Fokker F.27-100 Friendship, c/n 10105: History by Gil White

First flight flown on 23/3/1958 under the Dutch registration of PH-FAA to Fokker. Purchased new by Aer Lingus on 19/11/1958 and reregistered EI-AKA. Whilst in service with company aircraft was named 'Fionntan' which was named after a missionary saint in a naming ceremony held at Schiphol on 19/11/1958 by the wife of the Irish ambassador to the Netherlands Nancy Gallagher. The initial Ansett-ANA crews flew endorsement flights during September 1959 with Aer Lingus flight crews on the Aer Lingus network of airports serviced by the Fokker Friendship.

Sold to Fokker during July 1966 and reregistered PH-FSF. Sold to New Zealand National Airways Corporation on 19/7/1966 and reregistered ZK-NAH. Whilst in service with company aircraft renamed 'Kawatere'. Ownership of aircraft transferred to New Zealand on 1/4/1974 when the companies merged. Sold to Australian Aircraft Sales (N.S.W.) P/L during November 1983 and reregistered VH-NLS on 12/1/1984. Aircraft held in storage at Tullamarine until sold to Charter Cruise Air Ltd and registered to company on 27/12/1985. On 31/10/1995 registered to Aircruising Australia Ltd, which was based at Sydney.

On 11/11/199 whilst departing from the departure bay at Rotorua Airport this aircraft had to make a hard right turn to avoid other aircraft in the immediate vicinity. The left rear fuselage collided with a set of passenger steps during the turn, resulting in a 60 centimetre tear in the aircraft skin behind the rear pressure bulkhead. Aircraft returned to the ramp after the crew of another aircraft reported the damage. An investigation subsequently revealed that the ground handling staff had failed to move the steps sufficiently clear after passenger embarkation. An inspection of the aircraft determined that there was no structural damage. A temporary skin repair was carried out and the aircraft was ferried to Sydney where permanent repairs were affected.

Captain S Weatherstone of Aircruising contacted the Fokker Friendship Association and advised them that the company was selling this aircraft, which was the first production Fokker Friendship. An inspection by Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Inc on behalf of the Fokker Friendship Association was conducted and the aircraft passed with flying colours. In late November after payment of purchase price by the Fokker Heritage Trust aircraft was readied for the ferry flight.

Departed Sydney on the ferry flight back to its birthplace on 6/12/2004 and routed via Mt Isa, Darwin, Denpasar, Singapore, Bangkok, Calcutta, Mumbai, Muscat, Bahrein, Larnaca, Corfu and arrived at Lelystad on 15/12/2004. Its arrival was marred by the low cloud base and drizzling rain but those that witnessed its arrival were extremely happy to see its return to Dutch soil. The crew for the ferry flight were Captains B Simpson, S Weatherstone and R Austen, Ground Engineer B Witney. Captain J Maasdam joined the flight at Corfu.
VH-NLS arriving At Lelystad 15Dec04

On 16/12/2004 aircraft was ferried to the Fokker-Stork facilities at Woensdrecht where it will undergo a major overhaul. After overhaul it will be operated by the F27 Friendship (Flight) Association from Lelystad (Aviodrome) for sightseeing tours as well as the air show circuit under a Dutch registration. Its new identity has yet to be ascertained.

Still registered in Australia to the company in December 2004.

© Gil White (2004).

To Arrival of VH-NLS at Lelystad, 15 Dec. 2004

Gil White 2005IN MEMORIAM.
"It has been a great pleasure to have known you all, but my days are now numbered." -24Jun06.
Gil White passed away on 27Jun06. He will be remembered by me as a enthusiastic (Ansett) historian and a courageous person; may he rest in peace.

Created: 21-06-05
Last updated 29.8.2005