milk sows and that is exactly what is common practice. Far too many people with too little expertise are involved...

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    The aviator might have noticed. The first picture is unfortunately not a Saab 2000 (S20) but a Bombardier Dash 8-300. Also like the Saab a 50 seater and in a way a competitor of the Saab.
    I have or had years of experience with both models in handling planes at Bern's Belpmoos Airport.
    I first came into contact with the S20 in the mid-90s when Crossair operated fast flights to destinations from BRN (Berne) to Lugano, Basel, Paris and later some summer charters.
    From the 2010s onwards, attempts were made to get the best from the small stock of originally 68 S20s built, of which about half were still in use.
    They have replaced another turboprop plane, the Dornier Do328-110.
    Unfortunately, over time, the maintenance effort and the procurement of spare parts become very time-consuming and expensive.
    The Saab has always been a beautiful and fast plane that I enjoyed working on.
    There is currently only one new 50-seat turboprop aircraft available for purchase.
    The ATR 42. Popular and robust, but not a thoroughbred like the Saab.
    It's a pity that a new version will never be built again, since turboprop aircraft are gaining momentum again in view of the expensive fuel. At least under 100 seats.

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      The picture has been changed. Thanks!

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      I flew 1 x in 1989 with Crossair (CH) in a 340 from Stuttgart to Barcelona. Until then never flown in a turboprop. An experience! She pulls up like a hornet i.Vgl. to a lumbering DC 10, which I also flew once. But that's actually a bad comparison. On board you sat in leather seats and could enjoy champagne and salmon (in the 340 mind you, not in the DC 10).

      I then also wanted turbo in my 900 convertible (33 years of first ownership).

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        Flew with champagne, salmon & leather seats in a 340 directly into the Saab convertible?

        That's a delicious comment, even in the literal sense. I slipped through before, but that's really something, it's a pearl. Thanks!

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    Something is wrong, the pictures of the Swedish Coast Guard are high-wing aircraft, the SAAB 340 and 2000 low-wing aircraft. Think the Coast Guard flies De Havilland DHC-8.

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      Absolutely correct. Available for download in Saab AB press area as Saab 2000 but not Saab 2000. I'll change that. Thanks!

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    Thanks for the reminder Tom!

    In 2018 I flew for the first and unfortunately last time with a SAAB 2000. At that time with the Swiss company Skywork Airlines from Berlin-Tegel to Graz and back. An extremely comfortable flight with a family atmosphere. Thanks to the 2+1 seating, there was plenty of space. One noticed that not necessarily as many seats as possible should be “slammed” into the aircraft. In fact, it wasn't significantly louder in the cabin than on jet engines.

    Almost two months later, Skyworks was history and so were the six SAAB 2000 on the served routes. A stewardess I spoke to told me that all the planes – with different equipment – ​​came from the former Crossair. Like her, her husband was also a Skywork Pilot and had previously flown for Crossair.

    Too bad. The machine was ahead of its time. Or just came onto the market at the wrong time. A few months ago I read a statement from a press spokeswoman for SAAB AB, after which they did not intend to relaunch the SAAB 2000.

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