Design work on the F27 began in the early 1950s with the intention of creating a replacement for the Douglas DC-3. The aircraft had a high-wing twin-engine configuration and a pressurized cabin with enough room for 28 people. Its first prototype made its maiden flight on 24 November 1955 under the registration PH-NIV. The second prototype corrected some handling issues, used more powerful engines, and had room for four more passengers. This prototype was the basis of the first production variant, the F27-100.
The first airline to operate the Friendship was Aer Lingus, who received their first example in 1958. At the time of this introduction, the F27 costed about £239,000 per unit. Since then, it has been adopted by many airlines around the world as both a passenger and cargo aircraft. It has also been used by a number of militaries for transport and maritime reconnaissance. The F27 was licensed built in the United States by Fairchild, who also developed a stretched version called the FH-227. Production of the Friendship ceased in 1987 with 586 constructed, many of which are still in use.
- Powerplant: Two Rolls-Royce Dart Mk.532-7 turboprop engines
- Top speed: 509 km/h (316 mph)
- Range: 2,600 kilometers (1,616 miles)
- Ceiling: 8,992 meters (29,500 feet)
- Crew: 2-3
- Capacity: 56 passengers
- Empty weight: 11,204 kg (24,701 lbs)
- Length: 25.06 m (82 ft 3 in)
- Height: 8.72 m (28 ft 7 in)
- Wingspan: 29 m (95 ft 2 in)