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Dassault Falcon 20 Business Jet / Light High-Speed Transport (1965)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 6/13/2014

While no longer actively produced, the Dassault Falcon 20 series still provides a presence in the business world.

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In 1965, the French concern of Dassault introduced its line of business jets with the Dassault "Falcon 20" (despite its designation, actually preceding the Falcon 10). The product was initially developed under the name of "Mystere 20" and under the Dassault-Breguet brand label. It was powered by 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT12A-8 series turbofan engines and featured a crew of two with seating for up to fourteen. The design incorporated low-mounted, swept-back wings with a tubular fuselage and mid-mounted tailplanes along a singular vertical tail fin. The cockpit was set forward in its traditional place, aft of a short nose cone with good views afforded. The undercarriage was of the tricycle arrangement. Engines were mounted externally and well aft along the sides of the empennage. The initial prototype aircraft went airborne for the first time on May 4th, 1963.

To reach the desired customer base, Dassault entered into talks with American carrier Pan American (PanAm) and from this the decision was made to select the General Electric CF700 turbofan over the original choice of Pratt & Whitney. PanAm then ordered its first 40 aircraft to which the line then received its requisite certification over American airspace in June of 1965. American versions were recognized as "Fan Jet Falcon".

Eventually some 508 total aircraft would be produced from the span of 1963 to 1988. The American forms eventually evolved under the "Falcon 20" name and an improved model emerged as the "Falcon 200" within time. Military operators became Australia, Belgium, Canada (as the CC-117), Egypt, France, Iran, Pakistan, Spain, Syria, the United States, and Venezuela (among others) while civilian operators came to include France, Lebanon, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States and South Africa. Federal Express was a primary American operator - purchasing 33 of the type as its first aircraft - and the United States Coast Guard operated the product as the HU-25 "Guardian" in a spotter role.

Variants to appear after the Mystere 20 prototype were the 20C initial production models, the 20CC model with low-pressure tires, the 20D and 20E variants with uprated General Electric engines, and the longer-ranged 20F. The 20FH served as the prototype to the Falcon 200 model while the 20G was developed for maritime patrolling and outfitted with 2 x Garrett AiResearch ATF3-6-2C engines. The Falcon 20H was the original name for the Falcon 200 line.

U.S. Coast Guard HU-25 platforms have included the original HU-25A from the Falcon 20G (2 x Garrett ATF3-6-2C engines), the HU-25B converted from HU-25A with SLAR (Side-Looking Airborne Radar) equipment, the HU-25C with its Westinghouse APG-66 radar and FLIR (Foward-Looking InfraRed) blister (HU-25A converts), the HU-25C+ with improved tracking and search functionality and the HU-25D with ISAR (Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar) and FLIR - these upgraded from existing HU-25C models.

FedEx's first Falcon 20 - nicknamed "Wendy" - was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1983. The aircraft proved critical in establishing the overnight delivery-based business from its Memphis, Tennessee headquarters for its speed, reliability and cargo-hauling capabilities. The aircraft currently resides as a showpiece of the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The FedEx version was known as the Falcon Cargo Jet and modified with reinforced floors and a side-fuselage cargo door for the role.

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Specifications for the
Dassault Falcon 20
Business Jet / Light High-Speed Transport


Focus Model: Dassault Falcon 20F
Country of Origin: France
Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation - France
Initial Year of Service: 1965
Production: 508


Crew: 2


Length: 56.27 ft (17.15 m)
Width: 53.48 ft (16.30 m)
Height: 17.45ft (5.32 m)
Weight (Empty): 16,535 lb (7,500 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 28,660 lb (13,000 kg)


Powerplant: 2 x General Electric CF700-2D-2 turbofan engines developing 4,500lbs of thrust each.


Maximum Speed: 534 mph (860kmh; 464 kts)
Maximum Range: 2,082 miles (3,350km)
Service Ceiling: 41,995 ft (12,800 m; 8.0 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet per minute (0 m/min)


Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:
None.


Variants:
Falcon 20 - Base Series Designation


Mystere 20 - Prototype Designation

Falcon 20C - Initial production models

Falcon 20CC - Low-pressure tires

Falcon 20D - 2 x GE CF700-2D turbofan engines

Falcon 20E - 2 x GE CF700-2D-2 turbofan engines

Falcon 20F - Increased fuel capacity

Falcon 20FH - Prototype of Falcon 200 line

Falcon 20G - Maritime Patrol Platform

Falcon 20H - Original designation of Falcon 200 line.

Falcon 200 - Improved Falcon 20 product; 2 x Garrett AiResearch ATF3-6-2C turbofan engines.

Falcon ST - French Air Force trainers; 2 examples

HU-25A Guardian - USCG spotter; 2 x Garrett turbofans; 41 examples.

HU-25B Guardian - USCG spotter; SLAR equipment

HU-25C Guardian - USCG spotter; Westinghouse radar; WF-360 FLIR.

HU-25C+ Guardian - USCG spotter; upgraded HU-25C; AN/APG-66(V)2 radar with FLIR.

HU-25D Guardian - USCG spotter; upgraded HU-25A; ISAR equipment and FLIR.

Guardian 2 - Proposed USCG model; never produced

CC-117 - Canadian military designation for Falcon 20C.

Fan Jet Falcon - Original American market designation.

Falcon Cargo Jet - Cargo-minded Falcon 20 for FedEx delivery services.

Falcon 20C-5 - 2 x Garrett TFE731-5AR-2C or 2 x Garrett TFE31-5BR-2C turbofan engines with other improvements.

Falcon 20D-5 - 2 x Garrett TFE731-5AR-2C or 2 x Garrett TFE31-5BR-2C turbofan engines with other improvements.

Falcon 20E-5 - 2 x Garrett TFE731-5AR-2C or 2 x Garrett TFE31-5BR-2C turbofan engines with other improvements.

Falcon 20F-5 - 2 x Garrett TFE731-5AR-2C or 2 x Garrett TFE31-5BR-2C turbofan engines with other improvements.


Operators:
Algeria; Angola; Australia; Belgium; Canada; Central African Republic; Chile; Djibouti; Egypt; France; Guinea-Bissau; Iran; Ivory Coast; Jordan; Lebanon; Libya; Mexico; Morocco; Nicaragua; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Panama; Peru; Portugal; South Africa; Spain; Sudan; Syria; Tunisia; United Kingdom; United States; Venezuela