Regardless of what constituted the regional jet revolution throughout the Nineteen Nineties with low-capacity, twin-engine designs from Canadair, Embraer, and Dornier, the idea had its origins some two and a half a long time earlier in France, Russia, and Germany.
Market research, significantly within the latter nation, had been carried out throughout the Nineteen Sixties and, with passenger acceptance of pure-jet pace and luxury, as evidenced by the then-emerging proliferation of short-range, low-capacity twin-jets, such because the Sud-Aviation SE.210 Caravelle, the British Plane Company BAC-111, the McDonnell-Douglas DC-9, the Boeing 737, the Dassault-Breguet Mercure 100, and the Fokker F.28 Fellowship, the necessity for an excellent smaller, 40-passenger plane, with a variety as quick as 50 and so long as 1,000 statute miles, arose. Hitherto the area of turboprop and piston regional varieties, this phase represented the ultimate frontier for this powerplant.
Though Fokker’s personal F.28 Fellowship accommodated as few as 65 in its authentic, short-fuselage F.28-1000 model and bridged the hole between propeller commuter plane and the bigger twin-jets, it was nonetheless too giant for significantly skinny, low-demand routes. Common passenger capability requirement on such sectors, as exemplified by the high-wing, twin-turboprop Shorts 330, was 30.
This was no coincidence. Designing a regional-ranged and -capacity jetliner and designing a cost-effective, profit-generating one had been virtually inherent contradictions, particularly with the then-current state-of-the-art powerplant expertise. There was no equal signal between high-speed and low working prices.
The smaller cabin, the decrease was the variety of passengers to cowl these prices by their fares.
However the precise engineering of such an plane, in and of itself, was no technological feat, for the reason that present 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, might have been simply scaled down with shortened fuselages. The latter two, in actual fact, had proposed 60-seat variations, respectively designated BAC-107 and DC-9-5. However each would have been too heavy and too overpowered for profitability and due to this fact wouldn’t have glad the necessities of a real “regional jet.”
What was ideally wanted was the pace of those twins and the capability of the Shorts 330 that will be cost-effective on very quick sectors. In essence, the design would have to be a DC-3 jet substitute.
The turboprop engine, which mixed the turbine’s core with propellers turned by discount gear, equally 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 Web page Herald. The latter two had been high-wing, twin-engine designs. However a pure-jet plane with a capability approximating these propeller airliners solely remained an elusive idea.
Appropriate powerplants for one had been simply as restricted. Of the eight 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 by the Pratt and Whitney JT8D engine, three–the HS.21 Trident, the BAC-111, and the F.28–were powered by the Rolls Royce Spey, and one, the Caravelle, was powered each by the Rolls Royce Avon in its preliminary, short-fuselage variants and the JT8D in its later, stretched-fuselage ones. None of those engines was appropriate for a 40-passenger design.
Though this impediment remained to be resolved, questions of whether or not such pure-jet pace could possibly 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.
However on that horizon was improvement of what could develop into the engineless bush aircraft’s powerplant, not in turboprop kind, however in pure-turbine one. Each Bristol Siddeley within the UK and SNECMA Société Nationale d’Etude et de Development de Moteurs d’Aviation in France had been designing small, low bypass ratio engines, the latter, the M 45 F, for a navy fighter, which, within the occasion, would by no means proceed into manufacturing. However, its core, with modification, had civil software.
The proposed bush sort, which had subsequently been redesignated VFW-614, appeared a chief candidate for it, supplied it was subjected to its personal modifications that retained its rugged, low working value traits, however mated them with pure-turbine expertise that will significantly improve its pace and efficiency.
The VFW-614 bush aircraft, within the meantime, continued to evolve, as options requested by potential operators had been integrated into it. In contrast to any of the opposite previous short-range, low-capacity twin-jets-with the exception, maybe, of the Tupolev Tu-124 and Tu-134 in Russia-it would provide a fuselage solely extensive sufficient for four-abreast coach seating, with a single, central aisle, and its current size and spherical passenger home windows bore a powerful resemblance to a shortened F.28-1000.
The hinged mechanism that allowed the nostril part to swing to the precise was put in on the ahead, starboard facet, behind the cockpit, facilitating the straight-in loading of huge freight objects. However the plane’s convertible nature was supposed to extend its versatility by accepting all-cargo, all-passenger, and combination hundreds, internally separated by a moveable divider. Within the latter case, boarding was achieved with a ventral, extendible air stair, a function integrated in among the different previous twin-jets.
VFW outlined its mission by stating that its design “shall perform efficiently the difficult job of growing reliable and worthwhile operation within the service of the various airways anticipating simply that from a jet plane. The VFW-614 is destined to develop new markets to this point not accessible to operators and to extend passenger quantity in established markets the place outdated gear is setting slim limits of enlargement.”
In 1966, the Federal German authorities supplied 80 p.c of this system’s monetary backing, earmarked for its design and improvement section. Two years later, in July, it expanded that to the development of three prototypes and two static airframes. Nonetheless two years later, it gave full manufacturing go-ahead permission.
VFW outlined its plane as “the particular reply to the short-haul problem.” That that challenge was a problem was an understatement. Along with its design, engineering, and distinctive configuration, it additionally needed to change and persuade operators that the standard turboprop market might develop into a pure-jet one. This shift had hardly been a brand new one.
The answer to this dilemma, VFW believed, lay within the optimum powerplant, that on the time, was the M 45 H with its 2.85-to-1 bypass ratio, which was considerably larger than the comparable 1-to-1 ratio of the Pratt and Whitney JT8D engine that powered many of the tri- and twin-jets. By producing virtually triple the quantity of thrust with air that bypassed the core, or scorching part, the VFW-614’s powerplant would cut back the upper gas consumption historically related to pure-jet engines, together with their noise and working prices, in essence, making the sort potential.
Predating this bypass ratio by at the least a decade, the M 45 H develop into the primary business turbofan to seem, the likes of which might finally energy the later twin-jets such because the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80, the Boeing 737 subsequent technology, the Airbus A320, and the Fokker F.100. Regardless of its development, VFW however confronted the formable job of convincing carriers that its expertise bundle was the precise transfer for the regional market.
Poised behind the marginally ajar hangar doorways with a tow bar hooked up to its nostril gear, 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 sporting its “VFW-614” sort quantity emblazoned on both facet and its producer, “VFW-Fokker,” on both facet of its vertical fin. The phrase “Experimental” was additionally written under 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 plane had been stenciled under the passenger home windows.
Earlier than the nostril probe-fitted jetliner was towed out of the hangar, a quick introductory speech was made to the lots of who had gathered for the momentous event.
“At this time, the VFW-614-for years our primary goal-leaves the factories in Bremen as scheduled in an effort to be subjected to an intensive floor and flight take a look at program. It’s a second which is as important to us as plane producers as a launch is to a ship builder. This roll out completes the primary section of a improvement program which was initiated by VFW a few years in the past and had for a very long time been tormented by unsolved monetary issues and which had lastly achieved its go-ahead in August 1968 after financial and partnership necessities had been fulfilled.”
Because the hangar doorways had been opened, allowing daylight to flood into the plane’s womb, it was towed exterior, giving it start. Check pilots Leif Nielsen and Hans Bardill subsequently subjected it to steering and braking trials.
The regional jet initially appeared as a smaller model of the F.28-1000 with its two engines mounted on both facet, maybe as a result of the observer was unaccustomed to their surprising above-wing pylon location. A second look, nonetheless, confirmed their precise set up level, however simply as rapidly could have led him to imagine that he was viewing the airplane the other way up.
The VFW-614 featured a 66.1-foot-long, 9.5-foot-diameter round cross part fuselage constructed of high-strength aluminum alloys and using superior steel bonding methods to concurrently cut back weight and yield optimum fatigue resistance throughout day by day high-frequency pressurization cycles attribute of regional airline operations. The fail-safe construction, containing the pressurized cockpit and passenger cabin, rendered a 67.6-foot general plane size.
The low-set wings, spanning 70.6 ft, providing a 688.89-square-foot space, 15 levels of sweepback, and three levels of dihedral, had been comprised of a steady two-spar torsion field divided into a middle, fuselage-integral part and two outer ones. Every wing was geared up with two floor spoiler panels, which prolonged upon primary wheel floor contact and spin-up; two flight spoilers, positioned on the outboard facet of the engines; manually-operated Flettner-type bonded duralumin ailerons with a honeycomb trim tab on the left of the 2; and hydraulically actuated, single-slotted, uninterrupted, trailing edge Fowler flaps that had a 124.86-square-foot space and coated three-fourths of the span.
Gasoline was saved within the two outer wing vented integral tanks, every of which was comprised of a primary tank, a provide tank, and a vent compartment and collectively had a 1,383-Imperial, or 1,663-US, gallon capability. The engines, fuel-fed by two booster pumps, might make the most of both tank.
A single-point strain fueling system, whose management panel was geared up with a valve place and gas amount indicators, supplied ten-minute, speedy turn-around refueling functionality. Capacitive probes, measuring every tank’s amount, indicated its readings each on the single-point refueling station instrument panel and within the cockpit. A gravity refueling system was additionally positioned on prime of every wing on the tip.
The wings, designed each for high-speed cruise to scale back block instances and improve day by day utilization and low-speed approaches to scale back deceleration runs and tire and brake put on, integrated low wing loadings of 59.5 kilos per sq. foot, high-lift coefficient, and efficient trailing edge flap design that supplied extension to the 40-degree place.
The all-metal, swept, variable-incidence tailplane, mounted 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 management tab. Powered by an electrical motor, the horizontal stabilizer trim equally operated off of a guide reversion system.
The 2 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 mounted on above-wing pylons which had been positioned behind the aft wing spar. The distinctive configuration averted vulnerability to international object ingestion, which facilitated operation from semi-prepared fields with out requiring vortex dissipator or gravel reflector installations, elevated payload configuration flexibility, lowered touchdown gear strut size necessities, (which themselves lowered construction weight and improved floor accessibility for passenger boarding and baggage loading), eradicated the necessity to divide flaps into sections, lowered the plane’s noise footprint, and averted the aerodynamic issues, reminiscent of deep-stall related to aft-engine-mounted, t-tail designs, like these of the HS.121 Trident and the BAC-111. VFW’s answer additionally facilitated future plane stretchability and therefore capability will increase.
As a result of the wing served as a noise defend, which enabled crews to make use of full energy throughout takeoff from airports the place noise abatement procedures had been ordinarily carried out, the VFW-614 was capable of depart an space extra quickly, decreasing the time the noise footprint was heard and consequently decreasing block instances.
Decrease method speeds, which additionally produced decrease noise ranges, resulted in shorter touchdown runs, precluding the necessity for higher-weight, difficult, noise-generating thrust reversers.
In flight, noise was diminished by the truth that virtually thrice the quantity of thrust as that of decrease bypass ratio turbofans was created by the cooler, slower-velocity air that averted passage by the engine’s scorching, central core.
The powerplant itself, comprised of a seven-stage excessive strain compressor pushed by an air-cooled, single-stage turbine; a five-stage medium-pressure compressor, round combustion chambers with vaporizing burners, and a fan which was devoid of inlet information vanes, was characterised by shorter size, lowered weight, decrease value, and lowered vulnerability to icing. Its modular development, reducing upkeep prices and plane down time, enabled the fan, the high- and low-pressure turbine, and the combustion chamber to be individually eliminated. An entire engine change might in any other case be achieved in beneath two hours by three mechanics.
Inner temperatures assorted between 1,926 levels Fahrenheit throughout takeoff and 1,737 levels at a 21,000-foot cruise altitude at Mach 0.65.
Engines might both be began with a floor beginning unit, the auxiliary energy unit (APU), or by cross feeding bleed air from one of many two already working ones.
Sizzling, compressed bleed air additionally served to deice intakes.
In contrast to the decrease bypass ratio engines of the first-generation of quad jets, such because the Boeing 707-320B and the Douglas DC-8-50, which had been typically solely working at their peaks twice per day on long-range sectors, the M.45-H-01 turbofans had been particularly designed for the excessive day by day frequencies attribute of regional jet operations, whose quick sectors generally numbered between eight and twelve, supplied excessive takeoff and cruise thrust, however low gas consumption, weight, noise, and smoke emissions.
The VFW-614 rested on a tricycle, twin-wheeled undercarriage of Dowty Rotol design, which employed B. F. Goodrich tires and Messier antiskid items, and was rated for greater than 60,000 landings. The nostril gear, which was steerable by 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 coated with two aerodynamic doorways. The principle gear, which used a 34 x 12-12 tire dimension and whose strain was 65 psi, was geared up with a excessive power Goodrich dissipation brake system for close-interval landings and retracted laterally into heart wing field, uncovered wheel wells, the saved wheels themselves forming an aerodynamic seal by following the fuselage contour in an effort to lower weight and ease. The Boeing 737 featured an analogous configuration.
Entrance was supplied by a ahead, left, six-foot, 10.75-inch by two-foot, 5.5-inch curved, downward-opening, electrically operated passenger door, which contained an integral, lighted, seven-step air stair that was saved within the inverted place after door closure.
A 3.10 by three-foot, 7.25-inch primary deck cargo door was positioned on the ahead, proper facet and a 5.25 by 4.0-foot galley servicing door was positioned on the aft, proper facet. Two overwing emergency exits facilitated speedy egress.
The VFW-614 was standardly operated by a two-person cockpit crew. A 3rd, folding observer’s seat, used for take a look at flying and crew coaching, was put in behind the middle console.
Imaginative and prescient was by two ahead, curved, oblong-shaped windshield panels, two sq. facet panes, and two virtually triangular-shaped ones, and all facilitated the discount of slipstream noise to reduce pilot fatigue. Solely the primary pair of the 2 facet home windows had been openable.
The principle management panel, duplicated for the captain and first officer positions, contained the first flight devices, whereas the only heart one featured the engine devices. The grasp warning panel was positioned above the windshield. The left, facet panel, subsequent to the captain, contained the nostril wheel steering tiller for floor taxiing. The 2 management wheels featured autopilot disconnect buttons and the electrically operated stabilizer trim. Adjustable rudder pedals and toe brakes had been put in forward of and under both pilot.
The middle console contained the engine throttles and trailing edge flap extension levers.
Standardly geared up for Class I landings, however optionally convertible to Class II or III operations with extra instrument set up, the plane featured two VHF compasses, two very excessive frequency omni directional instrument touchdown methods (ILS), one computerized course finder (ADF), two compass methods, one autopilot/flight director, distance measuring gear (DME), one ATC transponder, climate radar, a flight information recorder, and a cockpit voice recorder. A DECCA navigation system, a excessive frequency communication system, a DECCA sort 72 Doppler navigation system, a radio altimeter, and a Class II or III autopilot with a flight altitude reference system could possibly be optionally chosen.
The VFW-614 was geared up with a 3,000-psi primary and emergency hydraulic system that used flame-resistant Skydrol 500B fluid, the previous of which operated off of two engine-driven axial piston pumps, and powered the nostril wheel steering, the undercarriage, the wheel brakes, the flight and floor spoilers, and the trialing edge flaps, and the latter of which powered the nostril gear 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 standardly configurated with 40 single-class seats in a four-abreast, two-two, association that entailed eleven rows and had been separated by a 16-inch central aisle. Itself separated from the cockpit by a bulkhead, to which a flight attendant jumpseat was hooked up on the port facet, it was partially hidden from the air stair by way of a half-divider.
Of the eleven seat pairs put in on the left facet, the primary was positioned 23 inches from this partition and the rest had been separated from one another by a 32- to 33-inch pitch, apart from the fifth and sixth ones, whose overwing emergency exit alignment featured extra separation within the occasion of evacuation wants. Due to the marginally curving fuselage wall, the eleventh pair was set barely into the aisle.
The starboard seat pairs, which entailed solely 9 rows, started with an set up 24 inches behind the ahead cargo compartment wall and aligned with the emergency exits at their fourth and fifth rows.
The primary configuration, supposed for convertible operations and due to this fact facilitating the set up of solely 5 seat rows on the precise facet, necessitated the extension of the compartment wall to the overwing emergency exits, whereas the final configuration, focused at high-density companies, required a lowered seat pitch, of from 31 to 32 inches.
The aft service space was fashioned by the port toilet and the starboard, single-unit galley, the latter of which was comprised of a sink, meals and storage compartments, and counter area. Due to the plane’s supposed regional sector nature, it was sufficient for drinks and chilly snacks or meals.
Reflecting the wide-look interiors launched by the widebody airliners of the Nineteen Seventies, the cabin featured a flat ceiling; enclosed overhead storage compartments with upward-opening, spring-loaded doorways; seat row coincident passenger service items (PSUs) with studying lights, contemporary air vents, flight attendant name buttons, and oxygen masks plug valves; molded sidewalls devoid of pull-down window shades; and reclineable, slimline seats provisioned with pull-down tray tables, materials literature pockets, and ashtrays.
Divider design, overhead storage compartment door colour, and seat protecting sample assorted in keeping with buyer alternative. One provider, as an example, chosen a contemporary, round, collage resembling sample with upholstery various between yellow-gold and a lightweight inexperienced. One other selected an orange motif with a geometrical v-shaped cloth sample.
The four-abreast seating, beneficiant headroom, appreciable seat pitch, galley, toilet, and low inside noise mixed to provide a passenger expertise whose consolation had by no means earlier than been related to commuter or reginal flying on sectors whose block instances assorted between 30 and 90 minutes.
Baggage, cargo, and mail had been carried in two underfloor holds, each of which had been accessed by 33.8 by 30.5-inch, downward-opening doorways, however their quantity varied-from 62.8 cubic ft within the ahead one to 51.2 cubic ft within the aft one.
With a 44-passenger configuration, the 2 holds accommodated 12 kilos per cubic foot if the luggage weight was calculated as 31 kilos per passenger. This elevated 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 plane’s excessive thrust-to-weight ratio, optimally designed airfoil, excessive carry coefficient flaps, and excessive floatation tires facilitated takeoff runways on strips as quick as 3,890 ft or 2,870 ft with 14 levels of trailing edge flap-performance, in actual fact, similar to turboprop-powered airplanes.
Its excessive thrust-to-weight ratio equally ensured climbs to its 25,000-foot service ceiling in as little as 13 minutes. It was licensed for one engine-out ascents from 8,000-foot airfields with temperatures as excessive as 20.5 levels Celsius.
Its integral design philosophy of decreasing block instances by way of superior efficiency, particularly at decrease altitudes, fostered excessive day by day, successive-sector utilization, 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 efficiency resulted in a 20-minute block time discount over that of turboprop airliners on common 125-mile routes.
Vary assorted between 415 statute miles with a 40-passenger, 8,200-pound payload to 1,030 miles with a 20-passenger, 4,100-pound one.
As a result of its most touchdown weight of 41,000 kilos was the identical as its takeoff one, the plane required no enroute gas burn off, enabling operators to fly preliminary sectors as quick as their route methods merited. Its excessive carry coefficient Fowler flaps, low wing loading, rugged undercarriage, and efficient brakes facilitated sluggish method pace, short-filed landings. Required runway size assorted from 3,000 ft at a 26,000-pound weight to three,760 ft at a 41,000-pound one. Each had been carried out with 40 levels of flaps, which lowered the stalling pace to 88 knots.
Collectively, these options enabled the VFW-614 to mix a turboprop regional airliner’s passenger capability and short-field efficiency with a longer-range jet’s pace and luxury.
FLIGHT TEST PROGRAM
The primary VFW-614 flight, scheduled for the morning of July 14, 1971 and stipulate upon at the least a 3,000-foot ceiling, was delayed till 12:30 p.m., shortly earlier than which the sunshine rain and the intermittent wind squalls subsided and the solar managed to filter by the cloud breaks.
The prototype, rising from Hangar 20 amid the tv, radio, and newspaper reporters, taxied to the runway, making 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 rotated, virtually like a seesaw, on its fulcrum-serving primary wheels and surrendered to flight after a mere 500-meter dash.
Producing ample carry with its swept again wings and 15 levels of trailing edge flaps, it peeled itself off of German soil, marking the primary flight of the western world’s first regional jet and the primary flight of a German-designed transport plane after a 34-year hole.
Rapidly adopted into the air by a Hawker Siddeley HS.125 chase aircraft, the VFW-614 initially 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 might stay of their prolonged positions. Even lower-speed dealing with traits, with the flaps deflected to their full, 40-degree place, had been subsequently examined.
After some 22 airborne minutes, the twin-jet made a 360-degree circuit. Heading east towards Neuenlander Subject, it lowered its velocity with assistance from its speedbrakes and as soon as once more re-extended its flaps to their full deflection, initiating a sharply downward, however managed method profile. Passing over the outer marker after which the runway’s threshold, the regional jet was trimmed right into a shallower descent angle, elevator-flaring over the bottom with a coincident energy discount, effortlessly brushing the concrete with its primary wheels, bowing onto it with its nostril wheel, and deploying its spoilers to interrupt the carry generated by its wings.
Deceleration, facilitated by toe brake functions and the discharge of a drag chute, was simply achieved.
The nose-probe fitted plane, taxiing towards the cheering crowd after a flawless, 31-minute maiden flight, shut down its engines and prolonged its ahead, left, airstair-provisioned door, enabling Chief Check Pilot Leif Nielsen to emerge and proclaim, “Das Ding fliegt. Wir hatten keine Probleme.” “The factor flies. We had no issues.”
Elaborating, he mentioned that the plane was very simple to deal with, much like a Cessna 172, with easy, forgiving characteristics-the very ones most suited to commuter airways and the forms of routes and situations to which it will be subjected.
However the flight take a look at program didn’t proceed on this flawless method. As an alternative, the primary of three prototypes crashed, taking the lifetime of certainly one of its three crew members with it.
Based mostly upon this proof, the Luftfahrt Bundesamt decided that the possible explanation for the accident was the flutter of the elevator servo-tabs. Their restricted diploma of journey had prohibited the elevators from being deflected into the impartial place, ensuing within the extreme plane shake simply earlier than the dive. Based mostly upon these findings, it was additionally concluded that the take a look at pilots had exhausted all potential corrective actions and measures, and, primarily based upon cockpit instrument readings, sensations, and plane flying and dealing with traits, made the proper determination to go away. With correct modifications, it was concluded, the VFW-614 was a sound design.
The VFW-614 obtained its German sort certification on August 23, 1974 and the primary manufacturing plane first flew on April 28 of the next 12 months and was finally operated by 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 authorities withdrew monetary assist for this system and manufacturing ceased on October 31, 1977 with solely 16 plane having been produced, together with three prototypes. Three different plane flew, however had been by no means delivered, and 4 incomplete airframes had been damaged up earlier than completion. VFW finally repurchased the operational plane in an effort to remove the price of supporting a minuscule, in-service fleet.
Though the sort was commercially operated for 3 extra years, it ended up qualifying because the second worst-selling European business airliner after the Dassault-Breguet Mercure 100, whose dozen produced even included the 2 prototypes.
Germany had definitely made a valiant try, by 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 novel configuration, at a time when expertise was not fairly proper and ripe for a cost-effective one, as evidenced by the shortage of such plane elsewhere, apart from these in Russia, the place airline economics and profitability had been low in concern.
Though the VFW-614 program was tormented by monetary issues, engine producer chapter, design flaw, and life-losing prototype accident, the plane itself finally triumphed by being licensed, ordered, and commercially operated. However it was hardly profitable, begging the query why. Was the wrongdoer the design itself or the regional jet idea it tried to determine?
Air Alsace, Cimber Air, and TAT all ultimately withdrew the sort from service, stepping as much as bigger gear, such because the F.28 Fellowship for higher-demand routes or all the way down to turboprops for decrease density ones, which enabled them to realize profitability with out surcharge-type fares or persistently excessive load components. On this respect, the VFW-614 was, in a method, the Concorde of the primary regional jet period. Distinctive out there, it supplied the pace, consolation, and efficiency that passengers loved, however that pace couldn’t at all times be exploited on sectors the place a excessive share of them had been spent in climb and descent and never the profitability that its operators required. In change for its benefits had been larger working prices. Inflation and the 1973-1974 gas scarcity additional impacted airline operation with the sort, since these components escalated its working prices and the making certain recession lowered journey demand.
The Rolls Royce M-45H-01 turbofan additionally proved costlier to take care of than envisioned, particularly because it was subjected to high-frequency, short-range frequencies, which resulted in peak output with each takeoff.
Most commuter and regional airways might ill-afford to buy after which function a regional jet in its class, whose solely measurable profit was a slight lower in block instances. Cimber Air, for instance, changed its VFW-614s with turboprop ATR-42-300s, which supplied virtually an identical capability. Its, together with Air Alsace’s and TAT’s operation of it, primarily based upon then-current and deteriorating financial situations, indicated that the marketplace for which it had been designed both didn’t exist or required a design of vastly improved economics to render its operation worthwhile, leaving carriers with the selection of using the present varieties, 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 a just about unknown business plane producer that didn’t take pleasure in worldwide recognition or had not established an present buyer base, additional impacted the sort’s success.
Ultimately, the VFW-614 had tried to penetrate the ultimate pure-jet frontier, however all of those components didn’t create, tame, and fill it.