DALLAS – Today in Aviation, The Dutch-manufactured Fokker F28-1000 Fellowship prototype (PH-JHG) took to the skies for its maiden flight in 1967.
In command was Fokker Chief Test pilot, Jos Moll. Also in the flight deck were Co-Pilot Abe van Der Schraaf and Flight Engineer Cees Dik. The flight lasted 75 minutes.
The jet entered service with Swedish carrier Braathens SAFE (BU) on March 28, 1969, beating launch customer LTU (LT) by a month.
The jet was a development of Fokker’s popular F27 Friendship. The plane-maker believed there was a market for a small, short-haul jet-powered airliner, and the F28 was announced in April 1962.
Initially, a 50-seater aircraft was considered. But after much market research, particularly in North America, Fokker changed this to a 65-seat capacity in a five abreast layout.
One of the F28s unique features was its hydraulic tail air brake. The feature would see two halves of the jets tail cone opening up to increase drag during descent and landing. British Aerospace/Avro later used the feature on its 146/RJ jets.
Fokker would also build several other variants. The -2000 first flew on April 28, 1971. This was a stretched version, capable of carrying up to 79 passengers. The -5000 and -6000 were updated versions of the -2000 with the addition of slats on the wing. However, the latter two were not a commercial success.
The most popular F28 was the -4000, which took to the skies on October 20, 1976. The type had a seating capacity of 85 passengers, a larger wing, additional overwing exits, and newer Spey 555-15H engines.
Featured image: The prototype F28 Fellowship prior to its maiden flight. Photo: Joost Evers/Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons