We feature popular aircraft available for private charter on a regular basis. For a complete directory please visit our extensive aircraft guide, at elevatecharter.com/aircraft-guide. This month we go big with a look at French business aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation and their long-running Falcon 900 series.
With exceptional performance and greater comfort than many others in its class, the large cabin Falcon 900 is a treat to fly on. Its success has spurred development of even larger and longer range models.
Dassault Aviation traces its roots back to 1929. For three decades the aircraft manufacturer produced only military aircraft. Production of their first business aircraft, the Falcon 20, began in the early 1960s as a response to a French government request for a military liaison and trainer aircraft. The super-midsize Falcon 50, the first business tri-jet (meaning three-engines) was in service by 1980 and had the distinction of being one of the few mid-size business aircraft with trans-continental capabilities at the time.
The large cabin Falcon 900 is a development of the Falcon 50, retaining the unique tri-jet design with increased range of up to 4,750 nautical miles (over 5,400 miles). This enables the aircraft to operate at full capacity between Europe and major points in North America in both directions without a fuel stop. The Falcon 900’s range gives it an advantage over other large cabin business jets in its class.
Range is only part of the story behind this versatile business aircraft. With three-engine power and lightweight design, the Falcon 900 gets into and out of many airports with shorter runways that otherwise handcuff twin engine business jets in the same category. It even burns less fuel while doing so, roughly 40% less when compared to competitors.
The cabin of the Falcon 900 is quite comfortable, with a nearly 8 foot cross section, and over 6 foot high ceiling. A hallmark of the larger Falcons, there are 24 closely-spaced windows that help fill the cabin with abundant natural light. The aircraft seats between 12 and 14 passengers. Typical arrangements are a single club seating area up front, followed by a four-place conference seating area, and two divans at the rear (or one divan and additional single seats). The rear cabin section can be closed off creating additional privacy. Seats can convert to beds allowing the Falcon 900 to sleep 5. The galley on the Falcon 900 is slightly smaller than on some other large cabin business jets but gets the job done with hot and cold running water, a convection/microwave oven, ice drawer and stowage areas. A unique feature, cabin environmental and entertainment controls are located within each seat’s armrests, allowing passengers to seamlessly adjust settings from the comfort of their seat.
A comfortable ride high above the weather is ensured as the Falcon 900 can reach an altitude of 51,000 feet, well above the commercial traffic. The aircraft can also reach speeds of up to Mach .85, or 85% of the speed of sound.
There have been 5 variants of the Falcon 900 since inception in the mid 1980s. These include the 900EX which is a longer range version of the original model that entered service in the late 1990s, and the current in-production model since 2010 the 900LX.
Newer ultra long range aircraft models produced by Dassault include the Falcon 7x and 8x. These aircraft are themselves derivatives of the highly popular Falcon 900 series which has sold in excess of 500 aircraft to date.
Video credit: AINtv