Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR42 & ATR72

Aérospatiale and Alenia jointly developed the ATR42 commuter aircraft in the 1980s, as a response to the deregulated air transport market in the USA. The 45-50 seat ATR42 was later joined by the longer ATR72. The aircraft can especially be recognised by large vertical stabiliser and associated dorsal fin, with two bents in the leading edge. Other characteristics are the short landing gear, retracting in pods underneath the fuselage, and the pointed tail cone. The latter is also a characteristic of the smaller Dornier 328, with which the ATR42 can be confused.

Nose section of ATR42/ATR72, with six cockpit windows.

Tail of ATR42 & ATR72, with the characteristic tail cone and vertical stabiliser/dorsal fin.

Different versions

How to recognise the different versions of the ATR family will be added later.

Confusion possible with



The aircraft that looks most like an ATR42 is the IPTN N250 pictured here. It has a similar short landing gear and cockpit windows, but has oval cabin windows. Also it has a normal dorsal fin instead of the two-step dorsal fin of the ATR. (photo WikiMedia/Eka viation)

Dornier 328-100

do328 110

The Dornier 328-100 has the same pointy tail cone and short landing gear as the ATR42, but has oval cabin windows and four instead of six cockpit windows. Also note the streamline body on top of the fuselage.

Let L-610

l 610m

The L-610 can be regarded as a crossover between a small ATR42 and the L-410. Of the latter, the cockpit windows, more pointed nose and single nose wheel seem to be borrowed. The aircraft has a normal dorsal fin. (photo WikiMedia/Aldo Bidini)

DeHavilland Canada DHC-8

dhc 8 400

While being of the same size and basic configuration as the ATR, the Dash 8 series can be easily recognised by longer engine nacelles, in which the long main landing gear retracts.