Small Regional Prop Favored by Airlines

"Well, rime ice or little super-cooled droplets are water that end up [forming] ice when you hit them and usually rime ice is something this type of aircraft can handle very well," Nance said on "Good Morning America" today. "What we worry about is a type called clear icing but there wasn't any indication of that."

"The thing is, it's very seductive at that point to think that maybe icing was part of the problem, but this airplane can handle that so well and it's a brand new airplane," he said. "I really caution that it's probably going to be something more than this and maybe something completely dissimilar."

Colgan Air confirmed Monday it had agreed to buy another 15 Q400 turboprops from Bombardier in addition to the 15 announced in January. Colgan Air operates a fleet of 56 turboprop aircraft: 15 Bombardier Q400, 40 Saab340 and one Beech 1900.

Other airlines have also been shifting toward the Q400.

In the last few years, Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, has moved away from its fleet of 20 CRJ-700 regional jets as part of a plan to only fly Q400s.

Upstart airline Porter exclusively flies the Q400. The airline only flies short-hop trips from Toronto's City Centre Airport to destinations including Newark, Montreal, Chicago and Ottawa.

Porter calls the Q400 "the most technologically advanced regional aircraft in the world," saying it is fast and quiet.

Airlines overseas have also been making the switch to the Q400. Air New Zealand, Philippine Airlines and Portugal's Air Acores have all placed orders for the turboprop.

The Q400 is based on the old de Havilland range of Dash aircraft. Manufacturer Bombardier calls it "the most technologically advanced turboprop airliner." It touts the cheap operating costs of the Q400 and said it is "among the lowest of any regional aircraft."

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