Fokker F.27 Mk 100 Friendship, EI-AKA, (c/n 10105) of Aer Lingus. Seventy of these short-nosed 40-passenger F.27s were produced - they had a 40,500lb maximum take-off gross weight and were powered by two 1,670shp Rolls-Royce Dart R. Da.6 Mk.514-7 turboprops. Aer Lingus operated seven F.27 Mk 100s and later, eight of the modernised Fokker 50s under the Aer Lingus Commuter subsidiary.
Fokker F.27 Mk 200 Friendship, G-BAUR, (c/n 10225) of Air Anglia. The F.27 Mk 200 improvements over the Mk 100 series provided an increased fuel capacity, 45,000lb maximum take-off gross weight, the ability to carry up to 44 passengers, a radar nose and more powerful 1,870shp Rolls-Royce Dart R.Da.7 Mk 528 engines. Air Anglia was one of the first UK airlines to use the F.27 together with the Fokker F.28 Fellowship shortly before the company was merged with several other small UK airlines to form AirUK.
Fokker F.27 Mk 400M, 5-2601, (c/n 10509) is reportedly flown by Sahand Airlines on behalf of the Iranian Navy. The latter is one of over 40 operators still using the F.27, many of them military. This aircraft operates flights to Tehran from Bandar Abas (once a week) and other southern Iranian cities (less frequently). The F.27 Mk 400M is based on the F.27 Mk 300 but has military equipment, a strengthened floor and interior, forward cargo hatch and twin parachute doors at the rear.
Fokker F.27 Mk 500 Friendship, F-BPNB, (c/n 10367) of Air Inter Europe, circa 1982. This variant incorporates a number of improvements over the F.27 Mk 400, including 5ft fuselage extensions, additional windows, a 56-passenger capacity and longer stroke undercarriage. The airline operated four different versions of the F.27, including eleven F.27 Mk 500s, most of which ended up with FedEx as cargo aircraft.
Several British airlines have used Friendships, including Jersey European Airways. This F.27 Mk 500 was in service with that carrier from 1990 until 2000, when it was sold to Euroceltic Airways. It was written off two years later after it overran the runway at Sligo Airport in the Republic of Ireland.
Converted regional airliners can make admirable maritime patrol aircraft, offering useful cabin volume for operators and equipment, economical operating costs and low development costs. The Fokker F.27 Maritime Enforcer, in service with the Royal Thai Navy, is a classic example of how such an aircraft can be modified. It has been fitted with two stub pylons on the fuselage sides and six underwing pylons for a variety of stores including torpedoes, depth charges and rocket pods.
Fokker's F.27 proved successful worldwide. Not only was it popular with many airlines, but a number of air arms also ordered the type: the Royal Thai Navy, for example, operates the F.27 Mk 400M and a maritime patrol variant (pictured), the F.27 Mk 200ME Maritime Enforcer.
Pictured is an Ozark Air Lines FH-227B, N4224, in September 1968. This US airline bought 21 of these aircraft for short-haul routes throughout the Midwest. The photo also shows the integral airstairs designed for US-built aircraft, a feature never adopted by Fokker in Holland.
Fairchild FH-227C, N374NE, (c/n 504) in the famous 'Yellow Bird' colours of Northeast Airlines. The FH-227 was the licence-built version of the F.27 Mk 200 with a 6ft forward fuselage extension increasing capacity to 56 passengers. Seventy-eight FH-227s were produced between type approval in 1966 and close of the production line only two years later. Over half were delivered to just two operators, Mohawk Airlines and Ozark Airlines.