MIAMI – Today in Aviation, The first of two Fokker 50 turboprop-powered airliner prototypes made its maiden flight in 1985.

Following Fokker’s success with the F-27 ‘Friendship,’ the Dutch manufacturer announced in November 1983 it was to develop a 50-seater variant. This was alongside a 100-seat jet to replace the F28 ‘Fellowship’ dubbed the Fokker 100.

One of the most significant improvements to the F50 was the new generation Pratt & Whitney Canada PW125 turboprops. These six-blade props offered a 12% higher cruise speed, better fuel economy, and a greater range than their predecessor.

The wing was redesigned and composite materials were added to the fuselage. Fokker added new avionics and an Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) glass cockpit for two flight crew. The cabin was extended and the aircraft could accommodate a maximum of 58 passengers

One of the two F-50 prototype’s PH-OSI, is now on display at Lelystad Airport Aviodrome Museum. (Photo: AlfvanBeem, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Entry-Into-Service


Following stringent testing, type certification was granted in May 1987. They type then entered service with German airline DLT Luftverkehrsgesellschaft (DLT) – Lufthansa Cityline (CL) in August 1987.

Fokker would also develop a stretched version known as the Fokker 60. Only four were ever completed. These were all delivered to the Royal Netherlands Air Force and used primarily for more solid transportation.

213 F50s were built when production ended on March 15, 1996, after Fokker’s bankruptcy. More modern competition in the regional airliner sector from the ATR-42 and Bombardier Dash-8 severely impacted Fokker’s finances. The final F-50 was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines (ET) in May 1997.

Ansett Airlines (AN) of Australia was a joint launch customer for the F-50. (Photo: John Wheatley (GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html or GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html), via Wikimedia Commons)

Featured image: KLM (KL) was one of the major operators of the F-50 until they retired the type in March 2010. (Photo: English: Aleksandr MarkinРусский: Александр Маркин, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)