Fairchild-Dornier 728 family
The 728 family was Fairchild-Dornier's ambitious bid to develop a range of regional jet airliners to supplement the smaller 328JET series, and attracted strong airline interest when launched. Although the aircraft was a modern design, the program ended with the insolvency of Fairchild Dornier.
The lead aircraft in the program was the 70 to 85 seat 728 (previously named 728JET), which made its official roll-out on March 21, 2002, and it was scheduled to make the first flight in the summer of 2002. Deliveries should have started in mid 2003 to Lufthansa Cityline.
Following the 728 into service would have been the stretched 95 to 110 seat 928, with first flight scheduled in late 2003, and entry into service in 2005. Apart from the stretched fuselage - cabin length from behind the flightdeck would have been 23.05 m (75 ft 7 in) allowing seating for 95 to 110 passengers - it would also have featured an increased wing span. The shortened 55 to 65 seat 528 (23.38 m (76 ft 9 in) fuselage length and 15.84 m (52 ft 0 in) cabin length) would have followed the 928. The three types would have featured a high degree of commonality, including engine type, and the same flightdeck, allowing a common pilot type rating.
Fairchild Dornier also launched a corporate jet version of the 728, the Envoy 7, which was foreseen to enter service in 2004. The Envoy 7 had intercontinental range and would be equipped with Fairchild Dornier's "Super Shark" winglets.
Corporate versions of the 528 and 928, the Envoy 5 and Envoy 9 respectively, were also planned.
Fairchild Dornier (at this time Dornier Luftfahrt GmbH) announced the project in November 1997 at the Dubai air show. The Company Dornier launched this new family of regional jets seating from 55 to 100 passengers on May 19 1998, with provisional launch orders from Lufthansa (60 firm orders and 60 options) and Crossair. Crossair later cancelled it's orders after learning from modifications that were made after recommendations by Lufthansa. To prevent that Low-cost carriers could equipp the 728 with a six-abreast seating, instead of the Cityline's five-abreast seating, Lufthansa made Fairchild Dornier reduce the fuselage diameter. It shrinked from original 3,40 m (11 ft 2 in) to 3,25 m (10 ft 8 in). The reduction also lowered the weight of the aircraft, but brought Crossair to choose the Embraer ERJ-170 family.
In August 1998 Fairchild Dornier announced it had selected General Electric's FADEC equipped CF34-8D (which has 87% parts commonality with the CF34-8C1 selected to power the competing CRJ-700) ahead of the SNECMA/Pratt & Whitney Canada SPW-14 to power the 728. In September '98 further 728 suppliers were announced, including Honeywell for its Primus Epic integrated EFIS avionics suite with flat panel LCDs, AlliedSignal (APU and environmental control system), Lucas Aerospace (for a fly-by-wire flight control system), BFGoodrich (landing gear, wheels, tyres, brakes and fuel system), Hamilton Sundstrand (integrated electric system), and Parker Aerospace (hydraulics). CASA would build the wings and empennage.
The base version of the 728 was the 728-100, which would have been followed end 2003 by the extended range and higher payload 728-200. The 200 would have had a 3000 kg (6615 lbs) higher MTOW and a 750 km (400 NM) increase in range. In its class, the 728 had the largest cabin (0.51 cm wider than the Embraer 170/190, and 0.70 cm wider than the CRJ-700) with five-abreast seating.
In June 2000 GECAS ordered 50 aircraft firm and additional options up to 100 aircraft.
In October 2000 the tests of with the „Iron Bird“ (a mechanical/hydraulic - test rig in 1 : 1 scale) began.
March 2001 saw the beginning of the final assembly of the first prototype.
In April 2001 General Electric Aircraft Engines (GEAE) began flight tests of the CF34-8 engine.
Fairchild Dornier completed the first fuselage in December 2001.
In January 2002 the first prototype moved on its own landing gear for the first time.
With the official roll out of the „TAC 01" (Test Aircraft 01 - the first prototype) in March 2002, the 728 is presented to the public for the first time.
In March 2002 the TAC 03 is transported to the firm IABG in Dresden for structural testing.
Overall eight customers, among them Lufthansa Cityline, GECAS, Bavaria Leasing, CSA-Czech Airlines, and SolAir, had (by March 2002) placed firm orders for 125 aircraft and signed options for an additional 164.
However, before the first flight of the 728 had been made, Fairchild Dornier filed for insolvency on April 2 2002, and the whole ambitious program came to an end, because shortly afterwards Lufthansa & GECAS cancelled their orders. Without the backup of the biggest customers the program paused and the search for new investors began.
In the summer of 2003 the D'Long investment group showed interest in buying the project and a new firm was established to took on the project. Therefore in July 2003 the structural tests in Dresden were launched.
But in 2004 the new firm also went bankrupt. So in February 2005 the bankrupt's estate was auctioned.
Three prototypes, named TAC 01 - TAC 03 (Test aircraft) were built.
The TAC 01 was completed with equipment, the second prototype was a complete fuselage in an unfinished stage of installations. The TAC 03 was just a fuselage for structural tests. It was brought to Dresden before the insolvency of Fairchild Dornier.
The auction sold (beneath many other things) also the prototypes.
- The DLR (the German aerospace center) bought TAC 01 for 19'000,- euro. It was needed for cabin testing, which meant the DLR just needed the fuselage. After deciding it was to complicated to remove the wings correctly, they were cut off. Therefore the fuselage went to the DLR research facilities with "stubby wings" of 6m span.
- A former Fairchild Dornier employee bought TAC 02 for 6'000,- euro, but had problems with the transport to a new location. So the prototype still stands on the former firm area of Dornier in Oberpfaffenhofen.
- The TAC 03 remained in Dresden.
- Crew: two pilots
- Capacity: up to 75 passengers
- Powerplant: 2x General Electric CF34-8D1 turbofans, 55.6 kN (12,500 lbf) thrust each
- Length: 26.31 m (86 ft 4 in)
- Height: 9.04 m (29 ft 8 in)
- Wingspan: 26.62 m (87 ft 4 in)
- Wing area: 75 m² (807 ft²)
- Wing sweep: 23, 5 degrees
- Wing aspect ratio: 9,48
- Cabin width: 3,25 m (10 ft 8 in)
- Cabin height: 2,05 m (6 ft 7 in)
- Cabin length: 16,89 m (55 ft 5 in)
- Operating empty weight: 20,435 kg (44,957 lb)
- Maximum takeoff weight: 35,766 kg (78,685 lb)
- Maximum payload: 8'215 kg (18'110 lb)
The following data is just estimated, because it never was proven in flight tests.
- Maximum speed: Mach 0.82 / 473 KTAS (875 km/h)
- Maximum cruise speed: Mach 0.81 / 467 KTAS (864 km/h) at 37'000 ft
- Range: 3,148 km (1,700 miles)
- Maximum operating altitude: 12'497 m (41'000 ft)
- Service ceiling: 11,280 m (37,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: m/min ( ft/min)
- Wing loading: kg/m² ( lb/ft²)
- Power/Mass: kW/kg ( hp/lb)
- Crew: 2 plus 3 flight attendants
- Passengers: 100 in standard configuration, at 32 inch pitch, or 95 seats at 33 inch pitch or 110 seats at 31 inch pitch
- Power plant:2 x General Electric CF34-10D
- Thrust: 2 x 75,6 kN (17000 lbf)
- Length: 31,01 m
- Height: 9,97 m
- Span: 28,81 m
- Wing area: 84,4 m²
- Wing sweep: 23,7 degrees
- Cabin length: 23,05 m
- Cabin width: 3,25 m
- Cabin height: 2,14 m
- Operating empty weight: 28530 kg (including crew)
- Max. payload: 11750 kg
- Max. fuel: 12300 kg
- Max. zero fuel weight: 40280 kg
- Max. ramp weight: 47760 kg
- Max. take-off weight: 47560 kg
- Max. Landing weight: 44240 kg
- Max. cruise speed: Mach 0.8 / 864 km/h
- Take-off field length: 1686 m (5530 ft)
- Landing field length: 1412 m (4630 ft)
- Range: 3565 km (1925 NM)
- Flugrevue data sheet about the 728
- Airliners Net data sheet about the 728
- aerospace technology article
- article about the "iron bird" (mechanical/hydraulical test rig) for the 728
- article about the simulator for the 728
- pictures from the transport to the IABG facility in Dresden
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