Last flight of the VFW-614
DC-3 Jet replacement
By Micheal Prophet
Last December the ATTAS (Advanced Technologies Testing Aircraft System) VFW 614 D-ADAM (construction number G-017) made its last flight ever and flew to its new home in the South of Germany.
The VFW-Fokker 614 (also VFW 614) is a twin-engined jetliner designed and built in West Germany. It was produced in small numbers by VFW-Fokker in the early- to mid-1970s. It was originally intended as a DC-3 replacement. Its most distinctive feature was that its engines were mounted in pods on pylons above the wing.
In 1968, the project was given the go-ahead, with 80 percent of the backing from the West German Government. Full scale production was approved in 1970, by which time VFW had merged with Fokker Aircraft (Holland) (a somewhat unhappy arrangement which lasted for only ten years). Also risk sharing agreements had been concluded with SIAT in Germany, Fairey and SABCA in Belgium and Shorts in the UK. Final assembly of the aircraft would be done in Bremen Germany.
The first of three prototypes G-01 D-BABA rolled out on the 5th April 1971 and made its first test flight on July 14, 1971. Meanwhile, the second prototype, G02, D-BABB, made its first flight on January 14, 1972.
Only three airlines companies (Touraine Air Transport TAT, Air Alsace, Cimber Air) plus the Luftwaffe operated new VFW 614s. The aircraft was initially prone to engine problems, and it was too expensive for the small regional airlines, for which it was originally designed. Three aircraft were flown but never delivered, and four airframes were broken up before completion. The program was officially cancelled in December 1977 with 16 production machines and 3 prototypes produced.
The commercial service ended between 1979/1980 after which time all a/c were taken back by VFW-Fokker. The Luftwaffe did fly the longest time with its VFW 614s: until August 1998.
In 1999 three, ex-Luftwaffe VFW 614s were bought by West Air Sweden. They would have been taken into service by MUK-Air, Aeronet International, Scan Con Airways respectively of Denmark. Due to worldwide recession in the airfreight market this venture never materialized.
G-015 registered as D-ASAX, which had been stored for a long time at Lemwerder was modified during 1998/1999, as a test-bed for the then exiting DASA (Daimler Benz Aerospace GmbH). As ATD Aerospace Technologies Demonstrator this 614 was used for the testing of a new kind of fly-by-wire control system.