's baseline configuration for the aircraft includes a 36-in. forward galley, double club seating for eight passengers in the main cabin and an aft lavatory. With strict weight control discipline, it's possible to maintain Dassault's super lean BOW of 23,465 lb., including 830 lb. of crew and catering. At that weight, the aircraft can be topped with fuel and it will fly eight passengers 3,900 nm at 0.80 indicated Mach and land with 200 nm NBAA IFR reserves, according to Dassault's performance projections.
Even Air Alsie, an operator that has mastered weight control discipline, can't keep BOWs below 24,066 lb. on new Falcon 2000LX aircraft. Few other operators indeed have aircraft that will tip the scales at such light weights. It's not uncommon for them to bulk up their aircraft with another 500 to 1,000 lb. of options, including a 111 lb. Inmarsat SATCOM or a 41 lb. Aircell Axxess Iridium phone, a 18 lb. Aircell broadband system, a 17 lb. VHF data link radio, a 70 lb. HUD, a 36 lb. EFVS camera and a 20 lb. AC power supply system for the main cabin, along with 150 to 200 lb. of equipment in the optional, 46-in. extended galley, a second life raft at 18 lb., a 53 lb. collapsible tow bar and the 63 lb. folding third crew seat.
The ten-seat cabin option adds 153 lb. to the empty weight and it requires installation of a 13-lb. flight data recorder. Chocked full of optional equipment, some aircraft weigh in at nearly 25,000 lb.
Such heft shrinks tanks-full payload to as little as 740 lb., an unacceptable limitation for many operators. In response, Dassault just released service bulletin FSA2000EXEasy-08-30-01-R1, a free paperwork change that increases maximum ramp and takeoff weights by 600 lb. The mod enables heavily optioned aircraft to carry six or seven passengers with full tanks. Average equipped aircraft should be able to carry eight passengers with full fuel. However, takeoff distances will be increased and OEI climb performance will decrease as a downside of operating at heavier weights.
Few operators, though, say they need to fill the tanks and fill the seats at the same time. The longest missions for most of them are 7 hr. 30 min. to 8 hr. 10 min. in duration, or about 3,340 to 3,650 nm equivalent still air distance.
Most operators believe Dassault's range and speed projections for the aircraft are accurate. They are just not comfortable arriving at destination airports with scant 1,765 lb. NBAA IFR fuel reserves. Most say they want to touch down with 2,500 to 3,000 lb. of fuel remaining.
“We can fly London to Bradley, Conn., with 20 kt. headwinds,” says one flight department manager. With stronger westerly winds, most operators making trans-Atlantic trips from U.K. to the U.S. stop at Bangor, Maine, to clear customs and proceed to their final destinations.
“If you really need consistent 4,000-nm range, get yourself a Falcon 7X or G550,” says one flight department manager. We heard similar comments from other veteran operators.
Most U.S. operators report average mission lengths of 1.5 to 2.0 hr. The average mission length for the whole fleet is 1.7 hr., according to Dassault Falcon Jet statistics. On such missions, they can use runways as short as 3,500 ft. On such trips, they climb directly to FL 390 to FL 410 and cruise at 0.80 indicated Mach. Some climb their aircraft in the mid-40s, even on short-range missions, to take advantage of lower fuel burns.
Denmark's Air Alsie flies much longer missions, according to CEO Henrik Therkelsen. He estimates most missions are 4 to 5 hr. He says that low fuel burn and minimum carbon footprint are two of the aircraft's most valuable assets. His fleet chief pilot, John Olesen, says he flies at 0.80 indicated Mach because “there's not much [fuel savings] to be gained by flying slower than that speed.”
Notably, 0.80 indicated Mach in most current production Falcon Jets fitted with EASy cockpits actually results in Mach 0.79, equivalent to 453 KTAS in standard day conditions. Such a small instrument error, however, only adds six to seven minutes to the longest missions. It's virtually negligible on average missions.
Many operators say they take advantage of the aircraft's 39,300-lb. max landing weight to tanker fuel. One U.S. operator, for instance, said he can fly the Falcon 2000LX from Oklahoma City to Calgary and back without refueling. A Canadian operator can fly from Calgary to New Orleans to Calgary on one fuel load. Such flexibility enables operators to save up to half the cost of fuel if they have home based fuel farms or inexpensive contract fuel.
Operators say they typically climb the aircraft to FL 410 on long-range missions, even in ISA+15C conditions. First hour fuel burn averages 2,500 lb., including start, taxi, takeoff and climb out. Second hour fuel burn drops to 1,900 pph and 1,800 pph in third hour. A step climb to FL 430 in the fourth hour helps reduce fuel burn to just over 1,700 pph. Midway through the fifth hour, the aircraft can be climbed to FL 450 where fuel flow drops to less than 1,600 pph.
The first through fourth hour fuel flow are as much as 200 pph lower on shorter missions because of lighter operating weights. At top of descent on all missions, operators log fuel flows as low as 1,300 to 1,400 pph.
Falcon 2000LX lives an easy life with many operators. They report it only flies 300 to 400 hr. per year. However, a few operators, including Air Alsie and Steelcase, fly their aircraft up to 900 hr. per year. Average annual utilization for the fleet is 662 hr., according to Dassault Falcon Jet. Given such utilization, high dispatch reliability is one of the aircraft's most valuable assets, operators say.
Most operators say they can fly the aircraft for $2,100 to $2,200 per hour while it's within the warranty period. But direct operating costs are likely to rise after the warranty expires.