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The SAAB 340 is a Swedish designed twin-engine turboprop regional airliner that first flew in 1983 and was in production until 1999. The SAAB 340 benefitted from design and construction techniques developed for combat aircraft to help reduce weight and for a time following its commercial launch in 1984 it was the best-selling commuter airliner in the world. The SAAB 340 has also found a military use either as a VIP transport, coastguard patrol aircraft or as an AWACS using a dorsal mounted radar array.
Cranfield University operate a single SAAB 340B as a test platform called the National Flying Laboratory Centre. The aircraft acts as a flying classroom and a laboratory which can be used to test client's experimental equipment or analyse potential future airborne equipment. Over 1,200 students fly on board the aircraft each year as part of their degree course and the instruments on board provide the passengers with real-time data allowing students to act as flight test engineers during flights.
Cranfield University will be providing their National Flying Laboratory Centre for static display at this year's Air Tattoo. This will be a RIAT debut for their SAAB 340. Photo Credit: Cranfield University