Construction of the Fokker 100 Next Generation prototype has moved another step closer, following the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs’ recent decision to invest 20 million euro in the project. And just as with the previous generation of Fokker aircraft, the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) will serve as the national supplier of innovation for this new aircraft.
Last week it was announced that aircraft manufacturer, Next Generation (NG) Aircraft (formerly Rekkof), will receive 20 million euro from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to develop a prototype of the Fokker 100 Next Generation. This new, prospective aircraft will be a modern version of the old Fokker 100. Although based on the Fokker 100, this new aircraft will feature the latest fuel-efficient engines, electronics systems and winglets (near-vertical extensions of the wing tips).
The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ decision to invest in Rekkof (which merged with NG Aircraft) is partly owing to research conducted by NLR, which, for example, has already employed computational fluid dynamics to perform calculations for the aircraft’s new engine and engine suspension system.
The Fokker 100 NG prototype will be built over the course of the next 18 months. Once the prototype has successfully undergone flight tests, and prospective buyers are lined up, full-scale production of this new aircraft will commence, at which point the Netherlands will once again have a national aircraft manufacturer.
Before matters progress that far, however, NLR has much preliminary work to complete for this new aircraft, including developing calculation methods to estimate the load on the wings and winglets. Moreover, NLR is now preparing for wind tunnel tests, which involves compiling inventories of what should be tested and which alterations must be made prior to the wind tunnel tests. For this preparatory work, NLR is using the Fokker Wind Tunnel models, which are the property of the NL Agency (Agentschap NL) aviation division, but are managed by NLR. NLR researchers are currently adjusting these models to the correct configurations required for subsequent wind tunnel tests of the engines and engine suspension system. The first wind tunnel tests are scheduled for May 2010.
In addition, NLR is analysing the avionics architecture for which most probably a converter unit wil be required. The converter is an avionics device equipped with software that ensures the Fokker 100 NG Aircraft’s new engine can be tested as part of the existing prototype. NLR will also provide support for the flight tests, which includes supplying the required instrumentation. At a later stage, sometime after 2011, NLR will assist in designing the new cockpit.
NLR will carry out its work under the terms of a general agreement recently reached with NG Aircraft, an agreement that will allow NLR to respond promptly to NG Aircraft’s demands. NLR is exceedingly pleased with the development of the Fokker 100 NG Aircraft , set for completion in 2015. Henceforth NLR will once again serve as the national supplier of innovation to a Dutch aircraft manufacturer.