Mostly known for their Mirage fighter planes, French aircraft manufacturer Dassault also produces business jets. One of the company’s most popular offerings is the Falcon 900 trijet, developed from the Falcon 50.
Developed from the Falcon 20, the Falcon 50 was a French super-midsize, long-range business jet with a more advanced wing design. The first Falcon 50 prototype took to the skies on November 7, 1976. It was awarded its French airworthiness certification on February 27, 1979, and its Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) on March 7, of the same year.
The Falcon 900 could seat three more passengers
The aircraft was later upgraded to the Falcon 50 EX, with the last of its type delivered in 2008. The plane featured improved engines and other advances to give it a more extended range than its predecessor. Wanting to build a more significant long-range business jet, engineers at the Paris-headquartered company came up with the Falcon 7X and then the Falcon 900.
The Falcon 900LX has a range of 4,750 nautical miles. Photo: Dassault
The Falcon 900 featured the same three-engine design as the Falcon 50 but with a larger fuselage. Although the super mid-size business jet’s engine selection was supposed to have been already decided at a press conference in the summer of 2009, Dassault CEO Charles Edelstenne said they would not determine what engines would power the aircraft until the end of the year.
Dassault Falcon 900LX cabin. Photo: Dassault.
Compared to the Falcon 50, the Falcon 900 had a cabin nearly ten feet longer, five inches higher, and seating for three more passengers. The aircraft also had a much faster climb rate, an improved cruise speed, and could fly 1,000 nautical miles further than the plane it was developed from.
Not happy to rest on its laurels, the French planemaker continued to improve the Falcon 900 and released the Falcon 900LX at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in May 2008. The improved version of the plane featured an all-glass flight deck and the ability to climb to 39,000 feet in 20 minutes.
Dassault 900 variants
In production since 1984, 500 Falcon 900 trijets have been built with the following variants:
The original Falcon 900 powered by three 20 kN (4,500 lbf) Garrett TFE731-5AR-1C turbofan engines.
Falcon 900 MSA
Maritime patrol version of the aircraft with search and rescue radar and a hatch to drop safety equipment built for the Japanese Coast Guard.
A revised version of the original aircraft with more powerful engines capable of producing 4,750 lbf.
Introduced in 2000 the 900C was a replacement for the Falcon 900B.
A long-range version of the business jet with new, improved engines capable of flying 4,501n nautical miles. The plane also featured Avionics by Honeywell Primus.
A shorter-range production variant powered byTFE731-60 engines.
The current still in production Falcon 900 based on the 900EX but with winglets and a range of 4,750 nautical miles.
A Dassault Falcon 900LX. Photo: Dassault
The Italian military’s name for the Dassault 900EX.
Notable accidents involving the Dassault Falcon 900 include an incident on September 14, 1999, when a 900B operated by the Greek Government was landing in Bucharest, Romania. Because the passengers were not wearing their seatbelts, seven people died following pilot-induced oscillations.
Specifications and general characteristics of the Flacon 900B:
- Crew: 2
- Capacity: 19 passengers
- Length: 66 feet 4 inches
- Wingspan: 63 feet 5 inches
- Wing area: 527 square feet
- Empty weight: 22,608 lbs
- Max takeoff weight: 45,503 lbs
- Fuel capacity: 19,160 lbs
- Powerplant: 3 × AlliedSignal TFE731-5BR-1C turbofans, 21.13 kN 4,750 lbf thrust each
- Maximum speed: Mach 0.84–0.87
- Cruise speed: 590 mph
- Stall speed: 98 mph with wheels and flaps down wheels and flaps down
- Range: 4,000 nautical miles with eight passengers
- Service ceiling: 50,900 feet
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