|The Dornier 328 is a turboprop-powered commuter airliner. Initially produced by Dornier Luftfahrt GmbH, the firm was acquired in 1996 by Fairchild Aircraft. The resulting firm, named Fairchild-Dornier, manufactured the 328 family in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, conducted sales from San Antonio, Texas, United States, and supported the product line from both locations. |
The 328 (or Do 328) program was initially begun while Dornier was still owned by Deutsche Aerospace. The basic 328 first flew on 6 December 1991, and entered commercial service in October 1993. The 328's new fuselage allowed for comfortable 3-abreast seating, with the potential for a 4-abreast configuration. Combined with the supercritical wing developed from Dornier's Do 228, this gave the 328 excellent cruise and climb capabilities. However, the 328 entered a market crowded with other competing turboprop aircraft at the time, as well as increasing competition from new regional jets in the early 1990's.
The Fairchild-Dornier 328JET is a commuter airliner based upon the turboprop-powered Dornier 328.
Due to public perception of noise and reliability issues with turboprops, Fairchild-Dornier developed the turbofan-based 328-300 or 328JET, of which 83 were sold. The 328JET utilized the same cabin arrangement as the 328. Fairchild-Dornier also began development of the stretched 428JET, a 44-seat version of the 328JET. Plans were for the 428JET to be assembled in Israel by Israel Aerospace Industries.
The 328JET was therefore the last commercial aircraft to be produced by the former Dornier business before it became insolvent in 2002. Following Dornier's insolvency, AvCraft Aviation of Virginia acquired the rights to the 328 program in March 2003, including the 32-seat 328JET and 328 turboprop, 18 328JETs in various stages of assembly, and the development work on the 428JET. After the successful sale of these airplanes, AvCraft negotiated arrangements with suppliers to resume production. The first newly built 328JET was delivered in 2004. AvCraft also took on the production of these aircraft, due to low profit expectations for its other projects, until it filed for bankruptcy itself in 2005. The resulting firm was acquired by private equity investors and reformed as M7 Aerospace.