Because of its popularity and the steady demand for the Falcon 50 since its 1980 introduction, there have been several upgrades developed for this versatile business jet, notes John Koltes, President & Owner, Jet Trader Group. Can a good deal still be had on the used jet market?
The performance of its three TFE731-3-1D engines allows the midsize Dassault Falcon 50 to take off from most airports with runways of 5,000’ or longer, and once airborne, carry its passengers an impressive 3,147nm, providing transcontinental reach within the US.
However, when purchasing a Falcon 50 there are several factors for a buyer to consider. “A key consideration for prospective Falcon 50 owners is checking the maintenance status of the airplane,” reveals John Koltes, Jet Trader Group.
“The maintenance status of an aircraft can make the value fluctuate by as much as $1.0m."
"The two big maintenance expenses on the Falcon 50 are the 12-year gear overhaul requirement and the 6-year ‘C’ check airframe inspection. A prospective buyer should be aware of these as well as when they will come due on a prospective purchase.”
Koltes also encourages prospective buyers to consider purchasing a Falcon 50 that has upgraded engines and avionics. These aircraft will sell for around $600-800k more than the unimproved models and offer new owners a turn-key solution to modern avionics. “As new avionics mandates are required, the more modern avionics suites will invoke less downtime and expense to meet those mandates,” noted Koltes.
The original Falcon 50 was delivered with an analog Collins avionics package, but has since gone through several changes to include Collins EFIS 86, Proline II, Proline IV and most recently – and still readily available – the Proline 21 avionics suite, which provides flight crews the advantages of a modern, fully integrated glass flight deck.
“Pilot situational awareness is dramatically improved with the Proline 21 suite, therefore improving safety, and making it a must-have for any purchaser considering a Falcon 50,” Koltes outlines.
Similar to the avionics, there have been several engine upgrades made available for the Falcon 50. The original engines are Honeywell TFE731-3-1D series engines, which provide 3,700lbs of thrust and require hot section inspections (MPI) every 1,400 hours and an engine overhaul (CZI) every 4,200 hours.
The -3D-1C, -4-1C, and TFE731-40 engine upgrades offer the Falcon 50 owner better performance, increased fuel efficiencies, longer range, and reduced maintenance costs while changing the inspection requirements for the MPI inspection to a 2,100-hour interval.
Thus only one hot section inspection is required between engine overhauls, saving a prospective owner significant maintenance outlay.
The -3D-1C engine upgrade was performed on several early Falcon 50s, while the TFE731-40 was a standard installation on Falcon 50EX models. Most engines are either enrolled on the Manufacturer’s Service Plan (MSP) or Jet Support Services, Incorporated (JSSI) engine plans. A summary of the differences in the engine performance parameters can be seen in Table A (below).
With an interior measuring 23.5ft (length) x 6.1ft (width) x 5.9ft (height), the typical cabin for a Falcon 50 model accommodates nine passengers. Configurations vary, but most consist of a forward galley, forward four-place executive club seats, and aft two-place club seats across from a three-place divan.
“The most desirable configuration also includes a lavatory located in the aft cabin,” Koltes adds. “Occupants’ baggage is never an issue when you consider the extra-large external baggage compartment.”
Falcon 50s are available in a wide price range from around $1.0-7.4m, and from the details posted above, you can see what contributes to the variation in price from one model to the next. Early model Falcon 50 prices appear to have leveled off in the market while the later models continue to see quarterly price declines, according to Vref.
“With the upgrades available for the early models, prospective owners can find great value in an early model Falcon 50 with engines upgraded to the -3D-1C status, and a Proline 21 avionics suite can be purchased for under $2.0m,” summarizes Koltes.
“At that price point, a new owner can purchase a great aircraft, add some more value to the jet with winglet options and advanced cabin entertainment systems, and still pay less than they would for a late model Falcon 50."
“During its lifetime, the Falcon 50 has proven to be a reliable, stable platform with a great following,” Koltes concludes. “Owners continue to prove the value of the airplane, and charter companies continue to see the demand for the benefits that the Falcon 50 has to offer their clientele. The Falcon 50 is an aircraft with plenty of life left in it yet.”
- Engine data source: FAA.gov, Type Certificate Data Sheets E6WE and E1NM;
- Performance source: JETNETevolution.com;
- Valuation source: Vrefonline.com