What is your opinion of the Fokker 100? Are they considered to be old aircraft or still in its prime?
The Fokker 100 was a popular aircraft in the late 1980s but the improved models of the Boeing 737 and Airbus A319 soon affected its sale and Fokker became insolvent thereafter. The last production of the plane ended in 1997 and up to August 2006, only 229 Fokker 100s remained with around 47 airlines around the world.
How old can an airplane be considered as old? (See previous posting here). There was no consensus but manufacturers came up with a figure of twenty years as the intended economic life. Soon, twenty years became the average age of US fleets. Today, manufactures and airlines refuse to agree on when old is too old because the life span of an airplane can be extended.
All aircraft components have a lifespan that is monitored very closely by maintenance. When they are due for replacement, the components must be changed and the licensed aircraft engineers are under a duty to certify its replacement. Unlike a car where most people only replace a particular part when it breaks down, a fully serviceable component in an aircraft must be replaced when the life, measured in terms of hours are due. Therefore, an older aircraft with new components after a major overhaul is almost just as good as ‘new'. Hence there is a reluctance to establish a definite age for a plane when it can be considered as a geriatric jet!
Now, even though regulations are in place to ensure planes are well maintained, there is the element of good supervision. So, provided the airlines operating the Fokker 100 have good safety records, I would not consider the plane as being in its "prime" in the way you have suggested it.
On 2 January 2008, during the take off in snowfall, a Fokker 100 suffered a failure on its left engine. It then ran off the side of the runway and caught fire. Its main gear collapsed on its way. All on board were able to escape with no or minor injuries. The aircraft was gutted by flames before airport fire service arrived. See video below.
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