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  • Writer's pictureroy blewett

Fokker F27 Friendship, Fairchild F-27 and Fairchild-Hiller FH-227

Now over 60 years old, F27 59-0259 was originally delivered to the Philippine Air Force as a Presidential transport. It is photographed here departing Iloilo in July 2022 (Paul Filmer/Skippy's Cage Photography)

Experience gained from converting military C-47s for civilian use led Fokker to decide to develop a replacement for the type. The designation P275 was used during the concept phase, but this was changed to F27 (note there is no dash in the Fokker designation) once the Dutch Government had approved the project, in September 1953. Despite heavy competition for the DC-3 replacement market, Fokker was quick to spot that no American company was yet engaged and in 1956, between the maiden flights of the first and second F27 prototypes, concluded a licenced production arrangement with Fairchild. The Fairchild aircraft differed slightly from the original, not least in its designation, F-27 (ie, with a dash) and, despite the first Fairchild-built aircraft sustaining significant damage in a ground incident, it was the American manufacturer, not Fokker, that made the first Friendship delivery. The F27 family went on to great commercial success, with Fokker and Fairchild separately developing stretched fuselage versions. Survivor numbers have continued to decline sharply, with only a small handful being operated commercially, in Kenya.

First flight: 24 Nov 55 (c/n 10101, PH-NIV)

Production: 789, comprising: 583 F27s at Amsterdam-Schiphol, Netherlands; and 128 F-27s and 78 FH-227s at Hagerstown, MD.

First delivery: 22 Jun 58 to West Coast Airlines (c/n 3, N2701); the first Fokker delivery was to Aer Lingus on 19 Nov 58 (c/n 10105, EI-AKA)

Last delivery: 9 Apr 87 to the Royal Thai Navy (c/n 10676)

Variants: F27 F1 - initial prototype, powered by Rolls-Royce Dart 6 Mk.507 turboprops (1 built);

F27 F2 - second prototype powered by Dart 6 Mk.511s, featuring longer fuselage to counteract tail heaviness of F1, and seating for 40 passengers (1 built);

F27-100 - initial production version, with Dart 6 Mk.528s (84 built);

F27-200 - improved version, with Dart 6 Mk.532s (117 built);

F27-300 - mixed passenger/cargo version of F27-200 (4 built);

F27-300M Troopship - F27-300 optimised for military use, featuring Fairchild-designed forward cargo door (9 built);

F27-400 - mixed passenger/cargo version, with Dart 7 Mk.528s and cargo door from F27-300M (16 built);

F27-400M - F27-400 optimised for military use (81 built);

F27-500 - F27-200 with stretched fuselage, powered by Dart 7 Mk.536s and with seating for up to 52 passengers (123 built, first flight 15 Nov 67);

F27-600 - Quick-change passenger-cargo version of F27-200 powered by Dart 7 Mk.536s, featuring with strengthened floor and seating for up to 44 passengers, (131 built);

F27-700 – F27-100 with forward cargo door from F27-300M (1 built);

F27 Maritime - F27-200 optimised for maritime patrol (15 built, including a number in armed configuration as Maritime Enforcers);

F-27 - Fairchild-built version powered by Dart 6 Mk.514s, with lengthened nose for weather radar, additional fuel capacity and seating for up to 40 passengers (46 built, first flight 12 Apr 58);

F-27A - F-27 powered by Dart 7 Mk.528s (45 built);

F-27B - F-27 with large cargo door (3 built);

F-27F - F-27 with corporate fit for up to 16 passengers, powered by Dart 7 Mk.529s (18 built);

F-27J - version for Allegheny Airlines, powered by Dart 7 Mk.532s (14 built);

F-27M - version for Lloyd Aero Boliviano, powered by Dart 7 Mk.536s (2 built);

FH-227 - stretched-fuselage version of F-27 powered by Dart 7 Mk.532s, with seating for up to 56 passengers (78 built, first flight 27 Jan 66; the various sub-types had only minor differences).

Fokker F27 etc
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