There now are more than 90 Falcon 2000LX aircraft in service and operators say the model has the best fuel efficiency of any large-cabin business jet. It also coddles passengers, operates from short runways and delivers excellent climb performance.

Dassault long has prided itself in building fuel efficient business aircraft and the twin-jet Falcon 2000LX uses the least fuel of any of its models. As such, it beats all competitive makes in its range class.

The LX has the same fuel capacity as its predecessor, the Falcon 2000EX. But the addition of Aviation Partners' winglets extends range up to 5%. Typically equipped and assuming operators have incorporated the new increased takeoff weight service bulletin, it can carry six passengers 4,000 nm at long-range cruise. Just as impressively, it can fly the same payload about 3,900 nm at 0.80 indicated Mach cruise and land with 200 nm NBAA IFR reserves.

A key to achieving such class-leading fuel efficiency numbers is having the Falcon 2000LX maintain the strict weight control of a French haute couture model. But even when bulked up with customer options, it still has the lightest weight of any aircraft in its class. Empty weight actually is within 500 lb. of the average Challenger 300. As a result, the Falcon 2000LX needs a smaller wing, more modestly sized engines and less fuel capacity than its three main competitors. It indeed burns 17% less fuel than the Bombardier Challenger 605, 30% less than the Embraer Legacy 650 and a whopping 40% less fuel than the Gulfstream G450, operators tell BCA. Some operators say it burns virtually the same fuel as the Challenger 300, a claim verified by statistics in our May 2011 Purchase Planning Handbook.

Admittedly, the G450 has almost double the tanks-full payload of Falcon 2000LX, along with three seating areas, higher cruise speed and 200 nm more range. But Falcon 2000LX operators say they don't need that big an aircraft for most of their missions.

In spite of its light weight, operators say Falcon 2000LX's cabin is among the quietest they've experienced. Dassault obviously didn't skimp on acoustic insulation because the aircraft has exceptionally low wind and engine noise.

Overall passenger comfort is top notch because its cabin cross-section is second only to the wide-bodied Challenger 605 in this range class. The main seating area can be as long as 22 ft., depending upon customer choice of forward galley and aft lavatory layouts. That allows it to be divided into two sections. The forward seating area almost always is configured with four club chairs. Most aircraft are configured with one of three layouts in the aft cabin. The most popular configuration features a four-seat conference grouping on the left and two facing chairs on the right side.

Some aircraft have the four-seat conference grouping plus a right side credenza that replaces the two facing chairs. Still others have a second, four-chair club section in the rear cabin that's virtually the same as the forward four-chair club section. A few aircraft have an aft, left-side, 6.6-ft. long, three-place divan that replaces the four-seat conference grouping.

Pilots say the aircraft is a joy to fly because of its fully powered flight controls, highly refined, speed proportionate artificial control feel system, crisp response and notoriously soft edged flight envelope. Few aircraft are as forgiving after an inadvertent high- or low-speed excursion. And few are as easy to land in a strong crosswind.

Many crews initially were slow to embrace Dassault's EASy cockpit design philosophy. But they've now warmed up to it, having become proficient with its point-and-click graphic user interface and exploiting the capabilities of its four large-screen displays.

Dispatch reliability, maintainability and operational practicality also are this aircraft's strong suits. Operators say the aircraft has simple systems and maintenance access is excellent. Dassault's careful attention to space utilization also allows the tow bar and other line equipment to be carried in the aft service compartment rather than taking up space in the baggage compartment. Most say they have yet to miss a mission because of a maintenance snag.