SAINT-CLOUD, France, April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The first Mystère 20, ancestor of today's industry leading Falcon business jet line, is set to return to public view following a 3 year long radical facelift.
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 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 1,000 km (600 miles) at an average speed of 859 km/hr (534 mph), 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, all featuring the sleek aerodynamics, outstanding comfort, technological sophistication and unmatched handling qualities and performance that have come to characterize the Falcon family. Among the aircraft in the active fleet are some 300 Falcon 20s - ample testimony to the sound design and craftsmanship that go into each and every Dassault aircraft.
About Dassault Falcon
Dassault Falcon is responsible for selling and supporting Falcon business jets throughout the world. It is part of Dassault Aviation, a leading aerospace company with a presence in over 70 countries across five continents. Dassault Aviation produces the Rafale fighter jet as well as the complete line of Falcon business jets. The company has assembly and production plants in both France and the United States and service facilities on multiple continents. It employs a total workforce of over 12,000. Since the rollout of the first Falcon 20 in 1963, over 2,250 Falcon jets have been delivered to 82 countries worldwide. The family of Falcon jets currently in production includes the tri-jets-the Falcon 900LX, and the 7X-as well as the twin-engine 2000LX, 2000LXS and Falcon 2000S.
Hi Res Photos at: http://www.falconphotogallery.com
Dassault Aviation (Saint-Cloud, France)
Vadim Feldzer Tel. +33-1-47-11-44-13
Marie-Alexandrine Fouillard Tel. +33-1-47-11-64-23
Dassault Falcon Jet (Teterboro Airport, USA)
Andrew Ponzoni Tel. +1-201-541-45-88
Grant Kielczewski Tel. +1-201-541-46-79
SOURCE Dassault Falcon