Origins and context
The French Navy then voiced an interest in an aircraft it could use overseas, mostly in secluded areas. The plane, they stipulated, needed to be “complementary”, “simple”, and “relatively inexpensive to man and service”. Following the Falcon Gardian’s example to cut development costs and the associated risk, the French Navy purchased four second-hand Falcon 50 type aircraft, which were outfitted and upgraded in Dassault’s Mérignac plant.
Users enjoying their Falcon 50s gradually began enquiring about a larger aircraft. That sparked work at the Mérignac engineering department in 1982 which led to the Falcon 900.
Its Falcon-50 lineage is obvious, yet conceals numerous developments. The fuselage is longer and wider, making the interior substantially more comfortable, and enabling this plane to carry 12 to 14 passengers (against the Falcon 50’s eight passengers). The avionics are digital. Computer-aided design and manufacturing processes using Dassault Systems’ CATIA system empowered engineers to design, fine-tune and produce this aircraft’s structure and aerodynamic features with outstanding accuracy. Using composite materials for every application possible cut weight substantially.
A considerable portion of the production (the fuselage and wings, i.e. 65% of the total) was handled in-house, with the remaining tasks entrusted to different industrial partner firms. Final assembly and flying take place in Mérignac, where the Falcon 900 took off for the first time on 21 September 1984, with Hervé Leprince-Ringuet and Jérôme Résal in the cockpit.
The Falcon 900 enjoyed a thundering success among business aircraft buyers, and its power to attract enhanced the company market share.
A total 160 Falcon 900s and 900 Bs have been delivered throughout the world. The Falcon 900EX version has been in the market since 1996.