To the best of my knowledge all of the UK reg ex-Fedex Falcons listed are still in service although some are or must be getting very close to being lifex. S/No 020 was used by Fedex /Little Rock Airmotive as a test bed for many trial mods when Fedex were still sorting out the actual performance requirements and the basic Avionics fit. All of the aircraft Avionics wiring was installed by Little Rock and bore no resemblance to the original Dassault fit.
I joined the UK company operating these aircraft in 1990 just after they purchased them from AMARC. They were re-registered with N900 series numbers suffixed by FR.
A major mod programme was set up (Dassault Mod M1800) to bring them onto the UK Register where they joined an existing small fleet of ‘conventional’ F20’s.
In 1992/3, whilst the UK mod programme was ongoing, 5 more almost conventional F20’s were purchased from the RCAF as CC-117’s. These too were brought onto the UK reg as G-FRAS, G-FRAT, G-FRAU, G-FRAV and G-FRAW. At the height of ownership the company operated 21 F20’s of varying types. Many have been sold on and /or re-registered.
From 2000 on the then existing fleet was subject to another major mod programme when all of the original avionics packages were removed and a Collins Proline 4 Glass cockpit installed. As each aircraft was so modified it went through our paint shop and emerged with the now familiar all over dark blue with a white cheat line.
All retained the original GE-CF700- 2D2 engines. I believe the thought was that the engine upgrade wasn’t cost effective for our operation.
During this second round of major modifications all of the original avionics wiring was removed and this threw up some interesting historical points particularly on S/No 020. We found evidence of the original trial mods by Fedex including for example Self Weighing Equipment. Obviously weight formed an important factor in Fedex Ops. As original equipment Fedex aircraft also carried UHF radios for operations into USAF bases and TACAN Nav equipment along with an IFF transponder instead of the more normal ATC transponder.
Since a lot of the trial mods never made it into production aircraft the Fedex wiring manuals were a little short on information relating to these non-accepted mods and as an avionics team leader I frequently had to don my Sherlock Holmes hat to establish just what they were if only to make an educated guess at where the wiring originated and terminated…
In their current role they are used for Target Towing and Electronic Warfare in support of the RN and RAF. There are currently lots of photographs of the fleet on airliners.net where they can be seen strutting their stuff with a variety of underwing stores.
So…Just a bit more gen for anyone who may be interested in ‘What Happened to the Fedex Falcons.’