Dassault launched the Falcon 2000 program in 1989 as a large cabin aircraft that would have double-club seating, 3,000 nm range and operating costs nearly as inexpensive as midsize jets. The firm shortened the Falcon 900 trijet’s fuselage, simplified the wing’s high-lift system and grafted on a new empennage modified for two engines.

First deliveries of the 2000 Classic began in early 1995 and 231 units were delivered until early 2006 when the aircraft was superseded by the second-generation Falcon 2000EX. Today, they command $4 million to $10 million depending upon age, hours, condition and maintenance status, according to Penton’s Aircraft Bluebook price digest.

The Classic is the forerunner of the Falcon 2000DX and Falcon 2000S. With a 1,024-cu.-ft. cabin, it’s one of the most capacious transcontinental U.S.-range business jets and yet it burns fuel like a midsize or super-midsize aircraft. Falcon 2000 also has one of the quietest cabins because of super soundproofing and well-isolated engine mounts Its 9.3 psi pressurization system provides a 7,650-ft. cabin altitude at its 47,000 ft. certified ceiling. The 140-cu.-ft. capacity aft baggage compartment has internal access and an external airstair door for easy loading.

BOWs have ballooned from the original 20,800-lb. spec weight to 23,200 lb. to 23,400 lb. No matter. The aircraft still can carry six to seven passengers with full fuel, assuming incorporation of option M57 that raises max ramp weight to 36,700 lb. Each additional passenger reduces max range by 65 to 70 nm. The relatively high 34,500-lb. max landing weight enables the aircraft to fly up to 1,700 nm without refueling after a stopover. Most operators fly their Falcon 2000s at Mach 0.80 or faster, preferring time over fuel savings. But doing so decreases max range by 250 nm.

Assuming Mach 0.80 cruise, plan on burning 2,000 lb. the first hour and 1,800 lb. each subsequent hour. Initial cruise altitudes are in the mid to upper 30s. By the end of the mission, it’s possible to climb to FL 430.

Most Classics originally were delivered with relatively small galleys. Main cabins were configured with forward and aft four-chair club seating or two facing chairs in the aft cabin across from a three-place divan. Later models came with 46-in. galleys and many have ten seat interiors, adding passenger carrying versatility.

All members of the Falcon Jet family are delightful to fly, and especially the Falcon 2000. The fully-powered hydraulic controls have an artificial feel system that seems misnamed because the feedback is so natural. This aircraft is flown by fingertip.

Falcon 2000 has simple systems. It has a 28 VDC electrical system, dual 3,000 psi hydraulic systems, a single ACM pack and military-style, pressurized fuel tanks that eliminate the need for vents, plus dual-wheel landing gear with hydraulically powered nosewheel steering and carbon disk brakes. Part-span leading edge slats and long-travel, trailing edge flaps give it acceptable short field performance, but it’s thrust limited when departing hot-and-high airports, so it’s important to observe weight-altitude-temperature limits.

The Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 cockpit seems dated, with its four, 7.25-in. square CRTs, a stack of three engine instrument electronic displays and an annunciator panel. Most aircraft came with a single Global GNS-X FMS, but many have been fitted with dual Rockwell Collins, Honeywell or Universal FMS boxes, mostly with WAAS GPS sensors. Large-screen EFBs with XM radio receivers are worthwhile additions to the flight deck.

Maintenance costs are considerable. MSP Gold for the GE Honeywell CFE738 engines costs $435.27 per engine per hour for North American customers having logged fewer than 5,000 flight hours. MSP Gold increases to $476.60 per engine per hour for those with more than 5,000 hr. MPI intervals are 3,000 hours and CZI overhauls come at 6,000 hr. Not on MSP? Plan on $1 million to $1.25 million per engine for overhaul. But these turbofans now have matured into highly reliable powerplants.

There are 8-month/800 hr. A, 1,600 hr. B and 72-month C series scheduled inspections. C checks can cost $100,000 to $200,000, or more. Landing gear overhauls, costing upwards of $200,000 to $300,000, are due at 12 years or 6,000 cycles. 

It’s essential to hire a Falcon maintenance expert for a pre-buy inspection. While resale values continue to decline, bargains are disappearing. Challenger 601 is a strong competitor because of its large cabin and superior range, though its fuel consumption is considerably higher because of its heavier weight. Bombardier Challenger 300 and Gulfstream G200 also are competitors, but both have considerably more restrictive tanks-full payloads.

Aircraft Bluebook’s chief appraiser, Carl Janssens, advises would-be purchasers to insist aircraft be enrolled in Honeywell’s MSP or JSSI’s engine program. Look for good pedigree among previous owners. Operators say Dassault Falcon Jet’s product support now is top notch, as is its service center network. But beware of deferred maintenance and non-compliance with recommended service bulletins lest your Bordeaux bargain become expensive vinegar. BCA

This article appears in the November 2015 issue of Business & Commercial Aviation with the title "Falcon 2000 Classic."