Wednesday, October 28, 2020

HISTORICAL INTEREST: Five Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28's that flew as Military Transports / LADE

Eleven F-28's Served with the Argentine Government & Military

* The Fuerza Aerea Argentina flew five F-28's in the military transport role and with the state airline Lineas Aereas del Estado (LADE).

The FAA also flew three F-28's as VIP+Presidential transports, one of which also operated as a military transport and with LADE. 

* The Armada Argentina (Navy) flew three F-28's.

This posting will cover the first five aircraft noted above with two postings to follow this one covering the other six planes.

Five Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Military Transports / LADE

The FAA took delivery of all five of these F-28's in 1975.  

Their military transport duties included flying supplies between Air Force bases in Argentina plus emergency medical and foreign airmail flights.  Notably, the F-28's supplied Argentine forces in the Islas Malvinas / Falkland Islands throughout the 1982 South Atlantic War.      

With LADE, the aircraft operated flights to remote locations in the southern Patagonia region of Argentina plus, starting in 1977, services connecting Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD) with Puerto Argentino / Port Stanley in the Malvinas / Falklands.

The last F-28 flight operated in any capacity by any entity in Argentina was thought to have been flown by Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-53 (c/n 11020), in August 2019 shortly before the aircraft's time limit for undergoing heavy maintenance.  However, Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-52 (c/n 11074), operated a flight between Mendoza (MDZ) and Villa Reynolds (VME) as recently as 05Oct20.  

Individual Aircraft Histories:

Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-51 (c/n 11076), in the factory delivery color scheme.  Date and location unknown.  (Phil Perry Collection)   

F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-51 (c/n 11076), was delivered by Fokker, the aircraft's manufacturer, on 13Jan75, the same day as Aerolineas Argentinas' first of three factory new F-28's, LV-LOA (c/n 11085) was handed over to the Argentine national airline.     

TC-51 joined the 1st Aerial Brigade based out of El Palomar Air Force Base and flew for Lineas Aereas del Estado (LADE). Unlike the other four F-28's operated by the FAA, TC-51 was never modified with a cargo door, always flying only passengers in the main cabin.  

The aircraft continued in steady service for the FAA until it suffered an accident on 16Aug89.  TC-51 was departing from Bariloche (BRC) to Neuquen (NQN) in marginal weather when it partially departed the left side of the snow-covered runway.  The pilot was able to regain control of the aircraft but it was not able to take off properly, "struck an ILS aerial, crossed a ditch and ended up against a dyke". 

The aircraft was apparently flying for LADE as it had 65 occupants onboard, some of whom were reportedly seriously injured but all survived.  TC-51 was "damaged beyond repair" and finished its career with a total of 14,002 hours and 18,255 cycles on its airframe.        

Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-52 (c/n 11074), at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), apparently in November 1998. (Phil Perry Collection)

F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-52 (c/n 11076), was delivered new from the Fokker factory to the Fuerza Aerea Argentina on 30Jan75, promptly joining the force's 1st Aerial Brigade, also flying for Lineas Aereas del Estado (LADE).  

The aircraft also gained the Argentine civil registration LV-RCS in 1991, flying for Dinar Lineas Aereas, an Argentine regional carrier of the time, for two years after which it was re-registered back to TC-52 in 1993.     

Like three other F-28's operated by the FAA, TC-52 was later modified with a cargo door.

As of 31Aug18, TC-52 had accumulated 23,666 flight hours over 27,292 cycles and, as of this writing, is the sole F-28 still flying in Argentina and perhaps the entire world.

Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-53 (c/n 11020), at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 15Aug14 in the most recent Argentine Air Force color scheme, also sporting a "100 Years" emblem on the tail commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the FAA.  (Phil Perry Photo)    

Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-53 (c/n 11020), at Buenos Aires El Palomar (EPA) on 17Dec19 with its tail painted in red colors and sporting its unit insignia in commemoration of the retirement of the F-28 type from FAA service in August 2019 (except that TC-52 continues to fly for the FAA until this day).  (Phil Perry Photo)

F-28 Mk-1000, (c/n 11020), first flew in 1970 with Fokker delivering it to its US marketing partner Fairchild Hiller Corp. as N283FH in June 1970.  Fairchild Hiller manufactured the Fokker F-27 as the Fairchild F-27 and a stretched version as the FH-227, with the production run of both types totaling 206 airframes.  

The company apparently operated N283FH as an executive transport until 1975 when a cargo door was added converting the aircraft to an F-28 Mk-1000C and the plane was delivered to the Fuerza Aerea Argentina as TC-53 on 07May75.  The aircraft promptly joined the 1st Aerial Brigade and Lineas Aereas del Estado where it flew until wing cracks were discovered on 16Aug19 leading to its retirement only two weeks before its airworthiness certificate was set to expire on 31Aug19.

Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-54 (c/n 11018), at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), reportedly in March 1996.  (Phil Perry Collection)

Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-54 (c/n 11018), at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 24Oct10 in the last scheme that it wore.  (Phil Perry Photo)

This aircraft was delivered to Fairchild Hiller Corp. in March 1970, operating for the company until April 1975 when it was converted to a cargo version with the addition of a cargo door and subsequently delivered to the Fuerza Aerea Argentina as TC-54 in July 1975.   

TC-54 joined the 1st Aerial Brigade and Lineas Aereas del Estado (LADE) until August 1992 when it acquired the dual civil registration of LV-VCS, apparently flying for Dinar Lineas Aereas.

By 1994, the aircraft was back flying full time for the FAA / LADE, finally being retired in 2016 with 21,415 hours and 24,515 cycles on its airframe through October of that year. 

Fuerza Aerea Argentina F-28 Mk-1000C, TC-55 (c/n 11024), at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on an undetermined date.  (Phil Perry Collection)

This aircraft's history closely parallels that of TC-54 / (c/n 11018), having been delivered to Fairchild Hiller in 1970, converted to a cargo version in 1975 and  continuing on to the FAA / LADE later that year where it joined the 1st Aerial Brigade and LADE. 

The aircraft soldiered on with the FAA / LADE for four decades being retired in 2016 with 20,036 hours and 23,497 cycles accumulated on its airframe at that time.  


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