As a result of its short-takeoff qualities and its family policy, the Dash 8 has become a very successful aircraft in regional aviation market. In 1980 the project was launched as successor of the Dash 7. In 1983 there was the first flight of the Dash 8(-100), at the end of 1984 launching customer norOntario could receive its first Dash 8.
The Dash 8-100 is manufactured for up to 40 passengers and driven by Pratt&Whitney PW120 turboprops. de Havilland was taken over by Boeing (later by Bombardier) and developed the Dash 8-300 with up to 56 seats. To achieve this, the -300 was stretched about three and a half metres. In 1992 the Dash 8-200 with more powerful engines (PW123) was released. In the middle of the Eighties a noise reduction system was installed and these Dash 8 were renamed Dash 8Q (for Quiet).
Finally in 1995 the Dash 8-400 was presented, compared with the -300 nearly seven metres stretched and for up to 78 passengers. Compared with the older models it got a new glass flight deck. New engines are used, too: PW150. The first flight was on January 31st 1998, first deliveries took place in 2000. As the turboprop market is more and more dominated by regional jets, the Dash 8-400 is one of the last new developments in the turboprop field in the last years.