27 September 2009

In the postwar period three British turboprop aircraft vied to be the next DC-3 replacement- the Avro 748, the Handley-Page Herald, and the Aviation Traders ATL.90 Accountant. Only the Accountant (so named due its advertised "good economics"), never reached service.

Aviation Traders was founded in 1948 by Freddie Laker, one of Britain's foremost aviation entrepreneurs. His company dealt initially with the scrapping of surplus war aircraft and later moved into the modification of existing aircraft. In the 1950s Laker decided to take the company into the realm of full aircraft manufacturing. At the 1953 Farnborough Air Show, the company revealed a 28-passenger aircraft powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops designed to operate from austere airfields. A stretched version seating 42 passengers was also planned and a swing nose was planned to ease the loading of freight (which was why the nose wheel was set so far back in the design).

The prototype first flew in July 1957 but as Aviation Traders was not an established manufacturer the Accountant failed to attract any orders other than interest from the Indian Air Force. Laker didn't have the funds to continue supporting the project and he failed to find an established manufacturer to take on production of the design. The larger Fokker Friendship F-27 proved to be a dominating competitor in the market and after only five months of flying and 200 flight hours, the Accountant never flew again. It would be scrapped in 1960.

Source: British Airliner Prototypes Since 1945 by Stephen Skinner. Midland Publishing, 2008, p119.

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