My favourite plane in 200 words #5: BAe 146 by Caroline Kiernan
Keep your modern fighter planes, they’re just a noisy way to burn money. All they do nowadays is bomb – where’s the romance in that?
If I loved pewter and ale (and dressing up in my grandmother’s clothes) I might love old warbirds, but I don’t and I don’t.
Big airliners? You might as well be on a ferry. If I wanted to watch Jennifer Aniston movies while developing deep-vein thrombosis, I would have stayed in Eastbourne.
The ‘whisper-jet’ slips quietly from chic-city to city. A petite, elegant jet for those who know that understated is the only cool worth having.
She first flew the day that the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women came into effect. In the same month the sensuous TGV train service began in France. She was born of a month of intelligence and quiet speed.
She colonised the skies above Dalston long before the shouting jumble-sale of fashionistas had set (ridiculous and self-aware) foot down below. She remains the aviation world’s quietly spoken traveller, not boasting of her hour in Geneva or evening in Berlin. And I love her (even if she took her first flight on the day Fearne Cotton was born).
Caroline Kiernan is a Casting Director and stunt-kite flyer
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Nicely said Caroline. I used to work at Woodford where they were built: everyone was really proud of them and the cancellation of the next generation RJX effectively signed the site’s death warrant. As I understand it, they’re still so popular that the leasing operation at Prestwick can’t get enough of them.
I flew into RIAT in one this year. Over the years I’ve flown in 146s often, and always found them pleasant. But the ‘whisper jet’ has never been as astonishingly quiet on the inside as it is for those witnessing its passage from the outside, which is a shame. They built and sold enough of them for it to be considered one of the success stories of post War British aviation, but the failure to invest properly in development (especially of a more economic twin engined version) and the scandalous binning of the RJX adds a touch of predictable bathos…..