PAF decommissions historic Fokker F27, donates to Silay City

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has formally turned over a decommissioned Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft to the City Government of Silay, Negros Occidental, marking the end of its 63-year service and the beginning of a new chapter as a cultural landmark.

Officials pose in front of the Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft in Silay City. Photo from Philippine Air Force via Facebook.

Officials pose in front of the Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft in Silay City. Photo from Philippine Air Force via Facebook.

The handover ceremony, held on January 26, 2024, at Barangay E. Lopez in Silay City, was officiated by Lt. Gen. Stephen P. Parreño, Commanding General of the PAF, and Hon. Joedith Gallego, Silay City Mayor.

The aircraft, with tail number 59-0259, was delivered to the PAF in 1958 and served in various roles throughout its long career. It transported presidents and VIPs, conducted emergency air evacuations, and participated in maritime patrols, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations.

Lt. Gen. Parreño said during the ceremony:

Although it’s quite sad that we have to retire this historic aircraft, there is a silver lining and a happy ending to this story. While it will no longer soar through the skies, the aircraft will continue to hold the people of Silay and the visitors of the park under its mighty wings.

He added:

We took care of it as best as we could, and I am sure that under your care, you will do the same. It is on a bittersweet note that we close the final chapter of this marvelous aircraft. It can finally rest easy, retiring with grace and dignity as one of the finest air assets of the PAF.

The aircraft was involved in an incident at Bacolod-Silay Airport in December 2022, when it took-off for Manila but turned back due to engine troubles. The left engine caught fire, according to MaxDefense Philippines.

The incident made the aircraft deemed beyond economic repair, given the F27's old age and the scarcity of its components. This opened up an opportunity for the PAF to donate the aircraft to Silay City, instead of scrapping it for parts.

Grateful for the donation, Mayor Gallego remarked:

Now, this historic aircraft is here to serve as the newest attraction in the city where people can experience and see it up close. Indeed, our city is blessed to have a piece of Philippine aviation history right in our very soil.

The aircraft is expected to be placed on display at the Silay Airport, where it will serve as a reminder of the PAF's long and proud history. It will also be used for educational purposes, with plans to develop exhibits and programs that tell the story of the aircraft and its role in Philippine aviation.

The air force's CASA C-295 aircraft are expected to replace the retired Fokker fleet.

The F27 was a turboprop airliner manufactured by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker. It was in production from 1955 to 1987, with over 580 aircraft built. Aside from the PAF, civilian operators like Air Manila, Laoag International Airlines, and Philippine Airlines have operated these aircraft in the past.