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Bonanza Air Lines Fairchild F-27A Silver Dart


Model ID#:





Silver Dart







Bonanza Air Lines

Model Scale:




historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1966

SKU: Model-0271 Categories: ,

Additional Information:

The Fairchild F-27 was a version of the Fokker F27 Friendship twin-engine turboprop passenger aircraft manufactured under license by Fairchild Hiller in the United States. The Fairchild F-27 was similar to the standard Fokker F27.

The Fokker F27 Friendship was a turboprop airliner developed and manufactured by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker. It was the most numerous post-war aircraft manufactured in the Netherlands and the F27 was also one of the most successful European airliners of its time. The F27 was developed during the early 1950s with the intent of producing a capable successor to the earlier piston engine-powered airliners that had become commonplace on the market, such as the Douglas DC-3. A key innovation of the F27 was the adoption of the Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engine, which provided improved conditions for passengers. Another major added comfort feature was cabin pressurization along with Innovative manufacturing techniques used in the aircraft’s construction.

By this time, Fokker had signed an agreement to have Fairchild build Friendships in the U.S. as the F-27. The first aircraft of either manufacturer to enter service in the U.S. was, in fact, a Fairchild-built F-27, with West Coast Airlines in September 1958. Other Fairchild F-27 operators in the U.S. included Air South, Air West and successor Hughes Airwest, Allegheny Airlines, Aloha Airlines, Bonanza Air Lines, Horizon Air, Ozark Air Lines, Pacific Air Lines, Piedmont Airlines (1948-1989), Northern Consolidated Airlines, and successor Wien Air Alaska.

The Fairchild F-27s were different from the initial Fokker F27 Mk 100s in having basic seating for 40, heavier external skinning, a lengthened nose capable of housing weather radar, and additional fuel capacity. They also incorporated a passenger airstair door in the rear of the aircraft, operated by a flight attendant, which eliminated the need for separate stairs on the ground. Additional developments included with the F-27A were more powerful engines.

Bonanza Air Lines was established in 1945 and based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The carrier flew routes within Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and into Mexico from their hubs at Phoenix and Las Vegas. Per the January 4, 1959 Bonanza timetable, the route map indicates that Bonanza had applied for a Las Vegas-Grand Canyon-Gallup-Albuquerque route but this route never came to be. At the time Bonanza was operating all Douglas DC-3 aircraft.

Bonanza did briefly serve Albuquerque during the summer of 1966 on an emergency basis when Trans World Airlines (TWA) was on strike. As TWA was the backbone airline for Albuquerque, the city was crippled without its service. From Albuquerque, Bonanza flew late night flights to Phoenix and Las Vegas using Fairchild F-27’s and Douglas DC-9’s. Bonanza merged with Pacific and West Coast Airlines in 1968 to form Air West and two years later was bought out by Howard Hughes and renamed “Hughes Airwest”. After airline deregulation in late 1978, Hughes Airwest announced plans to serve Albuquerque from both Salt Lake City and Tucson however the carrier decided against its service before it started. In 1980 Hughes Airwest merged with Republic Airlines which in turn merged into Northwest Airlines in 1986. Northwest began serving Albuquerque in 1992 and merged with Delta Airlines in 2010. Delta had been serving Albuquerque since 1983. The original Bonanza routes and hubs were mostly discontinued in the early 1980’s leaving very few remnants of Bonanza to be reflected in Delta Airlines over 40 years later.

The Fokker F-27’s were built under contract by Fairchild in the U.S. for smaller local service and regional airlines. Bonanza Air Lines entered the turbo-prop field with this aircraft. During the TWA mechanic’s strike in the summer of 1966, the FAA granted Bonanza route extension into Albuquerque for flights to Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona. Flights into Albuquerque were flown with A/C #N146L.

A Bonanza flight passing over Boulder Dam just before landing into Las Vegas, Nevada