FedEx's Falcon 20 Still 'Flying' After 42 Years

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N9FE, one of FedEx's original Falcon 20s, is still "flying" inside FedEx's Greenway Aviation Trading Center on the grounds of their Memphis World Hub sorting facility. Recent photos provided to Aviation Week show the aircraft still quietly but proudly on display, suspended from the ceiling along with a Falcon cockpit section underneath.

Aviation Week Intelligence Network's Fleet database shows that this aircraft, bearing serial no. 84, first flew on April 27, 1967, and was used by LTV Aerospace Corporation until being purchased by FedEx on March 6, 1972. Originally registered N1FE, it flew for FedEx from the beginning of its operations in 1973 until the type was withdrawn from service by early 1984, at which point it was placed in storage in Marana, Ariz. It was moved to Memphis in 1985 and re-registered N9FE before being restored by volunteer employees and put on permanent display.

While N1FE/N9FE is technically the first aircraft purchased by FedEx according to Aviation Week Intelligence Network's Fleet database, N8FE has the honor of being the first to be handed over to FedEx after freighter conversion and enter service. That aircraft is currently on public display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, inside their Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center outside Washington D.C.

The Falcon 20 was instrumental in getting FedEx through its formative years and was the only aircraft they operated until larger 727s began arriving in 1978.  By 1985, after a fleet of 727s and DC-10s had been established, 30 of their Falcons had been sold to other operators while the remaining two were saved for preservation.

 

N9FE can be seen from the outside of FedEx's Greenway Aviation Training Center in Memphis, Tenn.

Photo credits: FedEx

Interior photos show N9FE, named "Laurie", suspended from the ceiling on display. The cockpit section on the floor, previously used as a procedures trainer, belongs to Falcon 20 N990L (s/n 43). It was purchased by FedEx in 1975 for parts after it was damaged in an accident in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Photo credits: anonymous


N8FE, named "Wendy", is on display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum outside Washington D.C. 

Photo credit: Nigel Howarth


N8FE, fourth aircraft from the front, is seen here in Memphis in the summer of 1980, taking a break on a quiet Sunday afternoon along with the rest of the Falcon fleet. (Notice the black dots on the nose which the two display aircraft do not have.)

Photo credit: Bob Bostick

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