Fokker 70/100: Enduring Workhorses of Regional Aviation - Such Airplanes

Fokker 70/100: Enduring Workhorses of Regional Aviation

History of Fokker 70/100

The Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 jets are notable chapters in the narrative of commercial aviation, showcasing the technological transition from earlier Fokker models to advanced regional aircraft before the company’s cessation.

Development and Design

The Fokker 100, a larger successor to the Fokker F28 Fellowship, marked an impactful presence in the aviation industry during the 1980s, when the need for efficient, mid-size airliners was on the rise.

Under the direction of Netherlands-based Fokker, this aircraft was introduced with aspirations to capture the market’s demand, riding on the success of the earlier F28 design.

Initiated in 1983, the Fokker 100 was envisioned as a modern jet with improved economy and capacity.

It took its maiden flight on November 30, 1986, and quickly found service with major carriers, including Air France and USAir, echoing Fokker’s commitment to pioneering aerodynamic design and advanced aviation.

The Fokker 70 was a shortened version of the Fokker 100, conceptualized to serve markets requiring a lower capacity but with similar performance requirements.

Launched into the skies on its first flight in April 1993, the Fokker 70 offered carriers a more intimate and cost-effective option while keeping the technological advancements inherent to its predecessor.

Fokker’s Bankruptcy and Legacy

Yet, innovation and industry acclaim did not shield Fokker from financial woes.

Despite the Fokker 70/100’s commercial potential, Fokker’s financial health waned.

Plagued by intense competition and high development costs, the company entered bankruptcy in 1996, concluding the production of the Fokker 70 with its last aircraft rolling out in April 1997.

This closure marked a poignant end to an era for the Dutch aircraft manufacturer.

In the wake of Fokker’s bankruptcy, the once-flourishing Fokker 70 and 100 fleets needed aftermarket support, which later came under the wing of Fokker Services.

This entity capitalized on Fokker’s engineering prowess to supply parts and services, ensuring that the legacy of the Fokker 70 and 100 would persist.

The aftermarket longevity of these aircraft demonstrates the effectiveness of their initial design and engineering, a testament to a legacy that endures beyond the company’s lifetime.

Technical Specifications

Fokker 70/100: Enduring Workhorses of Regional Aviation - Such Airplanes - Other Manufacturers

The Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 models embody the intersection of aerodynamic craftsmanship and robust engine design, setting a standard for regional jet performance and reliability.

These aircraft showcase the progression from their predecessor, the Fokker F28, demonstrating technological advancements in airframe and powerplant integration.

Aerodynamic Features

  • Fokker 70:

    • Wingspan: 28.08 m (92 ft 2 in)
    • Length: 30.91 m (101 ft 5 in)
    • Height: 8.50 m (27 ft 11 in)
    • Wing area: 93.5 m² (1,006.4 sq ft)
  • Fokker 100:

    • Wingspan: Slightly wider than Fokker 70
    • Length: Extended fuselage of 18.8 ft (5.7 m)
    • Accommodation: Up to 109 passengers

Leveraging their heritage, both aircraft incorporate advanced aerodynamics that contribute significantly to their operational efficiency and the ability to perform at challenging airports.

Engine and Performance

  • Engines:

    • The heart of these jets is the Rolls-Royce Tay 620 turbofan, known for its blend of performance and economy.
  • Fokker 70:

    • Thrust: 61.6 kN per engine
    • Max Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 41,730 kg (92,000 lb)
    • Notable for steep approach certification, providing access to airports like London City with short runways.
  • Fokker 100:

    • Inherits the reliable Rolls-Royce Tay engines, boasting improved performance metrics over its predecessors.
    • Renowned for its longer range and higher capacity, making it a competitive player in the regional market.

Both aircraft are lauded for their reliably efficient systems and performance envelopes that allow them to thrive in a variety of operational contexts, further underpinned by continual advances in aviation technology.

These attributes ensure that the Fokker 70 and 100 continue to serve as valuable assets in the fleets of numerous airlines worldwide.

Operation and Variants

The Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 are noteworthy for their service flexibility, flying both commercial routes and special missions.

Their operation spans decades, with various variants tailored to diverse functions.

Commercial Service

The Fokker 70 and its elongated sibling, the Fokker 100, have been stalwarts in the fleets of numerous airlines.

The Fokker 100, with its expanded capacity to seat up to 109 passengers, has been utilized by KLM, reflecting the Dutch company’s local roots and enduring relationships.

These aircraft are famous for their distinctive T-tail and short-field performance.

US Air and American Airlines were once significant operators, banking on the Fokker 100’s efficiency for their regional networks.

However, the changing aviation landscape has seen these types fade from American skies, with their presence now stronger in various international operators.

  • Cockpit/Flight Deck: The series boasts a ‘glass cockpit’ set-up, streamlining pilot workflow and contributing to its once cutting-edge status.

Operators:

  • Air Djibouti
  • Various smaller international airlines

Military and Specialized Use

In a less publicized role, the Fokker 70/100 series has been adopted by military forces.

The Myanmar Air Force, for instance, operates these jets, leveraging their adaptability for diverse mission profiles.

  • Specialized Variants: Some Fokker 100s have been converted to serve as private jets or in other specialized roles, demonstrating the airframe’s versatility beyond standard passenger service.

Military operators often require custom modifications, tailoring aircraft to fit unique roles such as VIP transport or surveillance, which the Fokker series has been able to accommodate due to its robust design and systems.

Customer Experience

Fokker 70/100: Enduring Workhorses of Regional Aviation - Such Airplanes - Other Manufacturers

When considering the Fokker 70/100 series aircraft, the customer experience is primarily defined by its cabin design and in-flight amenities.

These aspects contribute significantly to the overall satisfaction of passengers during travel.

Cabin Design

The cabin of the Fokker 70/100 is often noted for its spacious design, maximizing comfort for passengers.

The fuselage of the aircraft allows for a height that facilitates easier movement throughout the cabin, reflecting a thoughtful approach to passenger comfort.

  • Overhead compartments: Sized generously, allowing for ample luggage storage.
  • Cabin lighting: Designed to create a pleasant ambiance adjusting to different stages of flight.

The galley is compact yet efficient, supporting the cabin crew’s ability to deliver prompt service.

The passenger cabin‘s layout reflects a balance between density and personal space, standing out in the regional jet category.

In-Flight Amenities

The in-flight amenities of the Fokker 70/100 reflect a no-nonsense approach.

They aim to deliver a satisfactory travel experience without excessive extravagance.

  • Seats: Ergonomically designed, emphasizing passenger comfort even during longer flights.
  • Exterior lighting: Engineered to enhance the aircraft’s visibility and safety

How Does the ATR 72 Compare to the Fokker 70/100 in Regional Aviation?

The ATR 72 and Fokker 70/100 are both agile contenders in regional aviation.

The ATR 72 boasts superior fuel efficiency and lower operating costs, while the Fokker 70/100 offers a spacious cabin and advanced avionics.

Both aircraft have their strengths, making them popular choices for regional airlines.

Comparative Analysis

Fokker 70/100: Enduring Workhorses of Regional Aviation - Such Airplanes - Other Manufacturers

This section provides insight into the Fokker 70/100’s standing against its contemporaries and its market position within the regional airline industry.

Fokker vs Contemporaries

The Fokker 70 and 100 jets stand out in the regional market with distinct characteristics, particularly in comparison to the British Aerospace 146.

The Fokker models were launched during a period of high competition among regional aircraft manufacturers and displayed a number of competitive edges, including:

  • Low noise profile: They are known for quieter operations, a notable advantage over the louder BAe 146.
  • Capacity: The Fokker 70 seats up to 85 passengers, positioning it well against its counterparts.

While models like the Airbus A320 exceed in capacity and range, the Fokker jets carved a niche with their efficiency in regional routes.

Their design focused on serving short to medium-haul flights for regional airlines, an area where the larger, more fuel-consuming A320 wouldn’t be as cost-effective.

Market Position

The regional jet market has always been a battlefield with various players including Embraer and Fairchild Dornier 728, but the Fokkers found their place focusing on airlines that needed aircraft for shorter routes and less dense markets.

Here’s why their market position is noteworthy:

  • Brazil’s Influence: Even facing competition from Brazil’s Embraer, the Fokker aircraft managed to maintain a foothold with certain operators due to their specific operational advantages.
  • ATR’s Dominance: Despite ATR’s dominance in the turboprop sector, Fokker’s jets managed to coexist by appealing to a segment of the market that preferred jets over turboprops for regional routes.

In recent years, the number of active Fokker 70 jets has diminished significantly, yet they remain in operation by certain airlines that value their efficiency and suitability for specific regional markets.