The VFW-Fokker 614 is famed for its misfortune. Woeful sales performance was followed by the jet being pulled from commercial service within a decade of its first flight. However, a sole example soldiers on, training next-generation engineers, as Martin Needham discovers here
The VFW-Fokker 614 was the first jet airliner to be designed and built in West Germany. Its Bremen-based manufacturer had hoped that the type’s unmistakable design would serve as a successor to the Douglas DC-3 – much as Airspeed had hoped for its Ambassador, Fokker its Friendship, Aviation Traders its Accountant and Hawker Siddeley the 748. Yet, as we enter the sixth decade since the ‘614’s maiden flight, airworthy examples of the Long Beach-built propliner outnumber the combined fleet of its aforementioned would-be replacements.