First commercial flight of the Mercure 100

The first commercial flight from Orly to Lyon took place on June, 4 1974.

The first commercial flight from Orly to Lyon took place on June, 4 1974.

During the mid-1960’s, Marcel Dassault and the French civil aviation authority made the observation that numerous air routes in the world corresponded to small distances. But there was no aeroplane adapted to this traffic.

The new aircraft’s wing was developed using calculation tools that were very modern at the time, and even though it was larger than the Boeing 737, the new aircraft could fly faster. Powered by two wing-mounted Pratt&Whitney JT 8 D 15 double flow engines, it was baptized “Mercure” by Marcel Dassault:”I wanted to name it for a mythological figure and I could only think of one who had wings on his helmet and ailerons on his feet – hence the name Mercure (Mercury).”

Marcel Dassault, Benno-Claude Vallieres (on the right), Jean-François Cazaubiel (on the left) with Jean Cabrière behind him, in front of the Mercure 02, Air Inter

The programme Mercure was officially launched in April 1969. Manufacturing, to be carried out under the main contractorship of Dassault, was shared between Fiat (Italy), CASA (Spain), ADAP (Belgium), the federal aircraft builder FW of Emmen (Switzerland) and Canadair (Canada). Final assembly was handled by the company Dassault, at Mérignac for the prototype and, at Istres, for the production series aircraft.

First large-scale European cooperation programme in civil aeronautics, the prototype of the Mercure 100 made its maiden flight from Mérignac (Gironde, France) on 28th May 1971 with a crew including Jean Coureau, chief pilot, Jérôme Résal, pilot, and Gérard Joyeuse, test engineer.

On 30th January 1972, Air Inter ordered 10 aircraft. The first production series aircraft made its maiden flight on 19th July 1973. Civil certification by DGAC was obtained on 12th February 1974.

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