DALLAS – Today in Aviation, the Fokker 70 (F70) operated its maiden flight in 1993. The prototype PH-MKC departed Woensdrecht, in the southern Netherlands.
The aircraft had been converted from the second Fokker 100 (F100) prototype, the F70s larger sibling.
Fokker commenced development of the F70 in November 1992. The plane-maker had been approached by several airlines who wanted a jet that would cater for the market between the turboprop Fokker 50 or ATR-42/72 and the larger Boeing 737 or McDonnell Douglas MD-80s jets. It also needed a replacement for its ageing Fokker 28, which had first flown in 1967.
The manufacturer had already found success with the F100 and decided to shrink its fuselage by 4.62 metres. Fokker did this by removing two plugs fore and aft of the wing. The rest of the F70, its wings, flight controls and flight deck remained the same as the Fokker 100.
Engine maker Rolls Royce (RR) supplied the Tay 620 for the F70. RR had initially developed the high by-pass engine for the F100. However, it had not been powerful enough for the larger jet, which would utilise the Tay 650.
The F70 also had a tail clam air brake system, similar to the one found on the British Aerospace (BAe) 146/Avro Regional Jet (RJ). The air brake, when deployed, saw the tail cone split in half to increase drag and reduce speed. This feature enabled the F70 to adhere to the 5.5% glide slope required for landing at London City Airport (LCY).
Just 47 airframes were built as production ended when Fokker was declared bankrupt. The last example was delivered to Vietnam Airlines (VN) in April 1997.
Featured image: In October 2017 KLM (KL) retired its last F70, ending the airline’s 97-year relationship with the Dutch plane maker. Photo: AlfvanBeem, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons