Type of aircraft
|Date first flight
|29.00 m/95 ft 2 in
|25.25 m/82 ft 10 in
|70 0m2 (753.5sq ft)
|number of passengers
|Series 100 & 300 - Operating empty 12,520kg (27,6021b)
|1 9,950kg (43,9801b), or optionally 20,820kg (45,9001b)
|max 2500 shp
|2678 km/1665 NM
|25000 ft/7625 m
|287 kts/532 km/h
Flightcrew of two. Standard seating for 50 at four abreast and 81cm (32in) pitch.
Max high density seating for 58. Available
In the early eighties some new entrants in the turbopropmarket with a capacity between 30 and 50 seats were developed (ATR-42, DHC-8, Saab 340, CN 235, Embraer 120 Brasilia).
By using a new engine fokker logo /propellor combination and a new design the operating costs of those airplanes were lower than the operating costs of somewhat bigger 50 seats Fokker Friendship F-27, which was then already in production and in service for more then 25 years.
In October 1981 a feasibility study was started to investigate the possibilities for a re-engined F-27. This study resulted in the middle of 1983 in the development of the Fokker 50, a fully modernised 50 seats version of the F-27, equiped with new Pratt & Whitney 124 turboprop engines.
First flight of the prototype took place on the 28th of December 1985. The 5th of May 1987 the Fokker 50 received its type certificate and deliveries started to launching customers Ansett Airlines and DLT.
On the basis of the Fokker 50 the following types and versions have been developed:
Fokker 50 Maritime Enforcer Mk II
Fokker 50-120 INC (Increased Capacity, 56 seats)
Fokker 50-300 Hot&High version (PW 127 engines)
Fokker 50 Utility Transporter version A and B
Fokker 60 Utility (stretched transportversion with a big loading door)
In total 215 of all Fokker 50 types and versions have been sold, of which 206 have been delivered.
NIVR participated in financing of the development of the original Fokker 50. This amount of money was substantially reimbursed through a repayment sum per aircraft sold.
Unfortunately Fokker went bankrupt in March 1996 limiting the perspectives of this project in the future.
|Successor to the legendary Friendship
The continuing flow of orders for the F27 made some people expect that production would continue through to the turn of the century.
They were wrong but at the time their assumption did not seem too unrealistic. What the market of the early eighties needed was a radical rejuvenation of the aircraft. Step-by-step improvements as had been applied to the F27 year after year, were not enough.
The outcome of this revised thinking was the Fokker 50 which, despite being almost identical in external appearance to its famous forebear, has in fact only a 10% cornmonality with the F27.
|Initial studies had concentrated on re-engining the F27 with either Rolls-Royce RB506 or Pratt & Whitney Canada PT7-2R turboprops of around 2,200 shp.
Candidates for supplying the new propeller were Dowty Rotol and Hamilton Standard. In-house, this new variant of the F27 was referred to as the F27RE (i.e. re-engined).
The benefits of using a more advanced engine looked promising. Aircraft direct operating costs would be approximately 20% lower, and the noise level in the cabin was expected to be 6-8 decibels lower. The additional power would also allow a later stretch of the fuselage to 60 or even 68 passengers.
It soon became clear, however, that re-engining alone would not be enough to satisfy airline requirements over the coming years.
Nor would the F27RE be competitive regarding new aircraft of other manufacturers. Competitors had entered the field
in response to the 1978 deregulation of air transport in the USA. This move by the government had given regional transportation a tremendous boost and several aircraft manufacturers decided they wanted their share of this new market opportunity.
Fokker therefore realized that if its 'new F27' was to be a success, it too would have to introduce new technology.
Thus the company's designers started a new design, Project P335, which later became known as the Fokker 50.
Top quality was and is the leitmotif for the Fokker 50, resulting in excellent reliability, low maintenance costs and maximum passenger comfort.
Experience shows that many turboprop passengers proceed to travel on large jets.
Fokker's objective was to make passenger comfort on the Fokker 50 as close as possible to that of larger jets. Customer reactions to this philosophy are reflected in the Fokker 50 orderbook which shows quite a number of airlines which do not limit the use of the word 'quality' solely to their advertising campaigns.
Among the European customers for the new Fokker propjet are SAS, Lufthansa CityLine, Austrian Airlines, Maersk Air, KLM Cityhopper, Luxair, Aer Lingus, Crossair, Icelandair and Air UK. An early and important non-European customer was Ansett Airlines which signed its first Fokker 50 contract on 12 February 1985.
In the Far East, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Nakanihon Airline Service, Pelangi Air and Royal Brunei Airlines ordered Fokker 50s, as did Sudan Airways and Kenya Airways in Africa. At the time of writing (March 1994), over 210 orders and options have been received.
The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW100 series engine was selected for the Fokker 50. The PW100 is an advanced technology gasturbine available in several versions with different power ratings. Fokker selected the PW125B of 2,500 shp.
Unlike the old Rolls-Royce Dart, the PW125B does not need water methanol injection to achieve the required power at take-off. Fuel consumption is approximately 30% lower.
While the PW125B powers the basic Fokker 50, the more powerful PW127B engine equips the Fokker 50 High Performance.
The PW127B produces 10% more take-off power, resulting in increased performance
in hot & high climates, on short runways and on airfields with severe obstacles.
The Pratt & Whitney Canada gasturbines drive advanced all-composite propellers supplied by Dowty Aerospace (formerly known as Dowty Rotol). To absorb the extra power of the new engines and to enhance passenger comfort a six-bladed design was chosen. The lower tip speed of this configuration provides the added benefits of lower propeller noise - interior cabin noise levels are 7 decibels lower than on the F27 -, less vibration and therefore enhanced passenger comfort.
The reduced exterior noise level was also important for environmental reasons.
There had been numerous updates of the F27 design and it was decided to retain the existing well-proven airframe. On the F27, this structure was certificated to 90,000 flight hours or flight cycles - and because of design commonality, this warranty applied also to the Fokker 50.
Naturally, new technologies were introduced where effective. Reinforced plastics had already been used in the F27, albeit mainly in secondary structures. Carbon fibers are used in the propellers, cabin floor and engine nacelles, and aramid fibers for the fuselage nose, wing leading edge, the vertical stabilizer, dorsal fin and wing-to-fuselage fairings. Glass fiber is employed in the nacelles and empennage.
The Fokker 50 wing is basically identical to that of the F27 but features a number of aerodynamic refinements. Most obvious of these are the upturned 'Foklet' wingtips that greatly improve stability. The well-tried pneumatic system for operation of the undercarriage, brakes and flaps on the F27 is replaced in the Fokker 50 by a more effective and reliable hydraulic system.
The Fokker 50 cockpit is equipped with an EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System). The upper pair of the television screens show primary flight parameters, while the lower pair provide navigational data. improvements on the structure and systems together with a new maintenance philosophy incorporated in the design result in 50-60% lower maintenance charges per seat nautical mile. The fuselage doors have been relocated.
The passenger door, located aft of the wing on the F27, has been is replaced by an integral airstair in the front fuselage of the Fokker 50, thus a speeding up turnaround times and reducing dependence on airport ground equipment.
The Fokker 50 can be equipped with three or four doors. The four-door configuration eliminates the requirement for emergency exits midway along the fuselage and allows for a more flexible cabin layout.
Experience with the F27 galley and cargo hold was used to introduce improvements in these areas in the Fokker 50.
To meet individual customer requirements, a three-door configuration is also available which has emergency exits located at the standard positions. Elimination of the fourth door in the fuselage allows for installation of either an extra row of seats or a larger cargo hold.
Optional is a Multi-Purpose Door (4 ft 3 in x 5 ft 5 in) at the left-hand side of the rear fuselage: this facilitates the loading of pallets, containers or other sizable goods. In the F27, the cabin windows were relatively large and limited in number. With some seating arrangements passengers who wished to enjoy the outside view had to stretch their necks in order to do so. In response to this, the Fokker 50 has a larger number of smaller rectangular windows (22 on each side). More over, the updated interior offers passengers 100% more bin volume and a slightly wider aisle.
A stretched version of the Fokker 50, the Fokker 60, is at present a study project. The Fokker 60, powered by PW127B engines, has a 5 ft 4 in longer fuselage, allowing seating arrangements up to 68 passengers. The aircraft retains the unique product qualities of the Fokker 50, with the added advantage of total commonality with the smaller turboprop. In addition to these civil versions, non-civil versions are available. For the corporate and government market Fokker has launched and sold utility and special mission aircraft. The Fokker 50 Utility and Fokker 60 Utility can be used for staff transport, logistics transport, (para)troop transport, supply dropping and medical evacuation (medevac).
The Fokker 50 Utility has as a standard fitment a Multi-Purpose Door and a heavy duty floor. The standard Fokker 60 Utility is equipped with the right-hand front Large Cargo Door (10 ft x 5 ft 10 in) and a heavy duty floor.
The Multi-Purpose Door is available as an option. Five types of the Fokker 50 Special Mission Aircraft are offered: the Fokker Maritime Mk.2, the Fokker Maritime Enforcer Mk.2, the Fokker KingBird Mk.2, the Fokker Sentinel Mk.2 and the Fokker Black Crow Mk.2. These types can be used for tasks such as: coastal surveillance, search-and-rescue, environmental control, armed surveillance, antisubmarine and anti-ship warfare, signal intelligence and airborne command and control.
As was the case with the F27, Fokker does not build the Fokker 50 entirely by itself. Fuselages are produced by Dassault Breguet in Biarritz, France and are transported to Fokker's Schiphol plant by a specially adapted trailer. The same applies to the wings, produced by SABCA in Belgium.
The wing flaps and ailerons plus the dorsal fin come from MBB in Germany, Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan makes the
rudder and elevators and HAL in India delivers the horizontal stabilizer.
Fokker's plants in Dordrecht and Papendrecht produce the front fuselage and center wing respectively.
Non-metal parts fabricated in reinforced plastics such as carbon fibers etc. come from the Fokker plants in Hoogeveen and Ypenburg, and cable looms are assembled in the Woensdrecht plant in the south of Holland.
The first flight of the Fokker 50 was on 28 December 1985 and first delivery was on 7 August 1987 to DLT (since renamed Lufthansa CityLine).
Production of the Fokker 50 started in 1987 and reached an annual rate of 24 by 1990.
By 1991 34 aircraft were being produced per twelve months, but due to a recession in the world economy, production was reduced in 1993.
However, market forecasts for 1995 and beyond show growth in the turboprop requirements in the civil, corporate and goverment markets. Fokker is confident that orders for its turboprop aircraft will then increase proportionately.
Over the period 1990-1993 the Fokker 50 was responsible for 61% of a the net increase (orders minus cancellations) in the 30-60 seat turboprop segment, making its strategic position in the market strong.