Dornier 228

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Dornier 228
Do228NG - RIAT 2012 (18649688613).jpg
A RUAG Dornier 228NG in 2012
Role Utility aircraft
Manufacturer Dornier GmbH
General Atomics
First flight 28 March 1981
Introduction July 1982
Status Active service
Primary users Indian Air Force
Indian Coast Guard
Indian Navy
Produced Dornier: 1982–1997
HAL: 1985–present
RUAG: 2010–present
Number built Dornier: 245[1]
HAL: 125.[2]
Developed from Dornier Do 28

The Dornier 228 is a twin-turboprop STOL utility aircraft, designed and first manufactured by Dornier GmbH (later DASA Dornier, Fairchild-Dornier) from 1981 until 1998. Two hundred and forty-five were built in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. In 1983, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) bought a production licence and manufactured another 125 aircraft in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. In July 2017, 63 aircraft were still in airline service.

In 2009, RUAG started building a Dornier 228 New Generation in Germany. The fuselage, wings and tail unit are manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Kanpur, India, and transported to Oberpfaffenhofen, where RUAG Aviation carries out aircraft final assembly. The Dornier 228NG use same airframe with improved technologies and performances, such as a new five-blade propeller, glass cockpit and longer range.[3] The first delivery was made in September 2010 to a Japanese operator.[4] In 2020, RUAG sold the Dornier 228 program to General Atomics.



Experimental Do-28D modified with the Do-228 supercritical wing

In the late 1970s, Dornier GmbH developed a new kind of wing, the TNT (Tragflügel neuer Technologie – Aerofoil new technology), subsidized by the German Government.[5] Dornier tested it on a modified Do 28D-2 Skyservant and with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-110 turboprop engines. Finally, Dornier changed the engine and tested the new aircraft, which was named Dornier 128 with two Garrett AiResearch TPE-331-5 engines.[6] The company developed a new fuselage for the TNT and TPE 331–5 in two variants (15- and 19-passenger) and named both project-aircraft E-1 (later Dornier 228-100) and E-2 (later Dornier 228-200). At the ILA Berlin Air Show in 1980, Dornier presented the new aircraft to the public. Both of the prototypes were flown on 28 March 1981 and 9 May 1981 for the first time.[6][7]

The Dornier 228 prototype at Farnborough 1982 in Norving colors, its first operator

After German certification was granted on 18 December 1981, the first Dornier 228-100 entered service in the fleet of Norving in July 1982.[6] The first operator of the larger Dornier 228-200 entered service with Jet Charters in late 1982.[8] Certification from both British and American aviation authorities followed on 17 April and 11 May 1984 respectively.[7] By 1983, the production rate of the Dornier 228 had risen to three aircraft per month; at this point, Dornier had targeted that 300 Dornier 228s would be produced by the end of the 1980s.[8] In November 1983, a major license-production and phased technology-transfer agreement was signed between Dornier and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was signed; a separate production line was established and produced its first aircraft in 1985. By 2014, a total of 125 Dornier 228s had been produced in India.[9]

Over the years, Dornier offered the 228 in upgraded variants and fitted with optional equipment for performing various special missions. In 1996, it was announced that all manufacturing operations would be transferred to India. In 1998, activity on the German production line was halted, in part to concentrate on the production of the larger Fairchild-Dornier 328 and in response to Dornier's wider financial difficulties.[9]

Dornier 228NG[edit]

The main outside change of the 228NG is the five bladed propeller

In 2002, RUAG took over the Services and Components divisions from Fairchild Dornier, including the Dornier 228 production rights.[10] RUAG acquired the Dornier 228 type certificate in 2003.[11] In December 2007, RUAG announced their intention to launch a modernized version of the aircraft, designated as the Dornier 228 Next Generation, or Dornier 228 NG.[9][1][12] At the 2008 Berlin Air Show, HAL agreed on supplying the first three components sets — fuselage, wings and tail — for €5 million, as a part of an €80 million ($123 million) ten-year contract.[13] In June 2010, the passenger aircraft was priced at €5.2 million ($7 million), €5.8–5.9 million with JAR-Ops equipment; restarting its production cost €20 million.[14]

On 18 August 2010, the Dornier 228NG received its airworthiness certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).[15] The final assembly for the type is located in Germany; however, most airframe subassemblies, such as the wings, tail and fuselage, are produced by HAL in India.[1][16][17] The main changes from the previous Dornier 228-212 model were a new five-blade propeller made of composite material, more powerful engines and an advanced glass cockpit featuring electronic instrument displays and other avionics improvements.[11][18]

The first delivery, to the Japanese operator New Central Aviation, took place in September 2010.[19] RUAG decided to suspend production of the Dornier 228 NG after the completion of an initial batch of eight aircraft in 2013. In 2014, RUAG and Tata Group signed an agreement for the latter to become a key supplier of the program.[20] Production was restarted in 2015, with deliveries of four per year planned from 2016.[21] In February 2016, RUAG announced that they were set to begin serial production of the Dornier 228 NG at its German production line in mid-2016;[20][22] the assembly line is reportedly capable of producing a maximum of 12 aircraft per year.[23]

On 30 September 2020, US firm General Atomics bought the Dornier 228 production line in Oberpfaffenhofen, including the transfer of all 450 employees, pending regulatory approval.[24] The sale was announced on 15 October 2020,[10] and was completed in February 2021.[25]

Indian production[edit]

The aircraft was made eligible to fly commercial flights in Europe after the European Aviation Safety Agency accepted the Directorate General of Civil Aviation certification for the aircraft on 30 August 2019.[26][contradictory]

Hybrid-Electric Demonstrator[edit]

Supported by Bavarian funding, the German DLR is modifying one of its two Dornier 228 into a demonstrator hybrid electric aircraft . The first fully electric flight is planned for 2020 and the first hybrid-electric flight for 2021, apparently from Cochstedt Airport. Partners include MTU Aero Engines and Siemens, of which Rolls-Royce plc is acquiring the electric propulsion unit.[27]


Head-on view showing the rectangular fuselage
two across seating
Analog flight deck pre-228NG

The Dornier 228 is a twin-engine general purpose aircraft, capable of transporting up to 19 passengers or various cargoes. It is powered by a pair of Garrett TPE331 turboprop engines. The Dornier 228 is commonly classified as a Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL)-capable aircraft, being capable of operating from rough runways and in hot climates. This capability has been largely attributed to the type's supercritical wing which generates large amounts of lift at slow speeds.[8][16] The Dornier 228 is typically promoted for its versatility, low operational costs, and a high level of reliability – possessing a dispatch reliability of 99%. RUAG Aviation have claimed that no other aircraft in the same class may carry as much cargo or as many passengers over a comparable distance as fast as the Dornier 228 NG.[16]

The rectangular shape of the Dornier 228's fuselage section and large side-loading doors make it particularly suitable for utility operators, which is a market that Dornier had targeted with the type from the onset.[8] According to Flight International, one of the more distinguishing features of the Dornier 228 is the supercritical wing used.[8][28] The structure of the wing is atypical, consisting of a box formed from four integrally-milled alloy panels. Kevlar is used for the ribs, stringers, trailing edge and fowler flaps, and the wing's leading edge is conventional alloy sheet metal.[5][29] Benefits of this wing over conventional methodology include a 15% reduction in weight, the elimination of 12,000 rivets, and lowering the per-aircraft manufacturing workload by roughly 340 man hours. Both the fuselage and tail are of a conventional design, but make use of chemical milling in order to save weight.[8]

Radar console for maritime patrol

The Dornier 228 has been promoted in various capacities, including as a commuter aircraft, a military transporter, cargo hauler, or as a special missions aircraft. Special missions include maritime surveillance, border patrol, medevac, search and rescue, paradrop and environmental research missions, in which capacity the type has proven useful due to a ten-hour flight endurance, a wide operating range, low operational cost, and varied equipment range.[5][16][30][31] Special equipment available to be installed include a 360-degree surveillance radar, side-looking airborne radar, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor, search light, operator station, real-time datalink, enlarged fuel tanks, satellite uplink, stretches, air-openable roller door, and infrared/ultraviolet sensors.[16] In addition to a 19-seat commuter configuration for airlines, a VIP cabin configuration is also offered; the cabin can also be customized as per each client's specifications. The Dornier 228 is the only aircraft of its class to be fitted with air conditioning as standard.[16][32]

Dornier 228NG[edit]

More than 350 design changes are present between the Dornier 228 and the re-launched Dornier 228 NG. Amongst the principal changes is the adoption of Universal's UNS-1 glass cockpit, which means that standard aircraft are equipped to be flown under single-pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) in addition to visual flight rules (VFR); according to RUAG Aviation, the Dornier 228 NG is the first aircraft in its class to be certified with equivalent electronics.[16][33] A total of four large displays are used in the cockpit, two primary flight displays and two multifunction displays, to present all key flight data.[5] The navigation system includes VHF omnidirectional range (VOR), distance measuring equipment (DME), automatic direction finder (ADF), radar altimeter, Global Positioning System (GPS), air data computer, and a flight management system. A three-axis autopilot can be optionally incorporated, as can a weather radar and high frequency (HF) radio.[16][32] While designed for two-pilot operation, the Dornier 228 can be flown by only one crewmember.[8]

Additional changes include the Garrett TPE331-10 engines, which have been optimized to work with the redesigned five-bladed fibre-composite propellers now used by the type, which are more efficient, quick to start, and produces substantially less vibration and noise than the original metal four-bladed predecessor.[16][8][34] Through its engines, the Dornier 228 NG has the longest time between overhaul (TBO) of any 19-seat aircraft, reportedly up to 7,000 hours. An engine-indicating and crew-alerting system (EICAS) is also present for safety purposes; additional optional safety equipment akin to much larger passenger aircraft, including airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS) and terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS), can be incorporated as well.[16]


In July 2018, 57 aircraft were in airline service.[35] Other operators include police, law enforcement, paramilitary operators and military operators.

By July 2018, the fleet accumulated over four million flight hours.[36]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

The Dornier 228 has been involved in 54 aviation accidents and incidents including 41 hull losses.[37] Those resulted in 205 fatalities[38]

Accidents with fatalities[39]
Date Flight Fat. Location Event Surv.
26 March 1982 Dornier 3 Germany, near Igenhausen Prototype test flight, Loss of control 0
24 February 1985 AWI Polar 3 3 West Sahara, near Dakhla Shot down by the Polisario Front guerrillas[40] 0
23 September 1989 Vayudoot PF624 11 India, near Indapur Loss of control 0
18 April 1991 Air Tahiti 805 10 French Polynesia, near Nuku Hiva Engine failure in approach not acknowledged then ditching 12
2 January 1993 Indian Coast Guard 4 India, near Paradip Crashed into sea 2
28 February 1993 Formosa Airlines 6 Taiwan, near Orchid Island Struck the sea while approaching Orchid Island in heavy rain 0
31 July 1993 Everest Air 19 Nepal, near Bharatpur Airport Controlled Flight Into Terrain (Mountain) while on approach 0
10 August 1997 Formosa Airlines 16 Taiwan, near Matsu Airport Crashed while attempting to land 0
6 September 1997 Royal Brunei 238 10 Malaysia, near Miri Airport Crashed at Lambir Hills National Park on approach 0
30 July 1998 Indian Airlines 503[41] 9 India, Cochin airport Poor stabiliser maintenance, loss of control, 3 killed on ground 0
7 August 1999 TACV Flight 5002 18 Cape Verde, Santo Antão Airport Controlled Flight Into Terrain – Mountain 0
17 September 2006 Nigerian Air Force 13 Nigeria, near Vandeikya Controlled Flight Into Terrain – Mountain 5
24 August 2010 Agni Air Flight 101 14 Nepal, near Shikharpur, Narayani Controlled Flight Into Terrain – Mountain 0
14 May 2012 Agni Air 15 Nepal, near Jomsom Airport Crashed while attempting to land[42] 6
28 September 2012 Sita Air Flight 601 19 Nepal, near Kathmandu Airport Engine bird strike, crashed and burned shortly after takeoff 0
9 September 2013 CorpFlite 2 Chile, near Viña del Mar Airport Crashed into power lines whilst attempting to land in fog[43] 0
24 March 2015 Indian Navy 2 Indian Ocean, near Goa, India Believed to have plunged into the sea after technical problems[44][45] 0
8 June 2015 Indian Coast Guard 3 Indian Ocean, near Pichavaram Crashed into sea, located on 10 July, 16.5 nmi off coast 0
29 August 2015 Nigerian Air Force 7 Kaduna, Nigeria Crashed into a house and burned near departure airport[46] 0
24 November 2019 Busy Bee Congo 20+6 Goma, DR Congo Crashed on takeoff from Goma Airport[47] 0

Specifications (Dornier 228NG)[edit]

three-view silhouettes : the -100 has eight side windows while the longer -200 has ten

Data from RUAG.[48]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 19 pax
  • Length: 16.56 m (54 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan: 16.97 m (55 ft 8 in)
  • Height: 4.86 m (15 ft 11 in)
  • Wing area: 32 m2 (340 sq ft)
  • Airfoil: Do A-5[49]
  • Empty weight: 3,900 kg (8,598 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 6,575 kg (14,495 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 1,885 kg (4,156 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop, 579 kW (776 shp) each
  • Propellers: 5-bladed MT-Propeller, 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) diameter fully-feathering constant-speed propellers[50]


  • Cruise speed: 413 km/h (257 mph, 223 kn)
  • Stall speed: 137 km/h (85 mph, 74 kn)
  • Range: 396 km (246 mi, 214 nmi) with 1,960 kg (4,321 lb) payload
  • Ferry range: 2,363 km (1,468 mi, 1,276 nmi) with 547 kg (1,206 lb) payload
  • Endurance: 10 hours[16]
  • Service ceiling: 7,620 m (25,000 ft) [50]
  • Fuel consumption: 0.945 kg/km (3.35 lb/mi) at 413 km/h (257 mph; 223 kn) IAS[32]
  • Take-off run: 792 m (2,600 ft) (MTOW, ISA, SL)
  • Landing run: 451 m (1,480 ft) (MLW, ISA, SL)

See also[edit]

An Agni Air Dornier 228 in front of a Twin Otter of Tara Air in Lukla Airport, Nepal

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


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  2. ^ "HAL Bags Rs. 1090 Crore Contract for Supplying 14 Do-228 Aircraft to IAF" (Press release). HAL. 5 February 2015.
  3. ^ Dornier 228 Archived 2010-06-25 at the Wayback Machine RUAG Dornier 228 webpage. RUAG. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
  4. ^ Harry Weisberger (10 October 2011). "Ruag Shows Off NextGen Dornier Do228NG". AIN.
  5. ^ a b c d "Dornier 228 Multirole (MR) Facts & Figures." Archived 2016-03-01 at the Wayback Machine RUAG Aviation, Retrieved: 27 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Dornier's Way With Commuters". Air International, October 1987, Vol 33 No 4. Bromley, UK:Fine Scroll. ISSN 0306-5634. pp. 163–169, 201–202.
  7. ^ a b Taylor, John W.R. (editor). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988–89. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Defence Data, 1988. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5, p.87.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Whitaker, Richard. "Dornier 228: advanced technology commuter.", 1982, p. 288-290.
  9. ^ a b c Eriksson, Sören and Harm-Jan Steenhuis. The Global Commercial Aviation Industry. Routledge, 2015. ISBN 1-13667-239-7, pp.59–62, 241
  10. ^ a b "RUAG International is selling parts of the business at the Oberpfaffenhofen location" (Press release). RUAG. 15 October 2020.
  11. ^ a b Alcock, Charles. "Ruag Do228NG approval planned for first quarter." AIN Online, 28 December 2009.
  12. ^ Doyle, Andrew. "Surprise rebirth." Flight International, 19 May 2008.
  13. ^ Press Trust of India (5 June 2008). "HAL signs deal for making new generation Dornier aircraft". The Economic Times.
  14. ^ Andrew Doyle (1 June 2010). "ILA: Ruag makes a splash with Dornier 228 New Generation". Flight International.
  15. ^ "EASA certifies modernised Dornier 228NG". Flight International. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Dornier 228 NG – Benefit from a New Generation." Archived 2016-03-01 at the Wayback Machine RUAG Aviation, Retrieved: 27 February 2016.
  17. ^ Sarsfield, Kate. "Back to life: nine civil types revived." Flight International, 27 March 2015.
  18. ^ "First Dornier 228NG Shipset Supplied."[permanent dead link] BART International.
  19. ^ "New Generation Do228 Delivered". Air International, Vol. 79, No. 5, November 2010, p. 11.
  20. ^ a b Alcock, Charles. "Ruag to Kick Off Dornier 228NG Production in Mid-2016." AIN Online, 13 February 2016.
  21. ^ Broadbent, Mike. "RUAG Resumes Dornier 228NG Production". Air International, Vol. 89, No. 2, August 2015, p. 35.
  22. ^ Arthur, Gordon. "Singapore Airshow: Dornier 228 production ramps up." Shephard Media, 22 February 2016.
  23. ^ Batey, Angus. "RUAG, Dornier OEM, Sets Up 228 Production." Aviation Week, 15 June 2015.
  24. ^ Murdo Morrison (16 October 2020). "General Atomics buys RUAG's Dornier 228 programme and German MRO business". Flightglobal.
  25. ^ "General Atomics Finalizes Takeover Of Dornier 228 Production | Aviation Week Network".
  26. ^ "HAL-made Dornier 228 aircraft can now be used in Europe". The Times of India. 30 August 2019.
  27. ^ Graham Warwick (27 August 2019). "The Week In Technology, 26-30 August 2019". Aviation Week & Space Technology.
  28. ^ "Dornier." Flight International, 21 March 1981. p. 845.
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  31. ^ "Dornier extends its range." Flight International, 29 May 1982. p. 1364.
  32. ^ a b c "Economical and flexible. The Dornier 228 Advanced Commuter." RUAG Aviation, Retrieved: 27 February 2016.
  33. ^ Collins, Peter. "FLIGHT TEST: Ruag's Dornier 228NG put to the test." Flight International, 31 August 2012.
  34. ^ "More Power for Dornier." Flying Magazine, November 1990. Vol. 117, No. 11. ISSN 0015-4806. p. 47.
  35. ^ "World Airline Census 2018". Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  36. ^ James Wynbrandt (14 July 2018). "Ruag Touts New-generation Dornier 228". AIN online.
  37. ^ "Dornier 228". Flight Safety Foundation. 4 March 2016.
  38. ^ "Dornier 228 Statistics". Aviation Safety Network. 12 January 2021.
  39. ^ "occurrences in the ASN safety database". Flight Safety Foundation. 7 July 2018.
  40. ^ Aviation safety network – Report on Polar 3 accessed: 18 April 2009
  41. ^ "Nine killed as IA plane crashes into naval workshop". United News of India. 30 July 1998. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  42. ^ "13 Indians among 15 killed in Nepal air crash". Hindustan Times. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  43. ^ "Corpflite Dornier 228 CC-CNW crashes in Chile, two pilots killed". World Airline News. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  44. ^ "Indian Navy Dornier plane crashes in Goa; woman among 2 officers missing". The Indian Express. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
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  46. ^ "29 August 2015 NAF030 Accident". Aviation Safety Network. 9 July 2018.
  47. ^ Greg Waldron (25 November 2019). "Dornier 228 crash in Congo kills up to 29: reports". Flightglobal.
  48. ^ "Dornier 228 Advanced Commuter (AC) Facts & Figures". RUAG.
  49. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  50. ^ a b "Type certificate data sheet A.359 - Dornier 228 Series" (PDF). European Aviation Safety Agency. 4 January 2017.

External links[edit]

External video
video icon Dornier 228 conducting aerobatic maneuvers at the 1986 Reykjavik Airshow
video icon Demonstration of Transportable Optical Ground Station using a Dornier 228
video icon Walkaround of a Dornier 228 on the ground