The VFW 614 was produced in small numbers during the early- to mid-1970s by VFW-Fokker, a company resulting from a merger between VFW and the Dutch aircraft company Fokker. However, the program was officially cancelled in 1977, the anticipated sales and thus production having not been achieved.
Role Target tug
Manufacturer Farner Werke
First flight 19 August 1968
Primary user Swiss Air Force
Number built 24
Developed from EKW C-3603
The F+W C-3605, nicknamed Schlepp (“Tug”) or “Alpine Anteater”, was a target towing aircraft operated by the Swiss Air Force from 1971–1987. The aircraft was developed during the latter half of the 1960s by the Swiss Federal Construction Works (Eidgenoessische Konstruktionswerkstaette) (EKW), renamed Farner Werke (F+W) in 1972, as a conversion of the existing C-3603 ground attack/target towing aircraft. Following a successful prototype conversion in 1968, 23 aircraft were converted between 1971–1973 with 2 still flying in private hands.
In 1967 the Swiss Air Force determined that their C-3603-1 target-towing aircraft still had approximately 10 years of structural life remaining, but that the plane’s Hispano-Suiza piston type engines were on the verge of wearing out, with replacements becoming scarce. The C-3603-1 was based on a World War II era ground attack design which had been inspired by the design of the Messerschmitt Bf 109
C-3605s are displayed in several museums, including the Flieger Flab Museum (Aviation Museum) in Dübendorf, Switzerland and the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California. The C-3605 is also popular as a “warbird” with civilian owners.
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The first two pre-production triplanes were designated F.I, in accord with Idflieg’s early class prefix for triplanes. These aircraft, serials 102/17 and 103/17, were the only machines to receive the F.I designation and could be distinguished from subsequent aircraft by a slight convex curve of the tailplane’s leading edge. The two aircraft were sent to Jastas 10 and 11 for combat evaluation, arriving at Markebeeke, Belgium on 28 August 1917.
Richthofen first flew 102/17 on 1 September 1917 and shot down two enemy aircraft in the next two days. He reported to the Kogenluft (Kommandierender General der Luftstreitkräfte) that the F.I was superior to the Sopwith Triplane. Richthofen recommended that fighter squadrons be reequipped with the new aircraft as soon as possible.
Maximum speed: 432 km/h (268 mph, 233 kn) at 3,050 metres (10,010 ft)
Cruise speed: 420 km/h (260 mph, 230 kn)
Stall speed: 98 km/h (61 mph, 53 kn) flaps down
Never exceed speed: 600 km/h (370 mph, 320 kn)
Range: 980 km (610 mi, 530 nmi) with 10% reserve
Service ceiling: 10,000 m (33,000 ft)
An improved model of the aircraft, the PC-7 Mk II, was developed during the 1990s by combining the newer PC-9's airframe and avionics with the PC-7's smaller turbine engine. Reportedly, in excess of 500] PC-7s have been sold to various operators, the majority of which still being in service. In Pilatus' line-up, the PC-7 has been succeeded by the newer PC-9 and PC-21 trainers.
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