|First flight||30 June 1932|
The Fokker F.XVIII was an airliner produced in the Netherlands in the early 1930s, essentially a scaled-up version of the Fokker F.XII intended for long-distance flights. Like its predecessor, it was a conventional high-wing cantilever monoplane with fixed tailwheel undercarriage. Its cabin could seat 12 passengers, or four-to-six on seats convertible to sleeping berths. Used by KLM on its Amsterdam-Batavia route, the F.XVIII became celebrated in the Netherlands due to two especially noteworthy flights. In December 1933, one aircraft (registration PH-AIP, Pelikaan - "Pelican") was used to make a special Christmas mail flight to Batavia, completing the round trip in a flight time of 73 hours 34 minutes. The following Christmas, another F.XVIII (registration PH-AIS, Snip - "Snipe") made a similar flight to Curaçao in 55 hour 58 minutes after having been specially re-engined for the journey.
In October 1936, the F.XVIIIs were withdrawn from the service to Batavia, replaced by the Douglas DC-2. KLM sold two to ČSA who used them on its Prague-Vienna-Berlin route, and Pelikaan to Air Tropique, a front for the Spanish Republican government which used it as a transport during the Spanish Civil War. The two remaining aircraft, however, were retained by KNILM for regional services in the Caribbean. One of these was the Snip, the other was PH-AIO, originally named Oehoe ("Owl"), but renamed Oriol ("Oriole") since the Owl was regarded as unlucky in the local culture.
PH-AIO was leased to the Netherlands West Indies colonial government in June 1940 and converted by KNILM engineers into a maritime patrol aircraft for use by the Netherlands West Indies Defence Force. A single .303 Lewis machine gun was fitted on a flexible mount firing from an open dorsal position. The passenger seats were removed from the cabin and a bomb-bay installed consisting of racks to hold an unspecified number of improvised 8 kg (80mm) anti-submarine bombs aimed and dropped by hand from an open bombardier's hatch in the bomb bay floor. The aircraft was given a coat of camouflage paint and orange Dutch national markings were applied. No military serial was allocated. The machine was employed on anti-submarine patrol duties from both Oranjestad, Aruba and Hato, Curacao from 1940 until 1942 when it was returned to KNILM civil use, the anti-submarine patrols being taken over by US aircraft.
The machines remained in service until 1946, and the forward fuselage section of Snip is preserved at the Curaçao Museum.
- KLM (5 aircraft)
- ČSA (2 aircraft ex-KLM)
- KNILM (Royal Dutch Indies Airways (2 aircraft)
- Netherlands West Indies Defence Force (1 aircraft ex-KNILM)
- Crew: Two-four
- Capacity: 12 passengers
- Length: 18.50 m (60 ft 8 in)
- Wingspan: 24.50 m (80 ft 4 in)
- Wing area: 84.0 m2 (904 ft2)
- Empty weight: 4,620 kg (10,190 lb)
- Gross weight: 7,850 kg (17,300 lb)
- Powerplant: 3 × Pratt & Whitney Wasp C, 313 kW (420 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 240 km/h (150 mph)
- Range: 1,820 km (1,130 miles)
- Service ceiling: 4,800 m (15,750 ft)
- Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 407.
- World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 894 Sheet 38.
- "The Fokker Type "F.XVIII"". Flight: 711–13. 29 July 1932. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- "The Dutch Air Mail Record". Flight: 10–11. 4 January 1934. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- "A Fine Flight". Flight: 8. 3 January 1935. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
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