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The Fokker 50 was the successor to Fokker's F27 Friendship turboprop airliner; the company announced development of the new version in November 1983. The Fokker 50 is based on the fuselage of the F27, but design changes included the addition of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW125 turboprops driving six blade Dowty Rotol props that gave a 12 per cent higher cruising speed, greater fuel economy and thus range. These replaced the original Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops. There were new avionics and an EFIS glass cockpit, limited use of composites, small Foklet winglets and more cabin windows.
Two prototypes were built based on F27 airframes, the first flying on 28 December, 1985. The first production aircraft flew on 13 February, 1987 and certification was granted in May 1987. The first customer delivery took place three months later, more than a year after the final F27 delivery.
The Fokker 50 is capable of operations from unpaved surfaces and of performing steep airport approaches.
In March 1996, production was terminated as the company went into liquidation and the final Fokker 50 was delivered in 1997.
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