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Wed, Apr 17, 2013

Dassault Begins 50th Anniversary Celebration

Presents Restored Mystère 20 s/n 1 For Public Display

The first Mystère 20 ...  the ancestor of today's Falcon business jet line ... is set to return to public view following an extensive facelift that lasted three years. The restored Mystère 20 s/n 1 was unveiled last week at the third annual Air & Space Museum Airshow, held at Le Bourget Airport, near Paris. It will next be shown at this year's Paris Air Show, scheduled for June 17-23, before returning to its permanent home at the French Air & Space Museum.

S/n 1 is being presented in its flight test livery, together with a banner commemorating the world speed record set on June 10, 1965 by famed test pilot Jacqueline Auriol. Flying the first production aircraft, Auriol covered a distance of 600 miles at an average speed of 464 knots, underscoring the Falcon 20's exceptional flight performance.

The historic plane was carefully restored by a team of enthusiasts, IT Mercure, who had earlier refurbished the last active Mercure airliner, also exhibited at the French Air & Space Museum. The project, first conceived in 2010, consisted primarily of repairing or replacing metal parts that had begun to rust away over time - the wing, airbrakes, engine pylons, cowlings, aircraft interior - much of it by hand.

The presentations at Le Bourget help mark the 50th anniversary of the Mystère 20's first flight on May 4, 1963. Certificated on June 9, 1965, the aircraft - renamed the Fan Jet Falcon 20 at the request of its first customer, Pan Am - helped usher in a new generation of executive jets designed specifically for business aviation use.

The Falcon 20's advanced wing and flight control system - adapted from the Mystère IV fighter - combined with its aft-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT-12 engines and spacious cabin, provided an ideal combination of speed, flying efficiency and comfort. Performance that prompted Pan Am to order 40 of the 8-10 seaters, plus 120 on option, just days after the inaugural flight. The airplane proved ideal for special applications, too, helping establish the Falcon line's reputation as a premier multiuse aircraft. Among notable early customers were FedEx founder Fred Smith, who acquired the Falcon 20 for his then-nascent air express service; the U.S. Coast Guard; and Europe-Assistance, which adapted it for air ambulance service.

As of today, over 2,250 Falcons have been delivered. Among the aircraft in the active fleet are some 300 Falcon 20s.

(Images provided by Dassault)

FMI: http://falcon2000s.com


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