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ATR's partially configured 42-600S STOL variant makes its first flightTOULOUSE, FRANCE — ATR's new 30 to 50 seater turboprop, which will be capable of taking off and landing on shorter runways, enters ground and flight testing phase. Today, the Franco-Italian turboprop manufacturer ATR announced the first flight of the partially configured STOL variant (for 'Short Take-Off and Landing') of its ATR 42-600 aircraft. The flight took off at 10:00 from Francazal airport in France and lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. (www.airlinerwatch.com) More...
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I flew the original ATR42's about 30 years ago into and out of Rodrigues island Mauritius (Indian Ocean) which had a 3000ft strip 50ft wide, granted it was very near sea level but had no problems. We took off with just 92% power didn't have auto brakes/spoiler and had no problems in most cases the landing wasn't as critical as the takeoff as the end of the strip was a ravine so you had to fly at V1 or die. It was a nice little airplane and a hell of a lot more fun to fly than a A340/330 I flew later.