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Saab Turbo-superstar 340s

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  • Saab Turbo-superstar 340s

    I am a big fan of Gemini's push to smaller prop moulds (though it seems to have stopped recently) and their Saab mould is not only the smallest 1:400 scale mould but also very nice. Hell it almost looks better than the real thing!

    Having said that I got my second Saab just recently and I was a bit disappointed as unlike my first example the nose gear is too short, giving the plane an odd appearance. I did get the model from a collection sale so can't be 100% sure if its been broken and fixed but it doesn't appear to have been. Does anyone else have this issue?

    Gemini Jets 1:400 Saab 340s by rstretton, on Flickr

    The mould's so small that I can almost overlook this issue and it doesn't look out of place amongst my Northwest fleet.

    Saab 340 Production

    The 340 itself was originally a joint venture between Fairchild and Saab first flying in 1983. The US manufacturer withdrew from the programme after 40 units and the SF340 became the Saab 340A. 159 SF340/340As were built followed by 200 Saab 340Bs (from 1989) and then 100 340B+s from 1994. Production stopped after 459 aircraft in 1999. Its a real shame that the Saab 2000 had such teething troubles and was outfought in a saturated marketplace as it is a bit of a looker.

    My Saabs

    My first Saab was the lovely 97 colours Colgan US Airways example. Colgan Air started operations in December 1991 initially flying under its own colours with B1900s until 1997 when it began flying for Continental and then US Airways. From 2000 Colgan began to purchase over 35 second-hand Saab 340s. Colgan was purchased by Pinnacle in 2007 and operated independently until 2012 when it was closed and its operations merged into the parent. N338CJ was originally N338SB delivered to Simmons Airlines in mid 1993. She was transferred to Wings West in September 94 but merged into American Eagle in mid 1998. They continued to operate her until September 2004 when she was bought by Colgan and painted into US Express colours. As of July 2012 she is in storage.:

    US Airways Saab 340 by rstretton, on Flickr

    Mesaba did not become a Saab 340 operator until 1996 when it signed an agreement to continue its long term relationship with Northwest Airlines as a feeder operator with the Swedish turboprop. As another of Northwest’s partners, Express Airlines 1 (later Pinnacle) transitioned to regional jets Mesaba’s Saab fleet exploded and it eventually operated 90 of the type including many new examples of the ultimate Saab 340B+. N423XJ was delivered new from Saab in 1997 via Lambert leasing. After thirteen years she was returned to the lessor and exported to Thailand for Nok Mini as HS-GBD. In June 2014 she returned to the USA with her old registration for AeroCentury.

    Mesaba Airlines (Northwest Airlink) Saab 340+ by rstretton, on Flickr

    Mesaba Airlines (Northwest Airlink) Saab 340+ by rstretton, on Flickr

    Mesaba Airlines (Northwest Airlink) Saab 340+ by rstretton, on Flickr

    Saabs in 1:400

    In 1:400 14 Saab 340s have been made. JC Wings look like they made the mould originally but there first two releases have absurdly large wheels. Gemini next modified the wheels for their release - the American Eagle - shame they made a mess of the cockpit windows. JC Wings have made two other later releases but otherwise almost all the Gemini releases are 2000s versions.

    Something that has slightly annoyed me given the diversity of operators is Gemini's hard on for Colgan and Mesaba. Of Gemini's 10 releases 4 have been Colgan and 3 have been Mesaba.

    Future Releases

    There are far too many Saab 340s that could be made though obviously I'd prefer US commuters from the late 80s or early 90s like:


    Bar Harbor (Eastern)

    Business Express

    Business Express (Delta)

    Express Airlines 1 (Republic)

    Express Airlines 1 (Northwest)

    Brockway Air (Piedmont Commuter)

    Metro Air Northeast (TWA)

    Plus a couple of Europeans:



    Dream on Richard, Dream On!!!
    REX would surely be the most obvious choice for a modern Saab. They don't show any sign of retiring their large fleet which are common in Australia, especially at Sydney.


  • #2
    Nice post! I've always loved the Saab 340. I took an American Eagle Saab 340 when I was younger. That was the only turboprop flight I ever took. The flight felt more like a roller coaster ride. The Saab 340 is a really a nimble, and comfortable commuter, but when that plane is on final, I always hung on to my seat!

    Cloud Services Admin/Collector since 2006


    • JAL1628
      JAL1628 commented
      Editing a comment
      That is a really cool memory.. great description. I love flying the turboprops.. My only experience is with the Dash 8. The first time I rode in one I had two distinct impressions 1. during takeoff the airplane leapt right off the runway and 2. at cruising altitude the airplane feels like it's barely moving forward.

      I'd love to be able to look out over the wing on a Saab. I'm afraid I might have missed my chance, at least here in the US.

      I have a handful of the GJ Saabs, and I also hope they will continue to make more small models.

    • fleetlordatvar
      fleetlordatvar commented
      Editing a comment
      JAL & FireAngelZero, just a reminder in case you don't or are not used to doing it. you can like this post .

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