MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the prototype Fokker 100 (PH-MKH), or F28 MK.0100 as it was initially known, took to the skies for the first time in 1986.
Announced in 1983, the aircraft was a development of the popular Fokker F28. It had the same T-tail and rear-mounted engine configuration as its predecessor.
However, there were numerous upgrades including more powerful Rolls-Royce RB.183 Tay turbofan engines. Improved and more aerodynamic wings. A strengthened landing gear. Plus various upgrades to the flight deck and avionics.
Seating capacity was increased to 109 passengers after the fuselage was stretched by 5.74 meters (18ft 10in). This meant that the type fitted into the 100-seat market which at the time was largely catered for.
As well as PH-MKH, a second prototype PH-MKC was also built. MKC took to the air three months later and both were put to work on rigorous inflight and ground testing. Certification was eventually granted for the type on November 20, 1987.
Launch customer Swissair (SR) received its first example on February 29, 1988. In March 1989, American Airlines (AA) placed an order for 75 airframes, marking Fokker’s largest ever order worth US$3.1bn.
Branded as ‘Luxury Jets’ the type entered service with the airline in 1991 and served for 13 years until its retirement in 2004.
Despite the Fokker 100s success, the Dutch manufacturer was struggling financially and collapsed in 1996. Production ended in 1997 after 283 aircraft had been built.
Featured image: PH-MKH was used as the Fokker 100 demonstrator before finding a second life as ‘standoff surveillance and target acquisition radar’ (SOSTAR-X) test airframe. (Photo: Ken Fielding/https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenfielding, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)