DASSAULT AVIATION has launched an extended-performance variant of the Falcon 50 business jet. The aircraft, which is to be known as the Falcon 50EX, is scheduled to have its first flight in the first quarter of 1996.

The French aircraft builder is replacing the three AlliedSignal TFE731-3 turbofans on the standard Falcon 50 with the more powerful TFE731-40. The new engines provide 24% more cruise thrust at 40,000ft (12,200m) with a 7% improvement in specific fuel consumption.

Dassault vice-president Jean Rosanvallon says that performance, rather than range, will be the biggest advantage of the 50EX compared to the standard Falcon 50."Extra range is nice, but the ability to climb routinely to 41,000ft and cruise at Mach 0.80 is something you can use every day," he points out.

Time of climb is 23min to 41,000 ft, compared with 30min to 39,000ft on the Falcon 50. Range is around 740km (400nm) better at M0.80 on the 50EX.

Avionics similar to those of the new Falcon 2000 have been adopted for the aircraft, including the Collins Pro Line 4 four-tube electronic flight-instrument system and Sextant Avionique engine-indication and crew-alerting system.

Rosanvallon says that the price comes to within $1 million of that of the existing Falcon 50 and will be available for delivery to customers in early 1997.

The decision to build the new Falcon 50 variant is in line with Dassault's ambition to lessen its dependence on military aircraft by building up the corporate-jet side of the business.

The company has recently delivered the first long-range Falcon 2000 twinjet, rolled out the 900EX extended-range version of the 900B and revealed that it has started studies into a rival in the medium-size business-jet market, now occupied by aircraft such as the Raytheon Aircraft Hawker 800.

Source: Flight International