General / History of the VFW 614
The VFW 614 is the first jet passenger plane developed and mass-produced in the Federal Republic of Germany. The program start took place in the middle of the sixties, the first flight was in 1971. With the development of this airplane in Bremen and the series production at the Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke at Lemwerder the foundation-stone was layed for the participation of Germany in the Airbus program. Many technical innovations, which applied in the VFW 614 for the first time, still form the base for the development of new aircraft models today.
In 1965 the VFW 614 was conceived as short-distance plane and aimed in particular at the market of the developing countries. Some special features of the airplane have their origin in this aim, for example the most apparent feature, the engines which are installed on the wings. This assembly position enables a quite short and thus sturdy and light landing gear, which is very favorable in particular for takeoffs and landings on poorly reinforced runways. Additionally the high engine position means better protection from dust and dirt, which can be whirled up by the soil. The renouncement of a reverse thrust for braking after the landing means smaller structure loads and thus fewer maintenance costs, the deceleration was guaranteed by an extremely good brake (with ABS) and spoilers on the upper side of the wings.
Even today the VFW 614, of which three units have been in service at the flying squad of the German Air Force until march/september 1998, is far superior in the shortness of the start and landing distance to other types of comparable size.
In the course of the development of the VFW 614 the Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke (VFW) merged with Fokker to the new VFW-Fokker GmbH. After the first flight in 1971 and the crash of the first prototype during the testing phase the mass-production of the VFW 614 started in 1974. Altogether there were 19 aircraft built, 13 of them went into service.
At the end of the seventies the VFW 614 program ended, since no more orders had been received over a longer period. The economical and financial prerequisites for continueing the program were no longer guaranteed. The starting Airbus program had considerable problems regarding their sales in the beginning due to their strong competitors in the US and therefore it had highest priority. Anyway, Boeing certified the VFW 614 to have absolutely no competition at that time due to the high technical standard.
At the beginning of 1998 five airworthy units existed, three of them (as already mentioned above) at the Federal Air Force, one at the DLR, Braunschweig, and one at the EADS-Airbus in Bremen. The aircraft formerly owned by the Federal Air Force have been gradually superseded in 1998 after 21 years of successful service and are now being used for ground training, simulation and exhibition aircraft. The ATD owned by EADS has been moved to the visitor terrace at the Bremen Airport for exhibition purposes. The aircraft owned by the DLR (experimental and research aircraft ATTAS) is the only one which is still in service and will be for some more years.
After the war with the VFW 614 a new period began for the german aircraft industry and an important milestone was laid down in the history of aircraft construction in Germany.
Further information is available within this presentation of the VFW 614 by Joachim Kruth (PDF, German language only).
Philipp Jordan, Joachim Kruth (Friends of the VFW 614), drawings of G3 by Bastian Mail
||Max. cabin width:
|Max. cabin height:
|Max. takeoff weight:
||Max. landing weight:
||Max. operating speed:
||700 km/h / 378 kt (21000 ft)
|Max. cruise speed:
||735 km/h (21000 ft) oder Mach 0.65
|Min. takeoff distance:
||Min. landing distance:
|Max. operating altitude:
||7620 m / 25000 ft
||1200 km (40 Pax)
|Range (40 passengers):
||2x 3390 kp = 33.2 kN
||Rolls-Royce/SNECMA M45H Mk 501