Dassault Mercure

From:         David Lednicer <dave@amiwest.com>
Date:         24 Aug 94 14:02:00 
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	I always have wondered why the Dassault Mercure was such a flop.  
Last night, I dug out the old Air Enthusiast (now Air International) 
article on the Mercure (Vol.2 No.3, March 1972) and found out why.  The 
aircraft was designed as a short range airliner - it has a max payload 
range of only 400 miles!  With 80% payload, the range is still only 900 
miles!  Even worse, in the quest to reduce the structural weight, "The 
objective was achieved by rigorously excluding all structural provision 
for supplementary fuel capacity"!  What a turkey of a design!  Boeing has 
shown that succesful airliners are those with growth built into them.  No 
wonder the Mercure failed so spectacularly - only 11 were sold, to Air 
Inter, the French domestic carrier.

	The French government provided a loan for 56% of the development 
costs.  The loan was to be repaid from a levy on sales.  Since sales were 
so dismal, did the government write off the loan, like they did for 
Airbus?  Dassault only covered 14% of the costs out of their own pocket.  
The rest came from Fiat (10%), SABCA in Belgium, CASA in Spain and the Swiss 
Federal Aircraft Factory.  If this project had been financed US style 
(Dassault covering 80-100%) Dassault would probably be no more.



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David Lednicer             | "Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics"
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