Saturday, January 22, 2022

Saying goodbye to the classic Dash 8

The end of the line
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I have a strange little habit: when I've got time to kill at an airport, I take note of the unique registration IDs of each aircraft, and I like to look them up online to learn more about their history.

Some are more fun than others.

For example, this one: C-FACT, a 31-year-old Dash 8 series 300 most recently operated by Air Canada Express, the feeder airline to our eponymous national airline.

I shot this in September 2020, as this twin-engjne turboprop commuter workhorse landed at London International Airport in the middle of an airshow. It was likely the least sexy piece of equipment to grace the tarmac that day, yet it stood out by virtue of its registration.

I just love when these sequential identifiers manage to form actual words, and I hope I'm not the only one who finds this strangely endearing.

I've always wondered what it would be like to fly into an airport on a day like that, with crowds beside the runway and high-performance jets waiting on taxiways.

At a point in history where flying anywhere can be an exercise in fear and frustration, I hope the folks on this plane on that day found a reason to smile. I waved after I shot this. Just because.

Sadly, C-FACT is in storage, and as of yesterday, all remaining Series 300 aircraft have been retired from service pending a possible sale or conversion to cargo use. Air Canada’s regional arm will continue to fly the newer Q400 series.

I do hope this sturdy old bird takes to the skies again sometime soon, perhaps for another airline, and that those who fly her find some reason to crack a smile.

We could all use more reasons to do so, even if they're as ridiculously trivial as this one.

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Fly away home (again), February 2019

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