Who says that regional jets cannot still be useful after their first life as passenger aircraft? The Mexican aviation company Aeronaves TSM from Saltillo, north of Mexico City, will enlarge its CRJ regional jets, which have been converted into freighters. The cargo and passenger charter airline recently bought two CRJ200s and will have them converted to cargo aircraft by Aeronautical Enginees, Inc. (AEI) in Dothan, Alabama. Both jets are currently in the Arizona desert at Kingman Airfield. The conversion of the two CRJs is to begin in May and September of this year, respectively.
Major intervention in the structure
In 2018, AEI converted the first CRJ into a cargo aircraft – at that time already on behalf of Aeronaves TSM. The conversion of a regional jet into a cargo aircraft is a major intervention in the structure of the aircraft. A large, hydraulically operated cargo door (2.39 meters by 1.78 meters) is inserted between the entrance door behind the cockpit and the wings. The cabin windows are closed with aluminum panels and an Ancra cargo loading system is installed on the reinforced cabin floor. Finally, the maintenance company installs a smoke and cargo barrier behind the cockpit. At the customer’s request, up to two seats for cargo attendants can be installed. After the conversion, up to eight pallets with a total weight of 6,731 kilograms will fit in the loading space.
Aeronaves TSM operates over 50 aircraft, including eleven DC-9Fs, 13 MD-80Fs and over a dozen SA227 swearingen.
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