The Fokker 50 is a twin-engined turboprop regional airliner seating 50 to 62 passengers. It was the successor of the very successful Fokker F27 Friendship.
Fokker started development of the Fokker 50 in 1983 when sales of the F27 Friendship declined and new, more efficient competitors emerged after deregulation in the USA. Actually the Fokker 50 is a much improved version of the F27, which had been in production since 1958. Launch customers for the Fokker 50 were the German regional airline DLT and Ansett Airlines of Australia.
The renewed aircraft was fitted with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW125B or PW127B turboprop engines instead of the F27's Rolls-Royce Darts. The F27s four-bladed propellers were replaced by six-bladed ones from Dowty Rotol and the cockpit was updated with an electronic flight instrument system (EFIS). More composite materials were used in the airframe and Fokker introduced more but smaller windows. The F27's pneumatic systems were replaced by hydraulic ones and the single wheel nose gear was replaced by a two-wheel leg. Fokker introduced upturned ailerons and wingtips, which act as winglets.
Fokker adapted two F27 airframes to fly as testing aircraft. These aircraft still had the big F27 windows. The first flight took place on 28 December 1985, followed by certification by the Dutch aviation authority in May 1987. The first production aircraft was delivered in August 1987 to DLT of Germany. The Fokker 50 was sold to several high-profile European airlines, including DLT (a Lufthansa partner), KLM Cityhopper, Aer Lingus, Crossair, Luxair, Air UK and SAS. Other important customers were Ansett and Avianca. Fokker didn't succeed, however, in selling the aircraft on the deregulated US market.
Production of the Fokker 50 ended in 1996 after the Fokker Aircraft Company went into liquidation. 213 aircraft have been built. Most aircraft were of the original Fokker 50-100 version. The Series 120 has three instead of four doors. The Fokker 50-200 has a reconfigured interior layout and a different type of aft emergency exits. Only six 200s were built on behalf of military users. The Series 300 is fitted with the more powerful PW127B engines to achieve better performance at hot and high airports.
Fokker also developed the stretched Fokker 60, which is 1.62 m (5.31 ft) longer than the original aircraft. It has a large side cargo door behind the cockpit. Only four were built, all for the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Some Fokker 50s were built als maritime patrol aircraft.
In 2015 around one hundred Fokker 50s are still in airline service. Some of them have been converted into freighters.
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