For nearly thirty years Austrian Airlines and KLM were stalwarts of the Fokker 70 & 100 owning airlines in Europe, with a few operational in other airlines like Helvetic (all being replaced by E190’s), and a couple of others.
Over the years Austrian flew 15 F70’s and 15 F100’s. The F100’s stayed in service until the last day of 2017, having been slowly withdrawn over the year.
14 of them were in standard livery, one PH-ZFJ was in StarAlliance, and she was the last one I got to fly on in September 2015, on the way back from Salzburg to Frankfurt. We’d flown out on OE-LVF below.
OE-LVE, named Zagreb wasn’t always Austrian, She’d started life working for American Airlines in March 1994 as N1467A (fleet number 2DB), until they retired her and stored her at Mojave in April 2004. She joined the then Austrian Arrows (as Austrian was called until 2012) in November 2004 until being withdrawn from service on 31st December 2017.
For the last few months she wore the livery on this model, “Austrian says goodbye Fokker 1988-2017”. Other that the Fokker in signature blue, the rest was standard livery. The graphic was also only placed on the loading (left) side of the aircraft – it’s just standard livery on the right side. Clearly Austrian wasn’t going to waste money unnecessarily!
I always liked the now old Austrian livery. The pale sky blue engines, the deeper sky blue underside, and the national flag colours of red and white. These were reflected in the interiors, with pale blues, reds and greys. The seats were big chunky things, really comfortable and not at all what you’d find on a modern airliner.
The fist thing you can’t help but notice on these aircraft, is the strangely whining Rolls Royce Tay 650-15’s. They make the most extraordinary noise, and soon sound like a bag of highly agitated wasps as it takes off. With rear engines and a T-tail, that can be really very fast, this wing and tail set up is ideal for short take off’s. If you’re not expecting the landing gear to drop, when it does so it was quite a surprise, with the drop happening from gravity, the whole aircraft seemed to thump downward momentarily!
These aircraft were an experience. You knew you were on something different, they felt special because of it. These days you’re in a relatively sanitized and isolated environment. This is the difference between driving a 1930’s Bentley open top tourer by the seat of your pants and feeling totally cut off from the world in the latest isolation tank on wheels, say a modern Rolls Royce.
There was no doubt this was an aircraft with plenty of character. It will be missed. If you get the chance, Helvetic still operate five in Europe, mostly from Basle, two of which are on lease to Lufthansa in Munich during summer 2018. I’d hoped to be on one in June on the way back from Basle, but we’ve been moved on to the newly arrived E190’s.
As to OE-LVE, well it’s not the end of the road for her for a few years yet – she, along with many of her sisters are now flying in Australia for Alliance Airlines, she’s now VH-UQA.
Very disappointed that the F70 was given aerials and the F100 was not. It has two moulded in domes, but is in essence a longer version of the F70 mould.
One of the extraordinary things about Gemini and its manufacturers is that there seems to be an incredible capacity for detail and neatness on very small models, even old moulds, that illude it on larger ones.
The model is full of exquisite little details and they’re all just as you might hope, a surprising level of quality, accuracy and the delight that ensues when these things are achieved.
Not quite as seamlessly fitted as the F70 KLM versions – as they are the self-same mould this shouldn’t really be a problem. The left side is a lot gappier than the right. Fortunately at this scale it’s not something so hideously obvious you’ll cry about it, but if it was on a 772 you’d be deeply unimpressed.
Simple, straight forward and accurate. My only gripe is that the very small nose gear tyres, have an almost as large lump on them.
Really excellent, superbly detailed, correct colours and graphics, the small Rolls Royce units look the part and again, for their small size, remarkably good.
Again extraordinarily detailed for its size, and generally really rather excellent. I find nothing to moan about.
Exemplary. I struggle to find even the smallest thing to pick on, its superbly done.
The only thing that strikes me as just a bit off – and not by much is the shade of grey of the grey arrow. Just a bit too pale.
8.Score and conclusions
For the most part an excellent model.
- -2 for the too light grey of the grey arrows
- -3 for lack of aerials – it could have as many as three under and two above, but none is a disappointment when the F70 model has them
45/50 for Accuracy
- -3 for the left wing fit – this is a cradle, it should be even!
- -1 for the rubber excess on tyres
46/50 for quality
Overall score: 91% – I believe that’s a record high this year so far!
The Austrian Fokker 100 deserves to go out on a high and this one does. Remarkable Gemini can pull this off sometimes, all the more remarkable that they manage on the smallest, hardest to reproduce models.
My recommendation: You should definitely have one of these!