Virgin Australia - Fokker 100
Let me tell you a story about a 25 year old Virgin who is actually a real Fokker! Right, now that I have your interest, today we take a look at Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) Fokker 100 (F-28-1000) VH-FSQ and how this Virgin travelled the world before winding up as a 25 year old in Western Australia.
The Real Deal
VH-FSQ began life as PH-MXL in 1993 and took to the skies over The Netherlands for the first time on April 7, 1993. The aircraft was originally to be sold or leased to Saudi Arabian Airlines but this didn't go through and Fokker kept the aircraft and used it for promotional flights across Europe for carriers like Finnair, Northwest Airlines and Lufthansa and then in 1994 the aircraft was sold to an American bank and leased to Midway Airlines. PH-MXL became N107ML and departed The Netherlands for it's new life on July 23, 1994.
N107ML served with Midway Airlines from 1994 until 2001 when the aircraft was placed into storage back in The Netherlands where is remained for three years until it was re-registered PH-MXL for a period of six months.
In November 2004, PH-MXL became 9N-AHI and began the Nepalese chapter of it's life. 9N-AHI served with Cosmic Air from November 2004 until March 2009 when the aircraft was returned to Fokker (Asia) at the end of it's lease. It briefly became N450DR whilst at Seletar (Singapore) being prepared for it's next assignment.
That next assignment was to head to Australia to serve with Skywest Airlines. In October 2009, VH-FSQ entered the Australian aircraft register and was flown from Seletar to Perth begin a new chapter.
VH-FSQ was in operation with Skywest from 2009 until 2013 when Skywest was purchased by Virgin Australia and became Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA). After undergoing some maintenance in Singapore in 2013, VH-FSQ headed to Townsville for repainting from the colours of Skywest into the new Virgin Australia scheme.
Once in the new colours, VH-FSQ headed back west to continue to operating for VARA where it's currently flying around to regional centres of Western Australia.
The Collectors Item
JC Wings released this model back in 2013 and is one of four Virgin Australia models that the company has produced in 1/400. JC Wings has produced an ATR-72, Airbus A330 and Fokker F-50 and this Fokker 100 would have to be the pick of bunch.
I can't remember where my version came from but I believe it was Collector's Aircraft Models Australia in Braybrook and set me back about $40.
I couldn't find any information on how many where produced but at the moment there is only one of these for sale on eBay and it is the buyer is asking for $96 Australian dollars and none of the major retailers I buy from have them in stock.