Dassault Falcon Jet Turns 40

Joint venture helped introduce French business jets in the United States.

Dassault
Dassault

December 1 marked the 40th anniversary of the formation of Dassault Falcon Jet Corp., an entity with a rich history in aviation that succeeded in bringing the Dassault Aviation’s business jets into the growing market in the United States.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Dassault Aviation of France, was established as a joint venture between Dassault and Pan American Airlines after the two companies had made a cooperative effort for nearly a decade to introduce the Falcon 20 business jet to the market. The airplane, which was originally introduced as the Mystère 20, boasted 10 seats and cruising speeds up to Mach 0.80. Pan Am participated in the final design process and ordered 40 of these airplanes with options for another 120 in 1963, two years before it received French and European certification.

These were the budding years for business jets in the U.S. The Lockheed JetStar had been in production for a few years, Learjet had just moved its facilities to the U.S. from Austria, and Cessna and Gulfstream were not far behind with the introduction of their first business jets. Through the formation of Dassault Falcon Jet, Dassault put its footprint on the growing U.S. market. Today, the company’s headquarters are located at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and a major Falcon completion center is located in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Falcon 20 was just the beginning of a growing Dassault Falcon jet line, of which more than 2,200 total airplanes have been delivered to date. And despite no longer being in production, the first Falcon jet has not stopped making history. This fall the Falcon 20 became the first civil jet to fly using all biofuel.