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The VFW-614 Regional Jet
Despite what constituted the regional jet revolution throughout the Nineties with low-capacity, twin-engine designs from Canadair, Embraer, and Dornier, the concept that had its origins some two and a 1/2 many years previous in France, Russia, and Germany.
Market research, in particular within the latter nation, have been carried out throughout the Sixties and, with passenger acceptance of pure-jet pace and luxury, as evidenced through the then-emerging proliferation of short-range, low-capacity twin-jets, such because the Sud-Aviation SE.210 Caravelle, the British Aircraft Corporation BAC-111, the McDonnell-Douglas DC-9, the Boeing 737, the Dassault-Breguet Mercure 100, and the Fokker F.28 Fellowship, the desire for a fair smaller, 40-passenger airplane, with a variety as quick as 50 and so long as 1,000 statute miles, arose. Hitherto the area of turboprop and piston regional sorts, this phase represented the general frontier for this powerplant.
Although Fokker’s personal F.28 Fellowship accommodated as few as 65 in its authentic, short-fuselage F.28-1000 model and bridged the space between propeller commuter airplane and the bigger twin-jets, it was once nonetheless too huge for in particular skinny, low-demand routes. Average passenger means requirement on such sectors, as exemplified through the high-wing, twin-turboprop Shorts 330, was once 30.
This was once no accident. Designing a regional-ranged and -capacity jetliner and designing a cheap, profit-generating one had been virtually inherent contradictions, particularly with the then-current state of the art powerplant era. There was once no equivalent signal between high-speed and coffee working prices.
The smaller cabin, the decrease was once the selection of passengers to hide those prices thru their fares.
But the real engineering of such an airplane, in and of itself, was once no technological feat, because the current twins of their preliminary variants, together with the 80-passenger SE.210-I/IA/III, the 89-passenger BAC-111-200, and the 90-passenger DC-9-10, can have been simply scaled down with shortened fuselages. The latter two, in reality, had proposed 60-seat variations, respectively designated BAC-107 and DC-9-5. But each would had been too heavy and too overpowered for profitability and subsequently do not need glad the necessities of a real “regional jet.”
What was once preferably wanted was once the rate of those twins and the means of the Shorts 330 that will be cost-effective on very quick sectors. In essence, the design would want to be a DC-3 jet substitute.
The turboprop engine, which mixed the turbine’s core with propellers became through relief equipment, similarly powered DC-3 replacements within the type of the quad-engine Vickers Viscount, which attained spectacular gross sales of 444; the Fokker F.27 Friendship, which seated between 44 and 60 in its a number of variations; and the Handley Page Herald. The latter two had been high-wing, twin-engine designs. But a pure-jet airplane with a means approximating those propeller airliners best remained an elusive thought.
Suitable powerplants for one had been simply as restricted. Of the 8 low- to medium-capacity twin- and tri-jets that had preceded it, four–the 727, the DC-9, the 737, and the Mercure 100–were powered through the Pratt and Whitney JT8D engine, three–the HS.21 Trident, the BAC-111, and the F.28–were powered through the Rolls Royce Spey, and one, the Caravelle, was once powered each through the Rolls Royce Avon in its preliminary, short-fuselage variants and the JT8D in its later, stretched-fuselage ones. None of those engines was once appropriate for a 40-passenger design.
Although this impediment remained to be resolved, questions of whether or not such pure-jet pace may well be exploited on commuter and regional routes, the place their flight profiles entailed virtually as a lot time in climb and descent as in cruise.
But on that horizon was once construction of what would possibly transform the engineless bush airplane’s powerplant, now not in turboprop shape, however in pure-turbine one. Both Bristol Siddeley in the United Kingdom and SNECMA Société Nationale d’Etude et de Construction de Moteurs d’Aviation in France had been designing small, low bypass ratio engines, the latter, the M 45 F, for an army fighter, which, within the tournament, would by no means continue into manufacturing. Nevertheless, its core, with amendment, had civil utility.
The proposed bush form, which had due to this fact been redesignated VFW-614, gave the impression a main candidate for it, supplied it was once subjected to its personal adjustments that retained its rugged, low working charge traits, however mated them with pure-turbine era that will significantly build up its pace and function.
The VFW-614 bush airplane, within the period in-between, persevered to adapt, as options asked through attainable operators had been integrated into it. Unlike any of the opposite previous short-range, low-capacity twin-jets-with the exception, in all probability, of the Tupolev Tu-124 and Tu-134 in Russia-it would provide a fuselage best large sufficient for four-abreast trainer seating, with a unmarried, central aisle, and its provide duration and spherical passenger home windows bore a powerful resemblance to a shortened F.28-1000.
The hinged mechanism that allowed the nostril phase to swing to the precise was once put in at the ahead, starboard aspect, in the back of the cockpit, facilitating the straight-in loading of huge freight pieces. But the airplane’s convertible nature was once meant to extend its versatility through accepting all-cargo, all-passenger, and combination so much, internally separated through a transportable divider. In the latter case, boarding was once accomplished with a ventral, extendible air stair, a characteristic integrated in one of the most different previous twin-jets.
VFW outlined its undertaking through declaring that its design “shall carry out successfully the challenging task of developing dependable and profitable operation in the service of the many airlines expecting just that from a jet aircraft. The VFW-614 is destined to develop new markets so far not accessible to operators and to increase passenger volume in established markets where outdated equipment is setting narrow limits of expansion.”
In 1966, the Federal German govt supplied 80 p.c of this system’s monetary backing, earmarked for its design and construction section. Two years later, in July, it expanded that to the development of 3 prototypes and two static airframes. Still two years later, it gave complete manufacturing go-ahead permission.
VFW outlined its airplane as “the definite answer to the short-haul challenge.” That that venture was once a problem was once a sarcasm. In addition to its design, engineering, and distinctive configuration, it additionally needed to exchange and persuade operators that the normal turboprop marketplace may transform a pure-jet one. This shift had rarely been a brand new one.
The option to this catch 22 situation, VFW believed, lay within the optimal powerplant, that on the time, was once the M 45 H with its 2.85-to-1 bypass ratio, which was once considerably larger than the similar 1-to-1 ratio of the Pratt and Whitney JT8D engine that powered lots of the tri- and twin-jets. By producing virtually triple the quantity of thrust with air that bypassed the core, or scorching phase, the VFW-614’s powerplant would cut back the upper gasoline intake historically related to pure-jet engines, together with their noise and working prices, in essence, making the kind imaginable.
Predating this bypass ratio through no less than a decade, the M 45 H transform the 1st business turbofan to seem, the likes of which might in the end energy the later twin-jets such because the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80, the Boeing 737 subsequent era, the Airbus A320, and the Fokker F.100. Despite its development, VFW however confronted the formable job of convincing carriers that its era bundle was once the precise transfer for the regional marketplace.
Poised in the back of the fairly ajar hangar doorways with a tow bar connected to its nostril equipment, the prototype of Germany’s first pure-jet airliner, designated G1 and registered D-BABA, awaited roll out on April 5, 1971, its virtually mirror-reflective fuselage carrying its “VFW-614” form quantity emblazoned on all sides and its producer, “VFW-Fokker,” on all sides of its vertical fin. The phrase “Experimental” was once additionally written beneath the aft, left, virtually triangular cockpit window forward of the passenger door, and the names and insignias of the carriers that had ordered or optioned the airplane had been stenciled beneath the passenger home windows.
Before the nostril probe-fitted jetliner was once towed out of the hangar, a temporary introductory speech was once made to the masses who had accrued for the momentous instance.
“Today, the VFW-614-for years our number one goal-leaves the factories in Bremen as scheduled in order to be subjected to an extensive ground and flight test program. It is a moment which is as significant to us as aircraft manufacturers as a launch is to a ship builder. This roll out completes the first phase of a development program which was initiated by VFW many years ago and had for a long time been plagued by unsolved financial problems and which had finally achieved its go-ahead in August 1968 after economic and partnership requirements had been fulfilled.”
As the hangar doorways had been opened, allowing daylight to flood into the airplane’s womb, it was once towed out of doors, giving it delivery. Test pilots Leif Nielsen and Hans Bardill due to this fact subjected it to guidance and braking trials.
The regional jet to begin with gave the impression as a smaller model of the F.28-1000 with its two engines fixed on all sides, in all probability for the reason that observer was once unaccustomed to their sudden above-wing pylon location. A 2d look, then again, showed their precise set up level, however simply as temporarily could have led him to consider that he was once viewing the plane the wrong way up.
The VFW-614 featured a 66.1-foot-long, 9.5-foot-diameter round move phase fuselage built of high-strength aluminum alloys and using complicated steel bonding tactics to concurrently scale back weight and yield optimal fatigue resistance throughout day by day high-frequency pressurization cycles feature of regional airline operations. The fail-safe construction, containing the pressurized cockpit and passenger cabin, rendered a 67.6-foot general airplane duration.
The low-set wings, spanning 70.6 toes, providing a 688.89-square-foot space, 15 levels of sweepback, and 3 levels of dihedral, had been constituted of a continual two-spar torsion field divided into a middle, fuselage-integral phase and two outer ones. Each wing was once provided with two floor spoiler panels, which prolonged upon primary wheel floor touch and spin-up; two flight spoilers, situated at the outboard aspect of the engines; manually-operated Flettner-type bonded duralumin ailerons with a honeycomb trim tab at the left of the 2; and hydraulically actuated, single-slotted, uninterrupted, trailing edge Fowler flaps that had a 124.86-square-foot space and lined three-fourths of the span.
Fuel was once saved within the two outer wing vented integral tanks, each and every of which was once constituted of a first-rate tank, a provide tank, and a vent compartment and jointly had a 1,383-Imperial, or 1,663-US, gallon means. The engines, fuel-fed through two booster pumps, may make the most of both tank.
A single-point strain fueling gadget, whose regulate panel was once provided with a valve place and gasoline amount signs, supplied ten-minute, speedy turn-around refueling capacity. Capacitive probes, measuring each and every tank’s amount, indicated its readings each at the single-point refueling station tool panel and within the cockpit. A gravity refueling gadget was once additionally situated on most sensible of each and every wing on the tip.
The wings, designed each for high-speed cruise to scale back block occasions and build up day by day usage and low-speed approaches to scale back deceleration runs and tire and brake put on, integrated low wing loadings of 59.5 kilos consistent with sq. foot, high-lift coefficient, and nice trailing edge flap design that supplied extension to the 40-degree place.
The all-metal, swept, variable-incidence tailplane, fixed with dihedral, featured a 29-foot, 6.25-inch span which gave it a 140.70-square-foot space and sported each a 52.96-square-foot elevator and a regulate tab. Powered through an electrical motor, the horizontal stabilizer trim similarly operated off of a handbook reversion gadget.
The two Rolls Royce/SNECMA two-spool, 7,511 thrust-pound M.45-H-01 turbofans, with bypass and strain ratios, respectively, of two.85:1 and 18:1, had been fixed on above-wing pylons that have been situated in the back of the aft wing spar. The distinctive configuration have shyed away from vulnerability to international object ingestion, which facilitated operation from semi-prepared fields with out requiring vortex dissipator or gravel reflector installations, higher payload configuration flexibility, lowered touchdown equipment strut duration necessities, (which themselves lowered construction weight and advanced floor accessibility for passenger boarding and luggage loading), eradicated the want to divide flaps into sections, lowered the airplane’s noise footprint, and have shyed away from the aerodynamic issues, reminiscent of deep-stall related to aft-engine-mounted, t-tail designs, like the ones of the HS.121 Trident and the BAC-111. VFW’s answer additionally facilitated long run airplane stretchability and therefore means will increase.
Because the wing served as a noise defend, which enabled crews to make use of complete energy throughout takeoff from airports the place noise abatement procedures had been ordinarily carried out, the VFW-614 was once in a position to go away a space extra swiftly, lowering the time the noise footprint was once heard and as a result lowering block occasions.
Lower way speeds, which additionally produced decrease noise ranges, ended in shorter touchdown runs, precluding the desire for higher-weight, difficult, noise-generating thrust reversers.
In flight, noise was once decreased through the truth that virtually thrice the quantity of thrust as that of decrease bypass ratio turbofans was once created through the cooler, slower-velocity air that have shyed away from passage in the course of the engine’s scorching, central core.
The powerplant itself, constituted of a seven-stage excessive strain compressor pushed through an air-cooled, single-stage turbine; a five-stage medium-pressure compressor, round combustion chambers with vaporizing burners, and a fan which was once devoid of inlet information vanes, was once characterised through shorter duration, lowered weight, cheaper price, and lowered vulnerability to icing. Its modular development, lowering upkeep prices and airplane down time, enabled the fan, the high- and low-pressure turbine, and the combustion chamber to be one by one got rid of. A whole engine exchange may differently be completed in beneath two hours through 3 mechanics.
Internal temperatures diversified between 1,926 levels Fahrenheit throughout takeoff and 1,737 levels at a 21,000-foot cruise altitude at Mach 0.65.
Engines may both be began with a floor beginning unit, the auxiliary energy unit (APU), or through move feeding bleed air from some of the two already operating ones.
Hot, compressed bleed air additionally served to deice intakes.
Unlike the decrease bypass ratio engines of the first-generation of quad jets, such because the Boeing 707-320B and the Douglas DC-8-50, that have been steadily best working at their peaks two times consistent with day on long-range sectors, the M.45-H-01 turbofans had been in particular designed for the excessive day by day frequencies feature of regional jet operations, whose quick sectors every now and then numbered between 8 and twelve, presented excessive takeoff and cruise thrust, however low gasoline intake, weight, noise, and smoke emissions.
The VFW-614 rested on a tricycle, twin-wheeled undercarriage of Dowty Rotol design, which hired B. F. Goodrich tires and Messier antiskid gadgets, and was once rated for greater than 60,000 landings. The nostril equipment, which was once steerable thru 140 levels and used 26 X 8.7-size tires with a 57-psi strain, retracted ahead into the fuselage-provisioned wheel bay and was once lined with two aerodynamic doorways. The primary equipment, which used a 34 x 12-12 tire length and whose strain was once 65 psi, was once provided with a excessive power Goodrich dissipation brake gadget for close-interval landings and retracted laterally into heart wing field, exposed wheel wells, the saved wheels themselves forming an aerodynamic seal through following the fuselage contour as a way to lower weight and straightforwardness. The Boeing 737 featured a identical configuration.
Entrance was once supplied through a ahead, left, six-foot, 10.75-inch through two-foot, 5.5-inch curved, downward-opening, electrically operated passenger door, which contained an integral, lighted, seven-step air stair that was once saved within the inverted place after door closure.
A three.10 through three-foot, 7.25-inch primary deck shipment door was once located at the ahead, proper aspect and a 5.25 through 4.0-foot galley servicing door was once situated at the aft, proper aspect. Two overwing emergency exits facilitated speedy egress.
The VFW-614 was once standardly operated through a two-person cockpit team. A 3rd, folding observer’s seat, used for check flying and team coaching, was once put in in the back of the middle console.
Vision was once thru two ahead, curved, oblong-shaped windshield panels, two sq. aspect panes, and two virtually triangular-shaped ones, and all facilitated the relief of slipstream noise to reduce pilot fatigue. Only the 1st pair of the 2 aspect home windows had been openable.
The primary regulate panel, duplicated for the captain and primary officer positions, contained the principle flight tools, whilst the one heart one featured the engine tools. The grasp caution panel was once situated above the windshield. The left, aspect panel, subsequent to the captain, contained the nostril wheel guidance tiller for floor taxiing. The two regulate wheels featured autopilot disconnect buttons and the electrically operated stabilizer trim. Adjustable rudder pedals and toe brakes had been put in forward of and beneath both pilot.
The heart console contained the engine throttles and trailing edge flap extension levers.
Standardly provided for Category I landings, however optionally convertible to Category II or III operations with further tool set up, the airplane featured two VHF compasses, two very excessive frequency omni directional tool touchdown techniques (ILS), one automated course finder (ADF), two compass techniques, one autopilot/flight director, distance measuring apparatus (DME), one ATC transponder, climate radar, a flight information recorder, and a cockpit voice recorder. A DECCA navigation gadget, a excessive frequency conversation gadget, a DECCA form 72 Doppler navigation gadget, a radio altimeter, and a Category II or III autopilot with a flight altitude reference gadget may well be optionally decided on.
The VFW-614 was once provided with a three,000-psi primary and emergency hydraulic gadget that used flame-resistant Skydrol 500B fluid, the previous of which operated off of 2 engine-driven axial piston pumps, and powered the nostril wheel guidance, the undercarriage, the wheel brakes, the flight and floor spoilers, and the trialing edge flaps, and the latter of which powered the nostril equipment doorways, the emergency and parking brakes, the flaps, and the flight and floor spoilers throughout takeoff. The wheel brakes operated off of each.
The 36.9-foot-long, 6.5-foot-high, 8.9-foot-wide passenger cabin, with a 248.75 sq. foot flooring space and a 1,748 cubic foot quantity, was once standardly configurated with 40 single-class seats in a four-abreast, two-two, association that entailed 11 rows and had been separated through a 16-inch central aisle. Itself separated from the cockpit through a bulkhead, to which a flight attendant jumpseat was once connected at the port aspect, it was once in part hidden from the air stair by the use of a half-divider.
Of the 11 seat pairs put in at the left aspect, the 1st was once located 23 inches from this partition and the remaining had been separated from each and every different through a 32- to 33-inch pitch, except for the 5th and 6th ones, whose overwing emergency go out alignment featured further separation within the tournament of evacuation wishes. Because of the fairly curving fuselage wall, the 11th pair was once set fairly into the aisle.
The starboard seat pairs, which entailed best 9 rows, started with an set up 24 inches in the back of the ahead shipment compartment wall and aligned with the emergency exits at their fourth and 5th rows.
The first configuration, meant for convertible operations and subsequently facilitating the set up of best 5 seat rows at the proper aspect, necessitated the extension of the compartment wall to the overwing emergency exits, whilst the closing configuration, centered at high-density products and services, required a discounted seat pitch, of from 31 to 32 inches.
The aft carrier space was once shaped through the port loo and the starboard, single-unit galley, the latter of which was once constituted of a sink, meals and garage compartments, and counter area. Because of the airplane’s meant regional sector nature, it was once ok for drinks and chilly snacks or foods.
Reflecting the wide-look interiors offered through the widebody airliners of the Nineteen Seventies, the cabin featured a flat ceiling; enclosed overhead garage compartments with upward-opening, spring-loaded doorways; seat row coincident passenger carrier gadgets (PSUs) with studying lighting fixtures, recent air vents, flight attendant name buttons, and oxygen masks plug valves; molded sidewalls devoid of pull-down window sunglasses; and reclineable, slimline seats provisioned with pull-down tray tables, subject matter literature wallet, and ashtrays.
Divider design, overhead garage compartment door colour, and seat protecting trend diversified in line with buyer selection. One service, for example, decided on a contemporary, round, collage similar to trend with upholstery various between yellow-gold and a mild inexperienced. Another selected an orange motif with a geometrical v-shaped cloth trend.
The four-abreast seating, beneficiant headroom, really extensive seat pitch, galley, loo, and coffee inner noise mixed to provide a passenger revel in whose convenience had by no means earlier than been related to commuter or reginal flying on sectors whose block occasions diversified between 30 and 90 mins.
Baggage, shipment, and mail had been carried in two underfloor holds, either one of that have been accessed through 33.8 through 30.5-inch, downward-opening doorways, however their quantity varied-from 62.8 cubic toes within the ahead one to 51.2 cubic toes within the aft one.
With a 44-passenger configuration, the 2 holds accommodated 12 kilos consistent with cubic foot if the luggage weight was once calculated as 31 kilos consistent with passenger. This higher to 58 kilos within the 40-passenger configuration and to 89 kilos within the 36-passenger one.
The VFW-614’s empty supply, empty working, most payload, and most takeoff weights had been, respectively, 24,250 kilos, 26,900 kilos, 35,500 kilos, and 41,000 kilos. The airplane’s excessive thrust-to-weight ratio, optimally designed airfoil, excessive raise coefficient flaps, and excessive floatation tires facilitated takeoff runways on strips as quick as 3,890 toes or 2,870 toes with 14 levels of trailing edge flap-performance, in reality, similar to turboprop-powered airplanes.
Its excessive thrust-to-weight ratio similarly ensured climbs to its 25,000-foot carrier ceiling in as low as 13 mins. It was once qualified for one engine-out ascents from 8,000-foot airfields with temperatures as excessive as 20.5 levels Celsius.
Its integral design philosophy of lowering block occasions by the use of awesome functionality, particularly at decrease altitudes, fostered excessive day by day, successive-sector usage, consisting of three,400-fpm climbs and cruise pace will increase with distance-that is, to 235 knots on a 200-statute mile phase, 325 knots on a 600-mile one, and 397 knots on all others, its most pace. This functionality ended in a 20-minute block time relief over that of turboprop airliners on reasonable 125-mile routes.
Range diversified between 415 statute miles with a 40-passenger, 8,200-pound payload to at least one,030 miles with a 20-passenger, 4,100-pound one.
Because its most touchdown weight of 41,000 kilos was once the similar as its takeoff one, the airplane required no enroute gasoline burn off, enabling operators to fly preliminary sectors as quick as their course techniques merited. Its excessive raise coefficient Fowler flaps, low wing loading, rugged undercarriage, and nice brakes facilitated sluggish way pace, short-filed landings. Required runway duration diversified from 3,000 toes at a 26,000-pound weight to three,760 toes at a 41,000-pound one. Both had been carried out with 40 levels of flaps, which lowered the stalling pace to 88 knots.
Collectively, those options enabled the VFW-614 to mix a turboprop regional airliner’s passenger means and short-field functionality with a longer-range jet’s pace and luxury.
FLIGHT TEST PROGRAM
The first VFW-614 flight, scheduled for the morning of July 14, 1971 and stipulate upon no less than a three,000-foot ceiling, was once behind schedule till 12:30 p.m., in a while earlier than which the sunshine rain and the intermittent wind squalls subsided and the solar controlled to filter out in the course of the cloud breaks.
The prototype, rising from Hangar 20 amid the tv, radio, and newspaper newshounds, taxied to the runway, creating a 180-degree activate its threshold and spooling up its above-wing-mounted turbofans after receipt of takeoff clearance at 12:56. Releasing its brakes and accelerating down the strip, it circled, virtually like a seesaw, on its fulcrum-serving primary wheels and surrendered to flight after a trifling 500-meter dash.
Generating enough raise with its swept again wings and 15 levels of trailing edge flaps, it peeled itself off of German soil, marking the 1st flight of the western international’s first regional jet and the 1st flight of a German-designed delivery airplane after a 34-year hole.
Quickly adopted into the air through a Hawker Siddeley HS.125 chase airplane, the VFW-614 to begin with demonstrated its flying and dealing with traits at not more than a 280-kph pace in order that its single-slotted Fowler flaps and undercarriage may stay of their prolonged positions. Even lower-speed dealing with traits, with the flaps deflected to their complete, 40-degree place, had been due to this fact examined.
After some 22 airborne mins, the twin-jet made a 360-degree circuit. Heading east towards Neuenlander Field, it lowered its pace with assistance from its speedbrakes and as soon as once more re-extended its flaps to their complete deflection, starting up a sharply downward, however managed way profile. Passing over the outer marker after which the runway’s threshold, the regional jet was once trimmed right into a shallower descent attitude, elevator-flaring over the bottom with a coincident energy relief, without problems brushing the concrete with its primary wheels, bowing onto it with its nostril wheel, and deploying its spoilers to break the raise generated through its wings.
Deceleration, facilitated through toe brake programs and the discharge of a drag chute, was once simply accomplished.
The nose-probe fitted airplane, taxiing towards the cheering crowd after a flawless, 31-minute maiden flight, close down its engines and prolonged its ahead, left, airstair-provisioned door, enabling Chief Test Pilot Leif Nielsen to emerge and proclaim, “Das Ding fliegt. Wir hatten keine Probleme.” “The thing flies. We had no problems.”
Elaborating, he stated that the airplane was once really easy to take care of, very similar to a Cessna 172, with easy, forgiving characteristics-the very ones maximum suited for commuter airways and the varieties of routes and prerequisites to which it’s going to be subjected.
But the flight check program didn’t proceed on this flawless method. Instead, the 1st of 3 prototypes crashed, taking the lifetime of one among its 3 team contributors with it.
Based upon this proof, the Luftfahrt Bundesamt decided that the possible reason behind the coincidence was once the flutter of the elevator servo-tabs. Their restricted diploma of go back and forth had prohibited the elevators from being deflected into the impartial place, ensuing within the critical airplane shake simply earlier than the dive. Based upon those findings, it was once additionally concluded that the check pilots had exhausted all imaginable corrective movements and measures, and, based totally upon cockpit tool readings, sensations, and airplane flying and dealing with traits, made the right kind determination to go away. With correct adjustments, it was once concluded, the VFW-614 was once a valid design.
The VFW-614 won its German form certification on August 23, 1974 and the 1st manufacturing airplane first flew on April 28 of the next yr and was once in the end operated through Air Alsace of France, Cimber Air of Denmark, and TAT Touraine Air Transport of France, together with the Lufwaffe.
Left with out additional orders for business variations of the regional jet, the German govt withdrew monetary fortify for this system and manufacturing ceased on October 31, 1977 with best 16 airplane having been produced, together with 3 prototypes. Three different airplane flew, however had been by no means delivered, and 4 incomplete airframes had been damaged up earlier than finishing touch. VFW in the end repurchased the operational airplane as a way to do away with the price of supporting a minuscule, in-service fleet.
Although the kind was once commercially operated for 3 extra years, it ended up qualifying as the second one worst-selling European business airliner after the Dassault-Breguet Mercure 100, whose dozen produced even integrated the 2 prototypes.
Germany had definitely made a valiant strive, in the course of the Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke, to provide its first post-war business design, its first pure-jet one, and its first reginal jet one, with a unique configuration, at a time when era was once now not reasonably proper and ripe for a cheap one, as evidenced through the loss of such airplane in different places, except for the ones in Russia, the place airline economics and profitability had been low in worry.
Although the VFW-614 program was once plagued through monetary issues, engine producer chapter, design flaw, and life-losing prototype coincidence, the airplane itself in the end triumphed through being qualified, ordered, and commercially operated. But it was once rarely a success, begging the query why. Was the offender the design itself or the regional jet thought it tried to determine?
Air Alsace, Cimber Air, and TAT all ultimately withdrew the kind from carrier, stepping as much as higher apparatus, such because the F.28 Fellowship for higher-demand routes or right down to turboprops for decrease density ones, which enabled them to score profitability with out surcharge-type fares or persistently excessive load elements. In this appreciate, the VFW-614 was once, in some way, the Concorde of the 1st regional jet technology. Unique available in the market, it supplied the rate, convenience, and function that passengers loved, however that pace may now not all the time be exploited on sectors the place a excessive proportion of them had been spent in climb and descent and now not the profitability that its operators required. In change for its benefits had been larger working prices. Inflation and the 1973-1974 gasoline scarcity additional impacted airline operation with the kind, since those elements escalated its working prices and the making sure recession lowered go back and forth call for.
The Rolls Royce M-45H-01 turbofan additionally proved dearer to care for than envisioned, particularly because it was once subjected to high-frequency, short-range frequencies, which ended in top output with each and every takeoff.
Most commuter and regional airways may ill-afford to buy after which function a regional jet in its category, whose best measurable get advantages was once a slight lower in block occasions. Cimber Air, for instance, changed its VFW-614s with turboprop ATR-42-300s, which presented virtually equivalent means. Its, together with Air Alsace’s and TAT’s operation of it, based totally upon then-current and deteriorating financial prerequisites, indicated that the marketplace for which it have been designed both didn’t exist or required a design of a great deal advanced economics to render its operation winning, leaving carriers with the collection of using the present sorts, such because the smaller, turboprops within the type of the Shorts 330 or the bigger, pure-jets, such because the F.28 or the BAC-111.
That VFW was once an almost unknown business airplane producer that didn’t revel in international reputation or had now not established an current buyer base, additional impacted the kind’s luck.
In the tip, the VFW-614 had tried to penetrate the general pure-jet frontier, however all of those elements did not create, tame, and fill it.
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