Dornier 228
A RUAG Dornier 228NG in 2012
Role Utility aircraft
Manufacturer Dornier GmbH
General Atomics
Built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
First flight 28 March 1981
Introduction July 1982
Status Active service
Primary users Indian Air Force
Indian Coast Guard
Indian Navy
Produced Dornier: 1982–1997
HAL: 1985–present
RUAG: 2010–2020
General Atomics: 2021-Present
Number built Dornier: 245[1]
HAL: 125.[2]
Developed from Dornier Do 28

The Dornier 228 is a twin-turboprop STOL utility aircraft, designed and first manufactured by Dornier GmbH (later DASA Dornier, Fairchild-Dornier) from 1981 until 1998. Two hundred and forty-five were built in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. In 1983, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) bought a production licence and manufactured another 125 aircraft in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. In July 2017, 63 aircraft were still in airline service.

In 2009, RUAG started building a Dornier 228 New Generation in Germany. The fuselage, wings and tail unit are manufactured by HAL in Kanpur, India, and transported to Oberpfaffenhofen, where RUAG Aviation carries out aircraft final assembly. The Dornier 228NG uses the same airframe with improved technologies and performances, such as a new five-blade propeller, glass cockpit and longer range.[3] The first delivery was made in September 2010 to a Japanese operator.[4] In 2020, RUAG sold the Dornier 228 program to General Atomics.[5]



Experimental Do-28D modified with the Do-228 supercritical wing

In the late 1970s, Dornier GmbH developed a new kind of wing, the TNT (Tragflügel neuer Technologie – Aerofoil new technology), subsidized by the German Government.[6] Dornier tested it on a modified Do 28D-2 Skyservant and with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-110 turboprop engines. Finally, Dornier changed the engine and tested the new aircraft, which was named Dornier 128 with two Garrett AiResearch TPE-331-5 engines.[7] The company developed a new fuselage for the TNT and TPE 331–5 in two variants (15- and 19-passenger) and named both project-aircraft E-1 (later Dornier 228-100) and E-2 (later Dornier 228-200). At the ILA Berlin Air Show in 1980, Dornier presented the new aircraft to the public. Both of the prototypes were flown on 28 March 1981 and 9 May 1981 for the first time.[7][8]

The Dornier 228 prototype at Farnborough 1982 in Norving colors, its first operator

After German certification was granted on 18 December 1981, the first Dornier 228-100 entered service in the fleet of Norving in July 1982.[7] The first operator of the larger Dornier 228-200 entered service with Jet Charters in late 1982.[9] Certification from both British and American aviation authorities followed on 17 April and 11 May 1984 respectively.[8] By 1983, the production rate of the Dornier 228 had risen to three aircraft per month; at this point, Dornier had targeted that 300 Dornier 228s would be produced by the end of the 1980s.[9] In November 1983, a major license-production and phased technology-transfer agreement between Dornier and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was signed; a separate production line was established and produced its first aircraft in 1985. By 2014, a total of 125 Dornier 228s had been produced in India.[10]

Over the years, Dornier offered the 228 in upgraded variants and fitted with optional equipment for performing various special missions. In 1996, it was announced that all manufacturing operations would be transferred to India. In 1998, activity on the German production line was halted, in part to concentrate on the production of the larger Fairchild-Dornier 328 and in response to Dornier's wider financial difficulties.[10]

Dornier 228NG

The main outside change of the 228NG is the five-bladed propeller

In 2002, RUAG took over the Services and Components divisions from Fairchild Dornier, including the Dornier 228 production rights.[5] RUAG acquired the Dornier 228 type certificate in 2003.[11] In December 2007, RUAG announced their intention to launch a modernized version of the aircraft, designated as the Dornier 228 Next Generation, or Dornier 228 NG.[10][1][12] At the 2008 Berlin Air Show, HAL agreed on supplying the first three components sets — fuselage, wings and tail — for €5 million, as a part of an €80 million ($123 million) ten-year contract.[13] In June 2010, the passenger aircraft was priced at €5.2 million ($7 million), €5.8–5.9 million with JAR-Ops equipment; restarting its production cost €20 million.[14]

On 18 August 2010, the Dornier 228NG received its airworthiness certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).[15] The final assembly for the type is located in Germany; however, most airframe subassemblies, such as the wings, tail and fuselage, are produced by HAL in India.[1][16][17] The main changes from the previous Dornier 228-212 model were a new five-blade propeller made of composite material, more powerful engines and an advanced glass cockpit featuring electronic instrument displays and other avionics improvements.[11][18]

The first delivery, to the Japanese operator New Central Aviation, took place in September 2010.[19] RUAG decided to suspend production of the Dornier 228 NG after the completion of an initial batch of eight aircraft in 2013. In 2014, RUAG and Tata Group signed an agreement for the latter to become a key supplier of the program.[20] Production was restarted in 2015, with deliveries of four per year planned from 2016.[21] In February 2016, RUAG announced that they were set to begin serial production of the Dornier 228 NG at its German production line in mid-2016;[20][22] the assembly line is reportedly capable of producing a maximum of 12 aircraft per year.[23]

On 30 September 2020, US firm General Atomics bought the Dornier 228 production line in Oberpfaffenhofen, including the transfer of all 450 employees, pending regulatory approval.[24] The sale was announced on 15 October 2020,[5] and was completed in February 2021.[25]

Hindustan 228

In late 2017, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a type certificate to the Hindustan 228. The aircraft was so far being manufactured under licence from RUAG for Indian defence forces and European markets would now be allowed to operate in India for commercial purposes.[26] The 228 made its public debut in 2020 at the Dubai Airshow.[27] Alliance Air signed an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to lease two 17-seater Dornier 228 aircraft in September 2021. The first aircraft was delivered to Alliance Air on 7 April 2022.[28] The HAL Dornier 228 had previously only been used by the Indian Armed Forces but was modified by HAL for commercial operations. Alliance Air deployed the aircraft on a new route connecting Dibrugarh, Assam and Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh on 12 April 2022, becoming the first airline to use an Indian-made aircraft in civil aviation operations and the first commercial airline in the country to operate the Dornier 228 aircraft.[29]

Hybrid-electric demonstrators

Supported by Bavarian funding, the German DLR is modifying one of its two Dornier 228 into a demonstrator hybrid electric aircraft. The first fully electric flight is planned for 2020 and the first hybrid-electric flight for 2021, apparently from Cochstedt Airport. Partners include MTU Aero Engines and Siemens, of which Rolls-Royce plc is acquiring the electric propulsion unit.[30]

On 19 January 2023, ZeroAvia flew its Dornier 228 testbed during 10 minutes with one TPE331 turboprop replaced by a prototype hydrogen-electric powertrain in the cabin: two fuel cells and a lithium-ion battery for peak power, towards a certifiable configuration by 2025.[31]


Head-on view showing the rectangular fuselage
Two across seating
Analog flight deck pre-228NG

The Dornier 228 is a twin-engine general purpose aircraft, capable of transporting up to 19 passengers or various cargoes. It is powered by a pair of Garrett TPE331 turboprop engines. The Dornier 228 is commonly classified as a Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL)-capable aircraft, being capable of operating from rough runways and in hot climates. This capability has been largely attributed to the type's supercritical wing which generates large amounts of lift at slow speeds.[9][16] The Dornier 228 is typically promoted for its versatility, low operational costs, and a high level of reliability – possessing a dispatch reliability of 99%. RUAG Aviation have claimed that no other aircraft in the same class may carry as much cargo or as many passengers over a comparable distance as fast as the Dornier 228 NG.[16]

The rectangular shape of the Dornier 228's fuselage section and large side-loading doors make it particularly suitable for utility operators, which is a market that Dornier had targeted with the type from the onset.[9] According to Flight International, one of the more distinguishing features of the Dornier 228 is the supercritical wing used.[9][32] The structure of the wing is atypical, consisting of a box formed from four integrally-milled alloy panels. Kevlar is used for the ribs, stringers, trailing edge and fowler flaps, and the wing's leading edge is conventional alloy sheet metal.[6][33] Benefits of this wing over conventional methodology include a 15% reduction in weight, the elimination of 12,000 rivets, and lowering the per-aircraft manufacturing workload by roughly 340 man hours. Both the fuselage and tail are of a conventional design, but make use of chemical milling in order to save weight.[9]

Maritime patrol variant of the Finnish Border Guard, with a radome under the fuselage
Radar console for maritime patrol

The Dornier 228 has been promoted in various capacities, including as a commuter aircraft, a military transporter, cargo hauler, or as a special missions aircraft. Special missions include maritime surveillance, border patrol, medevac, search and rescue, paradrop and environmental research missions, in which capacity the type has proven useful due to a ten-hour flight endurance, a wide operating range, low operational cost, and varied equipment range.[6][16][34][35] Special equipment available to be installed include a 360-degree surveillance radar, side-looking airborne radar, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor, search light, operator station, real-time datalink, enlarged fuel tanks, satellite uplink, stretches, air-openable roller door, and infrared/ultraviolet sensors.[16] In addition to a 19-seat commuter configuration for airlines, a VIP cabin configuration is also offered; the cabin can also be customized as per each client's specifications. The Dornier 228 is the only aircraft of its class to be fitted with air conditioning as standard.[16][36]

Dornier 228NG

More than 350 design changes are present between the Dornier 228 and the re-launched Dornier 228 NG. Amongst the principal changes is the adoption of Universal's UNS-1 glass cockpit, which means that standard aircraft are equipped to be flown under single-pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) in addition to visual flight rules (VFR); according to RUAG Aviation, the Dornier 228 NG is the first aircraft in its class to be certified with equivalent electronics.[16][37] A total of four large displays are used in the cockpit, two primary flight displays and two multifunction displays, to present all key flight data.[6] The navigation system includes VHF omnidirectional range (VOR), distance measuring equipment (DME), automatic direction finder (ADF), radar altimeter, Global Positioning System (GPS), air data computer, and a flight management system. A three-axis autopilot can be optionally incorporated, as can a weather radar and high frequency (HF) radio.[16][36] While designed for two-pilot operation, the Dornier 228 can be flown by only one crewmember.[9]

Additional changes include the Garrett TPE331-10 engines, which have been optimized to work with the redesigned five-bladed fibre-composite propellers now used by the type, which are more efficient, quick to start, and produces substantially less vibration and noise than the original metal four-bladed predecessor.[16][9][38] Through its engines, the Dornier 228 NG has the longest time between overhaul (TBO) of any 19-seat aircraft, reportedly up to 7,000 hours. An engine-indicating and crew-alerting system (EICAS) is also present for safety purposes; additional optional safety equipment akin to much larger passenger aircraft, including airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS) and terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS), can be incorporated as well.[16] At 8,000 ft (2,400 m) in clean config, the 228NG burns 360 lb (160 kg) of fuel per hour at a 120 kn (220 km/h) cruise.[37]


Main article: List of Dornier 228 operators

In July 2018, 57 aircraft were in airline service.[39] Other operators include police, law enforcement, paramilitary operators and military operators.

By July 2018, the fleet accumulated over four million flight hours.[40]

Accidents and incidents

The Dornier 228 has been involved in 54 aviation accidents and incidents including 41 hull losses.[41] Those resulted in 205 fatalities[42]

Accidents with fatalities[43]
Date Flight Fat. Location Event Surv.
26 March 1982 Dornier 3 Germany, near Igenhausen Prototype test flight, loss of control 0
24 February 1985 AWI Polar 3 3 West Sahara, near Dakhla Shot down by the Polisario Front guerrillas[44] 0
23 September 1989 Vayudoot PF624 11 India, near Indapur Loss of control 0
18 April 1991 Air Tahiti 805 10 French Polynesia, near Nuku Hiva Engine failure on approach not acknowledged then ditching 12
2 January 1993 Indian Coast Guard 4 India, near Paradip Crashed into sea 2
28 February 1993 Formosa Airlines 6 Taiwan, near Orchid Island Struck the sea while approaching Orchid Island in heavy rain 0
31 July 1993 Everest Air 19 Nepal, near Bharatpur Airport Controlled Flight Into Terrain (Mountain) while on approach 0
5 April 1996 Formosa 7613 6 Taiwan, near Matsu Airport Crashed while attempting to land 11
10 August 1997 Formosa 7601 16 Taiwan, near Matsu Airport Crashed while attempting to land 0
6 September 1997 Royal Brunei 839 10 Malaysia, near Miri Airport Crashed at Lambir Hills National Park on approach 0
30 July 1998 Indian Airlines 503 9 India, Cochin airport Poor stabiliser maintenance, loss of control, 3 killed on ground[45] 0
7 August 1999 TACV Flight 5002 18 Cape Verde, Santo Antão Airport Controlled Flight Into Terrain – Mountain 0
17 September 2006 Nigerian Air Force 13 Nigeria, near Vandeikya Controlled Flight Into Terrain – Mountain 5
24 August 2010 Agni Air Flight 101 14 Nepal, near Shikharpur, Narayani Controlled Flight Into Terrain – Mountain 0
14 May 2012 Agni Air 15 Nepal, near Jomsom Airport Crashed while attempting to land[46] 6
28 September 2012 Sita Air Flight 601 19 Nepal, near Kathmandu Airport Engine bird strike, crashed and burned shortly after takeoff 0
9 September 2013 CorpFlite 2 Chile, near Viña del Mar Airport Crashed into power lines whilst attempting to land in fog[47] 0
24 March 2015 Indian Navy 2 Indian Ocean, near Goa, India Believed to have plunged into the sea after technical problems[48][49] 0
8 June 2015 Indian Coast Guard 3 Indian Ocean, near Pichavaram Crashed into sea, located on 10 July, 16.5 nmi off coast 0
29 August 2015 Nigerian Air Force 7 Kaduna, Nigeria Crashed into a house and burned near departure airport[50] 0
24 November 2019 Busy Bee Congo 20+6 Goma, DR Congo Crashed on takeoff from Goma Airport[51] 1
10 June 2024 Malawi Defence Force 10 Chikangawa Forest Reserve, Malawi Crashed en route from Lilongwe to Mzuzu[52] 0

Specifications (Dornier 228NG)

3-view line drawing of the Dornier 228
3-view line drawing of the Dornier 228

Data from RUAG.[53]

General characteristics


See also

An Agni Air Dornier 228 in front of a Twin Otter of Tara Air in Lukla Airport, Nepal

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


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  2. ^ "HAL Bags Rs. 1090 Crore Contract for Supplying 14 Do-228 Aircraft to IAF" (Press release). HAL. 5 February 2015.
  3. ^ Dornier 228 Archived 2010-06-25 at the Wayback Machine RUAG Dornier 228 webpage. RUAG. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
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External videos
video icon Dornier 228 conducting aerobatic maneuvers at the 1986 Reykjavik Airshow
video icon Demonstration of Transportable Optical Ground Station using a Dornier 228
video icon Walkaround of a Dornier 228 on the ground