Dassault Falcon 50

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Falcon 50
Dassault Falcon 50 Afrijet Business Services TR-LGY.jpg
Role Business jet
Manufacturer Dassault Aviation
First flight 7 November 1976
Status Active
Primary users Armee de l'Air
South African Air Force
Italian Air Force
Produced 1976–2008[1]
Number built 352
Developed from Dassault Falcon 20
Variants Dassault Falcon 900

The Dassault Falcon 50 is a French-built super mid-sized, long-range corporate jet, featuring a three jet engine layout with an S-duct central engine. It has the same fuselage cross section and similar capacity as the earlier Falcon 20 twinjet but is a completely new design that is area ruled and includes a more advanced wing design.[2]

Design and development[edit]

The first prototype flew on 7 November 1976, with French airworthiness certification on 27 February 1979, followed by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification on 7 March 1979.[2] Dassault developed a maritime surveillance and environmental protection version as the Gardian 50[3]

The Falcon 50 was later replaced by the Falcon 50EX, the first of which flew in 1996,[4] and the last of which was delivered in 2008.[1] The Falcon 50EX features improved engines and other enhancements to give further range improvements to an already long-legged jet. It remains a very popular corporate jet for its long-range, luxury, and for the recognition of status for owning a fast three-engined jet. The Falcon 50EX designation applies to serial numbers 251, and 253–352, which marks the end of the production line for the Falcon 50/50EX.

The last Falcon 50EX was built in late 2007 and delivered in early 2008.

Successors of the Falcon 50 are the Falcon 7X[5] and the Falcon 900 featuring a larger fuselage and the same three-engine arrangement. Dassault announced in January 2008 what is essentially a replacement aircraft for the Falcon 50, codenamed the "SMS" (Super Mid Size). The basic design process, including engine select was supposed to be completed by the early 2009. However, in a June 2009 press conference, CEO Charles Edelstenne said that all design choices had been reopened and the goal was extended to the end of the year.

Dassault and Aviation Partners Inc. have announced that High Mach blended winglets were being developed for the Falcon 50 as a retrofit kit.[citation needed]

Attack version[edit]


During the Iran–Iraq War several oil tankers had been sunk and in 1986 this led to Iran moving their oil exports to the Sirri Island oil terminal, an island that was out of reach of the Iraqi Air Force reconnaissance. The Iraqi air force did operate two Dassault Mirage F1 variants, the F1EQ-4 and F1EQ-5, equipped for in-flight refueling that could reach the oil terminal, but was reluctant to use them because that capability was still a secret.[6] The Iraqi Intelligence Service operated a Falcon 50 in VIP configuration and offered to install reconnaissance cameras in it, and then fly a clandestine sortie over Sirri Island. It would look just like one of the many airliners flying along local commercial corridors.[6]

The aircraft had the civil registration YI-ALE and Iraqi Airways markings, it  took off from Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan and was carrying a crew of two plus three experienced Mirage pilots. Heading to Mumbai airport in India, the aircraft passed about 30 kilometers west of Sirri island.[6] This was close enough for the crew to take photos using a hand-held camera with a powerful optical zoom. They repeated the same procedure on the way back to Jordan the next day. The photographs facilitated a successful attack on the oil terminal on Sirri island with Mirage aircraft.[6]


The Iraqi Air Forces Mirage F1EQ-5 was equipped with Exocet missiles but could only carry one. An aircraft that could carry two Exocet missiles and that would not draw attention to it self was desired, the Falcon 50 was thought to be suitable.[6] Thales Group was asked to modify the aircraft with the same radar and weapons system of the Mirage F1EQ-5, for alleged pilot training purposes.[6]

The attack on USS Stark[edit]

Main article: USS Stark incident

Early on 17 May 1987 a pilot from the No. 81 Squadron took off on the first attack mission from Wahda Air Base, 45 km south-west of Basra. At the edge of the Iraqi-declared exclusion zone north of Bahrain a medium-sized naval vessel was identified.[6] The pilot determined that it was about to enter the exclusion zone and attacked the vessel with both Exocet missiles. The Iraqi government apologized and claimed that “The pilot mistook Stark for an Iranian tanker”. The American government accepted the apology and assigned blame to Iran instead.[6] American Intelligence was convinced it was a Mirage F1 that did the attack.[6]


Falcon 50 of the Armee de l'Air
An Iran government Falcon 50 landing at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran
  • The Italian Air Force operated four Falcon 50s from 1985 until 2005, when two aircraft were retired[7]
 South Africa

Former operators[edit]

Yugoslav Falcon 50 in 1984 which was later used by the Serbian government.

Accidents and incidents[edit]


Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988–89 [11]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Capacity: 8 to 9 passengers
  • Length: 60 ft 9¼ in (18.52 m)
  • Wingspan: 61 ft 10½ in (18.86 m)
  • Height: 22 ft 10½ in (6.98 m)
  • Wing area: 504.1 ft² (46.83 m²)
  • Empty weight: 20,200 lb (9,163 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 38,800 lb (17,600 kg) Falcon 50; 40,780 lbs (18,500 kb) Falcon 50EX ()
  • Powerplant: 3 × Garrett TFE731-3-1C on Falcon 50 / 3 x Honeywell TFE731-40 on Falcon 50EX models turbofan engines, 16.5 kN (3,700 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.86 Indicated Mach (0.842 True Mach) (900 km/h, 484 knots, 557 mph)
  • Cruise speed: Mach 0.80 Indicated Mach (0.786 True Mach) (837 km/h, 452 knots, 520 mph)
  • Range: 3,000 nm, 3,450 mi / 5,555 km (Falcon 50); 3,220 nm, 3,700 mi / 5,965 km (Falcon 50EX) ()
  • Service ceiling: 49,000 ft (14,935 m) - Typical Cruise Altitude 37,000 ft Falcon 50; 41,000-43,000 ft Falcon 50EX

Collins ProLine4 Falcon 50EX

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists




  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1993). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. 
  • Taylor, John W. R. (editor). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988–89. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.

External links[edit]