November 17, 2014 saw the departure of two former Royal Netherlands Air Force Fokker 50s from Lelystad Airport, the Netherlands, to Peru. In 2010 four Fokker 60s were already sold to the Peruvian Navy (Marina de Guerra del Perú). In 2014 the two remaining Fokker 50s followed them to Peru too. The departure of the two Fokker 50s marked the end of the long era in which the RNLAF used Fokker aircraft.
In October 2010 the RLNAF officially retired the two Fokker 50, serialled U-05 “Fons Aler” and U-06 “Robbie Wijting”. The F 50s then were handed over to the Defence Material Organisation (DMO), which is responsible for selling retired military material. The RNLAF kept the Fokker 50s airworthy till 2012, and could operate the aircraft for 20 flight hours per month. The Fokkers were still at their home base Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands.
In 2012 the RNLAF added two extra C-130 Hercules transport aircraft so the Dutch Hercules fleet of already 2 C-130s. The technicians who maintained the Fokker 50s then went back to school to transit to the Hercules, and the air force didn’t have the capacity to keep the Fokker 50s. The DMO then decided to relocate the Fokker 50s to Lelystad Airport. Three Dutch Fokker 50 pilots kept current on the aircraft. These pilots flew the aircraft once in the three months to keep them airworthy.
The choice of Lelystad Airport was based on financial reasons. The DMO had a contract with Nayak, a civil company based at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, to maintain the F 50s. However, storing the aircraft at Schiphol itself was too expensive. To keep travel costs to a minimum Lelystad Airport was chosen as storage.
The DMO tried to sell the Fokkers and worked with several potential new owners. In January 2014 the Peruvian Navy showed interest, but the DMO was working with a Dutch civil company at that moment. However the bank didn’t want to finance the project, so it was cancelled. In April 2014 the negotiations with the Peruvian Navy began.
In 2010 the Peruvian Navy purchased already four former RLNAF Fokker 60 aircraft, which were retired in 2006. The Fokker 60 is actually the longer version of the Fokker 50. These Fokker 60s fly in Escuadrón Aeronaval No 11, based at Lima-Callao. Currently the Peruvian Navy uses two of the F 60s in the Utility Transport task and the other two in the Maritime Patrol task.
During negotiations it became clear that the Peruvian Navy wanted to receive the aircraft as soon as possible after signing the contract. In the purchase were included major overhaul, a new colour scheme and all reserve parts, including one engine, one propeller and one APU. The major overhaul was done at Köln Airport and the paintjob was done by QAPS (Quality Aircraft Painting Services) at Lelystad in September and October respectively.
On November 4, 2014 the contract was signed. That week eight Peruvian pilots got their simulator training in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. These pilots are all Fokker 60 pilots. Also several Peruvian technicians and logistics personnel were in the Netherlands to inspect the aircraft and count and pack the reserve parts. On November 10 the Peruvian pilots flew an acceptance flight with both F 50s. On November 13 the two Fokker 50s, serialled AE-567 and AE-568, former U-05 and U-06 respectively, became officially property of the Peruvian Navy after the signing of the contract of ownership.
The reserve parts for the Fokker 50s will be shipped to Peru with former Royal Netherlands Navy replenishment ship HNLMS Amsterdam (A836), which is also purchased by the Peruvian Navy. Renamed BAP Tacna, this ship will leave Den Helder naval harbour in December.
On Monday November 17 the two Peruvian Navy Fokker 50s departed Lelystad Airport. The plan was to depart at 9.00LT, but a little problem with the AE-568 , former U-06, led to a half an hour delay. Just before the departure a pastor consecrated the aircraft and the crews. Each of the aircraft had one Dutch Fokker 50 pilot on board, who’s task it was to advise the Peruvian crew on, for example, the weather, the route, alternative airports and how to get fuel and catering at the airports.
Just after 9.30 AE-568 took off from runway 05, followed by AE-567 just three minutes later, heading for Iceland. The two aircraft had stops in Iceland, at Goose Bay and Montreal (Canada), Jacksonville (USA), Curacao and arrived at Lima-Callao on Thursday November 20 in the afternoon.
The Fokker 50s will fly along the Fokker 60s with Escuadrón Aeronaval No 11. The Peruvian Navy want to use the aircraft at least for 20 years. This seems a long time, but the airframes are barely used compared to civil Fokker 50s of the same age. The AE-567, former U-05, first flew on May 18 1992, while AE-568 first flew on July 15 1993. The two aircraft are sold with less than 6.000 flight hours flown per airframe. The purchase of the two Fokkers and the amount of spare parts guarantees the Peruvian Navy sufficient transport capacity for many years.
Images and text by Joan le Poole - Naviation
Produced by Giorgio Ciarini and Dario Cocco