Dassault Marks 20th Falcon 900 Anniversary...

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French airframer Dassault this month reminded the industry that a Friday some 20 years ago -- Sept. 21, 1984, to be exact -- saw the first flight of its venerable Falcon 900 trijet. That initial flight, from Merignac, France, has since spawned more than 330 copies and five different versions of the trans-Atlantic bizjet, including the 900DX scheduled for certification in December 2005. An outgrowth of the similarly configured Falcon 50, the 900 was first announced at the 1983 Paris Air Show, although its prototype had been prototype-launched in March 1981 under the moniker FGF, for Falcon Gros Fuselage -- a wide-body Falcon. Then fitted with Garrett TFE 731-A engines, Falcon's top-of-the-line aircraft had an operating range of 4,000 nm, plus a then-new EFIS flight-deck package. March 1986 saw the 900 achieving its certification status.