British Aerospace (Handley Page/Scottish Aviation) Jetstream

Wishing to remain an independent aircraft manufac­turer in the UK Handley Page saw a market in the 1960s for a turboprop powered commuter aircraft somewhat larger than the Beechcraft King Air, Turbo Commander and Swearingen Merlin II. This became the HP137 Jetstream. After Handley Page went bankrupt, Scottish Aviation took over produc­tion, which then ended in 1975. The deregulation of the airlines in the USA at the end of the 1970s brought a new demand, which British Aerospace was willing to satisfy with a revived version of the Jetstream. This was easy as Scot­tish Aviation had been absorbed into the company. 

The Jetstream has a relatively wide, circular fuselage, with quite a long, pointed nose. Together with the seven flat cockpit windows it gives the aircraft a charac­te­ristic front appearance. The fuselage has large oval cabin windows, in portrait mode. The tail is of a cruci­form design. The main gear has single wheels and retracts sideways in the wings. The nose gear has two wheels and retracts forward in the nose.

The long pointed nose and the seven flat cockpit windows give the Jetstream a typical look.

The cruciform tail has the horizontal stabilisers attached to the vertical stabiliser at about two thirds from the top

Different versions

The different versions of the Jetstream can be identified by looking at:

  • the shape of the engine nacelles
  • the number of propeller blades
  • the shape of the nose
  • the presence of eyebrow cockpit windows
  • the presence of an overwing emergency exit on the left side
  • the presence of a radome underneath the fuselage

HP137 Jetstream I, Jetstream 2 & Jetstream 200

All these Jetstream versions are powered by a variant of the Turbomeca Astazou engine. These are recognised by the shape of the engine nacelles: they have a ring-shaped air intake quite distant from the tip of the propeller spinner. Additionally, there is a smaller cooler intake at the bottom of the nacelles. The Jetstream II has higher power engine than the Jetstream I; Jetstream 200 is the marketing name of the Jetstream II built by Scottish Aviation. There seem to be no external differences.

The Jetstream I, II and 200 has distinguished by the typical nacelle shape of the Turbomeca Astazou engines.

Here is a detail photo of the Astazou engine nacelles, with ring-shaped air intake way aft of the prop spinner.

Jetstream T1

These aircraft were multi engine trainers for the Royal Air Force. They are the same as the Jetstream I, except for the eyebrow cockpit windows.

Jetstream T1 is the RAF designation for the Jetstream I in use as multi engine trainer. Note the typical eyebrow cockpit windows!

Jetstream T2

The Royal Navy used converted Jetstream T1s for training observers. Hence these Jetstream T2s are equipped with a radar in the longer nose. They also have a wire antenna from the top of the cockpit to the tail.

Except for the longer radar nose and wire antenna the Jetstream T2 is the same as the Jetstream T1.

Jetstream 3M

Handley Page had received a contract from the United States Air Force to deliver Jetstreams as small transport aircraft. These had the designation C-10A. However, none were delivered as the order was cancelled. Just one Jetstream 3M prototype was built. It has Garrett TPE331 engines like the later Jetstream 31, but with air intakes below the propellers. These props had only three blades. The double cabin doors that were planned for the C-10A were not yet placed.

Meant as the prototype for the C-10A the Jetstream 3M was a HP137 prototype converted with TPE331 engines, in clearly different nacelles than the Turbomeca powered ones.

Riley Jetstream

Jack Riley, known amongst others for converting DH104 Doves with more modern engines, was one of the driving forces behind the HP137 development. While he selected the Turbo­meca Astazou engine, it proved a non-optimal choice. Therefore he offered a conversion with Pratt & Whitney PT6A engines. These Riley Jetstreams can be recognised by nacelles with an air intake at the bottom and exhausts at each side, just behind the prop.

The Riley Jetstream is the only version with PT6A engines, distinguished by the single intake at the bottom of the nacelle, and exhausts at both sides.

Century Jetstream III

Century Aircraft offered another engine conversion of the original HP137s. They used the TPE331 engines, in the same upside down configuration as the later Jetstream 31. So the air intake is on top of the nacelle as well. However, the shape of the nacelle is different, having a flatter bottom and more curved top than on the Jetstream 31s with the highest point further aft. They have three blade props.

Like the Jetstream 31 the Century Jetstream III has TPE331 engines with air intake at the top of the nacelles, so they look very similar. However, the Century III has different nacelles and three blade props. (photo: Richard Vandervord)

Jetstream 31 & 31EP

To capture a part of the market created by the deregulation of air transport in the United States, British Aerospace revived the Jetstream. It fitted it with TPE331 engines, with air intakes above the propellers. The nacelles are more streamlined than those of the Jetstream III though. Moreover, the engines have four blade props. Jetstream 31s can optionally be fitted with a cargo/bagge pod underneath the fuselage.

For each country British Aerospace had to slightly adapt the basic model. The model numbers used were 01 for United States, 02 for United Kingdom, 03 for Germany, 07 for Australia, 08 for the Netherlands, 09 for Italy, 10 for Sweden, 12 for Canada and 16 for Switzerland.

Compare this Jetstream 3108 to the Century III above and you will see that the nacelle shape is slightly different. Additionally, the Jetstream 31 has four blades on each propeller

This detail photo allows a better comparison of the Jetstream 31 with the Jetstream III.

Jetstream 32 & 32EP

An improved version of the Jetstream 31 is called the Jetstream 32. It has more powerful engines, but that is not visible on the outside. However, the Jetstream 32 has an overwing emergency on the left hand side as well, while earlier models only have it on the right side. Like the Series 31 many have a bagage pod underneath the fuselage, but not all.

For each country British Aerospace had to slightly adapt the basic model. The model numbers used were 01 for United States, 02 for United Kingdom, 06 for France, 07 for Australia, 12 for Canada, 16 for Switzerland and 17 for Japan.

Due to the different colour of the overwing emergency exit this Jetstream is easily identified as a Jetstream 32.

Jetstream T3

The Royal Navy also acquired a training version of the Jetstream 31, which it designated Jetstream T3. The T Mark 3 can be distinguished from the T Mark 2 by the engine nacelles, standard nose and radome underneath the middle of the fuselage. Compared to the standard Jetstream 31 is has a radome, wire antenna and eyebrow cockpit windows.

The Jetstream T3 has the Jetstream 31's engines and nose, but eyebrow cockpit windows and a radome under the fuselage. (photo: Mike Freer - Touchdown Aviation/WikiMedia)

Confusion possible with

Swearingen/Fairchild Merlin III


The Merlin III was a short body devel­opment of the Metroliner. This makes that the Merlin is proportio­nally more similar in appearance to the Jetstream than the Metro described below. The Merlin has larger, landscape oriented rectangular cabin windows though and two wheels on the main gear, that retracts in the nacelles.

Swearingen/Fairchild Metroliner


Falls in the same category as the Jet­stream and as similar fea­tures, like a cruci­form tail (but much bigger dorsal fin) and the engine nacelles. The Metro­liner has a narrower, longer fuselage though, with rectan­gular cabin windows and fewer cock­pit win­dows. The main gear has double wheels and retracts forward in the nacelles.

British Aerospace Jetstream 41

jetstream 41

This is the bigger brother of the Jet­stream 31, and both have significant similarities. The Jetstream 41 has six cockpit windows though, a cabin door at the front, a less tall vertical stabiliser and a much larger wing-fuselage fairing (not to be confused with a baggage pod).

Embraer EMB110 Bandei­rante


The size is about the same as the Jet­stream, as is the general configuration, but the Bandei­rante has a regular tail, an all single wheel gear, a shorter nose and rectangular cabin win­dows in land­scape mode.

Beech 99

beech 99a

The Beech 99 is contemporary to the first generation Jetstream. It however has square, non roun­ded cabin win­dows, a rear­ward retracting single wheel nose gear, double wheels on the main gear and a regular tail. The na­celles are also diffe­rent.