The Dassault Falcon 20 Cargo is a medium haul cargo aircraft capable of transporting 2,041 kg. Cargo pallets require a forklift to access its main deck.
History and Features
During the late 1950s and early 1970s, aviation businessman Frederick W. Smith was seeking an ideal aircraft with which to launch his new business, Federal Express; Smith soon identified the Falcon 20 as showing promise for his purposes, noting the availability of unsold aircraft due to an economic downturn and its atypically strong fuselage, the latter factor lending itself well to cargo operations. Despite difficulties securing the necessary finances, the fledgling company was able to acquire several Falcon 20s and convert them for cargo operations.Originally, Federal Express intended for its Falcon 20s to be delivered post-conversion, as a consequence of funding issues, the aircraft were acquired in handfuls and independently converted from their initial passenger-carrying configuration to support their use for cargo operations. In September 1972, Federal Express established an in-house training school, focused on the preparation of ex-military pilots for commercial operations using the Falcon.
In April 1973, Federal Express commenced its air express package delivery service using Falcon 20s out of its distribution centre in Memphis, Tennessee. By its third of operation, the airline had established a nationwide network using the Falcon 20 as its principal aircraft and had become profitable; as a consequence of rapidly increasing demands, it was recognised around this point that the introduction of larger cargo aircraft to supplement the type would soon be necessary in order to expand.At the height of its use of the type, Federal Express operated a fleet of 33 Falcon 20.
The Falcon 20 which had carried the first Federal Express air express package has since been placed on static display at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport.
Aircraft of similar role, configuration and era: Raytheon Hawker 800.