This ’60s British Turboprop Plane Is So Good, It’s Still In Service Today


Outside of the British production run, the HS 748 was also manufactured under license in India by Hindustan Aeronautics. Over the years, a total of 89 aircraft were built in India, known as the HAL 748. Most were utilized by the Indian Air Force, but 17 were assigned commercial duty for Indian Airlines.

Over the years, numerous improvements were made to the HS 748, mostly revolving around higher horsepower engines and increased weight capacity. In the late-1970s, the plane was more significantly redesigned as the Series 2B, sometimes referred to as the “Super 748.” Revisions included a larger wingspan, “hush kits” for quieter engine operation, and a modernized cabin and flight deck.

Though initially intended for commercial use, a variation of the plane known as the HS 780 Andover was adopted as a transport by the Royal Air Force. In contrast to the HS 748, the HS 780 has an upswept tail to facilitate a large loading ramp at the rear. Cargo handling capability was also improved by shorter landing gear that lowered the aircraft closer to the ground.

Overall, a total of 381 aircraft were produced, including those built in India. In 2023, a handful of the durable planes are still operating around the globe, primarily as cargo carriers in Canada. 

[Featured image by Jan Heistermann – via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY 3.0]

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