The Fairchild F-27 and Fairchild Hiller FH-227 were versions of the Fokker F27 Friendship twin-engined turboprop passenger aircraft manufactured under license by Fairchild Hiller in the United States. The Fairchild F-27 (note the dash) was similar to the standard Fokker F27, while the FH-227 was an independently-developed stretched version.
The Fokker F27 began life as a 1950 design study known as the P275, a 32 seater powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops. With the aid of Dutch government funding, the P275 evolved into the F27, which first flew on November 24, 1955. The first prototype was powered by Dart 507s and would have seated 28. To correct a slight tailheaviness and to allow for more seats, the second prototype (which first flew in January 1957) had a three-foot longer fuselage length, which would allow seating for 32.
By this stage Fokker had signed an agreement that would see Fairchild build Friendships in the USA as the F-27 (note the dash). The first aircraft to enter service was in fact a Fairchild-built F-27, in September 1958.
Fairchild F-27s differed from the initial Fokker F27 Mk 100s in having basic seating for 40, a lengthened nose capable of housing a weather radar, and additional fuel capacity.
Developments included the Mk 200/F-27A with more powerful engines, Mk 300/F-27B and primarily military Mk 400 Combi versions, the Mk 500 with a 1.50 m (4 ft 11 in) fuselage stretch taking seating to 52, and Mk 600 quick change freight/passenger aircraft.
Fairchild independently developed the stretched FH-227, which appeared almost two years earlier than the Mk 500. The FH-227 featured a 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) stretch over standard length F-27/F-27s, taking standard seating to 52, with a larger cargo area between the cockpit and the passenger cabin.
581 F27s, 128 F-27s and 78 FH-227s were built. Fokker production comprised 85 Mk 100s, 138 Mk 200s, 13 Mk 300s, 218 Mk 400 & 600s, 112 Mk 500s and six F-27MPA Maritimes. 290 Fokker-built and 25 Fairchild aircraft in service in late 1998. Additionally, approximately 25 were used as corporate transports.
On Friday 13 October, 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, a twin turboprop FH-227D carrying 45 people crashed in the Andes mountains. The event became known as the 'Andes flight disaster', and was the subject matter upon which the film 'Alive' was based.