WINGS From Portugal, joined May 2005, 2831 posts, RR: 69 Posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 27238 times:
DASSAULT MERCURE 100.
The Mercure was a twin-engined jet-powered airliner, manufactured by the French airplane manufacturer Dassault Aviation. It marked Dassault's only entry into the commercial aviation industry. The Mecure was designed to compete directly with the Boeing 737, in the upper seat segment of 140 seats. With it's appearence very similar to the Boeing 737 series, the Mercure failed to be a commercial success because of its short range, with only 12 examples being manufatured.
In 1967, backed by the French government, DGAC (Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile ) Dassault decided to propose a competitor to the Boeing 737. This would attack this market segment by the upper end, with a 140-seat jetliner, compared to the 100-seat , Boeing 737-100 and the 115 seat Boeing 737- 200, variants then in production. In 1968, the research team initially worked on a 110 to 120-seater version driven by two rear-mounted Rolls Royce Spey jet engines, before adopting specifications for a 150-seat aircraft with a 1000-km range (540 nm).
The new aircraft's wing was developed using calculation tools that were very modern at the time, and even though it was larger than the Boeing 737, the new aircraft could fly faster. Powered by two wing-mounted Pratt&Whitney JT 8 D 15 double flow engines.
This aircraft would be an opportunity for Dassault to show the civilian market its knowledge of high-speed aerodynamics and low speed lift capability previously developed by producing a long line of jet fighters, such as the Dassault Ouragan, Dassault Mystère and Dassault Mirage aircraft.
Marcel Dassault, founder and owner of Dassault, decided to give the airplane the name Mercure.I wanted to name it for a mythological figure and I could only think of one who had wings on his helmet and ailerons on his feet - hence the name Mercure (Mercury)."
The programme Mercure was officially launched in April 1969. Manufacturing of the Mercure would be carried out under the main contractor ship of Dassault, was shared between Fiat (Italy), CASA (Spain), ADAP (Belgium), the federal aircraft builder FW of Emmen (Switzerland) and Canadair (Canada). Final assembly was handled by the company Dassault, at Mérignac for the prototype and, at Istres, for the production series aircraft. The Mercure also gave birth to the first large-scale European cooperation programme in civil aeronautics.
The Mercure 100 prototype first flew from Mérignac on May 28, 1971, with Jean Coureau, Jérôme Résal and Gérard Joyeuse in the cockpit. On June 2, only four days later, it was unveiled at the Bourget air show.
Specifications (Mercure 100) Wingspan: 30,55 m Length: 34,84 m Height: 11,35 m Wingarea: 116 m2 Empty weigh: 31800 kg Max weight: 56500 kg Flight Crew: 3 Passengers: 150 Max speed: 925 km/h Economic cruise speed: 870 km/h Climb Rate: 1000 m/mn Ceiling Altitude: 12000 m Take-off distance: 2750 m Landing distance: 1650 m Range: 1700 km Power Plant: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15 of 7030 kg thrust each.
WHY SUCH A FAILURE?
Four external events came as hammer-blow to the Mercure program:
- the first oil crisis which diminished the margins of airlines, restricting their ability to purchase new aeroplanes;
- devaluation of the US dollar;- a higher rate of inflation in Europe than in the United States which was to the advantage of Boeing and Douglas;
- a preference on the part of the airlines for a versatile aircraft capable of providing short- and medium-haul service.
-the aircraft was also disadvantaged because of its engines: its Pratt & Whitney engines were relatively old, noisy and fuel inefficient.
The Dassault company hoped that Air France, would boost the program by buying many of the Mercures, which might have helped convince other airlines from around the world to acquire the type, although this did not happen. Dassault managed to gather 50 orders for the Mercure, although only 11 frames were put into service, by domestic French airline Air Inter.
After the commercial failure of the Mercure 100, Marcel Dassault asked his engineers to develop a new version of the Mercure, the Mercure 200C. At the beginning of 1973, a financial agreement was created with the French government to finance this program. Dassault was to receive a loan of 200-million French Francs from the French government, which would be paid back based on sales after the 201st airplane delivered. But Air France wanted an airplane powered with the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-117, which were quieter but larger than the JT8D-15. Dassault needed an additional loan of 80-million French Francs from the government to accommodate Air France's request. The French government replied to Dassault that it had to carry half of the development costs of the Mercure 200C on its own, which was impossible after the commercial failure of the Mercure 100. The Mercure 200C project was then cancelled.
Dassault also proposed a Mercure equipped with a new engine developed by General Electric/Snecma called the CFM-56; this version came to be known as the Mercure 200. Dassault was also concerned about the fact that the CFM-56 had not had a single order yet, and might cease to be produced before the Mercure 200 could be built. A decision that would seal the fate of the whole Mercure program. If Dassault had know that the CFM-56 would end up becoming one of the most successful power plants in the history of commercial aviation, the destiny of the Mercure could have had a different outcome.
-The Mercure 100 was the first commercial airplane to be operated by a 100% female crew on one of its flight.
-The Mercure was regarded as the " the Air Inter fighter " by the company pilots.
-Hoping for mass production of the Mercure (the 300th airplane was planned to be delivered by the end of 1979), Dassault created four plants especially for the Mercure program: Martignas (close to Bordeaux), Poitiers, Seclin (close to Lille) and Istres.
- The Mercure suffered no accidents, and had a 98% in-service reliability.
On April 29, 1995, the last two Mercures in service flew their last commercial flight. All Mercures are now retired with an impressive history: 360,000 flight hours, 44 million passengers carried in 440,000 flights.
Legacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 27 Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 27213 times:
Thanks very much Wings for getting all the data together, I enjoyed very much. Looking at the many real modern aspects, Dassault brought into the Mercure, it's indeed a petty they didn't really meet the customers specification with the plane. Look only at the cockpit layout and compare it with anything else built in 1971.... I think I don't have to go any further, it was simply miles ahead.
Even having failed in commercial aspects, I think the Mercures heritage is the A320. Looking at the Mercure as the A320's mother, I think it still can be seen as a big step ahead in bringing French and European Aviation to be in top position.
Legacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 27 Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 27190 times:
Quoting Afrikaskyes (Reply 2): Awesome information WINGS. Are there any on display somewhere? I was unaware this aircraft existed. I'd love to see one up close.
One is in Paris Le Bourget in the Museum, carrying Air Inter livery. Another one I recently spotted in Montpellier, an airport in Southern France on the Mediterranean shores. This one looks as being used as evacuation trainer and is painted in colours of former Air Lirroral, although they never operated Mercures.
By the way, if you have the chance to visit Paris, the Museum on Le Bourget airport is a "must" . You find about anything that was developed in French Aviation history, together with many other fine aircrafts form the whole world. A simple, safe and economic way to travel there is by bus, it actually stops in front of the museum.
Pihero From France, joined Jan 2005, 3829 posts, RR: 73 Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 27156 times:
The Mercure was in many ways too far ahead of the market and the airlines had been already committed with the DC-9 and the 737.
One reason you did not mention for AF not buying any was the 2 vs 3-man crew cockpit. Although Marcel Dassault was a visionary, he failed to see the way of the future and did not provide a two-pilot cockpit. The official reason people always invoke was its lack of range, and it was just a lot of garbage as the Mercure could have flown all AF short-medium city pairs.
A JT-8 D7 Mercure would have run rings around a 727, like the 100 was doing to the DC-9 or the 737.
In 1975, I used to fly ORY-LYS on a 742 adv...An Air Inter Mercure would takeoff five minutes behind and would catch us around 20,000 ft, climbing like crazy to FL350 (to our measly 250) and land five minutes ahead of us. An incredible show of aerodynamics superiority !
Because of its speed capability, the Mercure was the precursor of gust-alleviation systems, called the DARD (dispositif anti-rafale Dassault ) we would find on the Tri* and the 320 later.
And, of course, let's not forget that for 20 years, it amassed an incredible number of Cat III landings, and with a HUD !
Saab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1608 posts, RR: 11 Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 27132 times:
I now fly in the US but used to fly to Toulouse occasionally. The amount of ignorance in the US regarding French aviation is is unfortunate because the French have a long and distinguished history of flying.
I have seen a Mercure on the ground in TLS.
All I need to do to shut the US skeptics up though is show them some photos I have taken of Concorde from back just a few years ago when I was flying to CDG! They all love that airplane!!
YVRLTN From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 2251 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 26875 times:
I have never seen a Mercure, but remember them from my aircraft recognition books from the late 80's. What routes did they fly? Presumably ORY - MRS / LYS & TLS. Did any operate from CDG? Am I right in thinking they also operated to LGW? Maybe they were just charters - Air Inter also had Caravelle's did they not - did they share routes? How did the performance of the two compare if so? Sorry, lots of questions
Mandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6424 posts, RR: 74 Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 26712 times:
OMFG! WINGS! Just a few days ago I was looking at Mercure pics and thought... "wouldn't it be great if there's a Mercure Tribute thread?"
Tribute to Airbus' predecessor... (Well I sometimes call the A320 the Mercure II for fun).
Some interesting aspects... The nose of the aircraft looks very Soviet... sleek.
The Autopilot controls is also interesting, no V/S selector, just like the early A300s... is that a French thing? J/K Anyways, there's something very A300-like on that cockpit... which i am sure is not just a mere coincidence.
After seeing the front cockpit of the Mercure, I wonder why they had a flight engineer... It really looked like the only thing on the F/E panel was err.. fuel stuff.
Pihero, I'd like to see the climb and descent profiles of the Mercure from your description...
As to the engines? it used an engine no different from a 737 up to 1988 (JD8D-7 to -17s... though they standardised on the -15s... It's a 150 seater with an empty weight very similar to a 732??? And better performance too at 56.5tons Gross Weight... Nuts! That's French Aerodynamics for you! On the engines, what was available in those days? JT8D, and??? CFM56 was still on paper, and Rolls were still spewing up Speys and the Tays were still on paper...
If only... 2 man cockpit and better range... I'm sure this plane would still be around today...
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
Toulouse From Ireland, joined Apr 2005, 2733 posts, RR: 58 Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 26660 times:
Thanks Wings and well done on your excellent tribute. I only once flew on the a/c as a child, from Lourdes/Tarbes to Dublin and I remember it quite well because some nut of a woman tried to open the over-wing emergency exit before take off, so she was removed by the police and we were delayed.
Trintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3211 posts, RR: 4 Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 26584 times:
I saw the Mercure on display at Le Bourget last year at the great Musee. Unfortunately it was closed up and so I could not go in and have a look inside. It was the only time that I have seen one of these planes.
In all 8 remain in existence, on display throughout France and also Germany. Were its problems sorted out earlier it may have gone on to be a coomon type to the present day. The range thing was a major issue; many airlines wanted greater flexibility from a plane of that size and a 1000 nm range maximum if fully-loaded does not really cut it. Ultimately it was that which killed the Mercure.
FlySSC From France, joined Aug 2003, 7353 posts, RR: 58 Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 26538 times:
Quoting WINGS (Thread starter): although only 11 frames were put into service, by domestic French airline Air Inter.
10 production aircraft were built :
First Mercure delivered to Air Inter on May 16th 1974.
First commercial flight : June 4th 1974 on ORY-LYS
Last commercialFlight : Oct.29th 1992.
32972 hours of flight. 40000 cycles.
Borken up. Part of the aircraft are used to study protection against corrosion.
First commercial flight : June 12th 1974.
Last Commercial flight : April 29th 1995.
35590 hours of flight. 42334 cycles.
Ferried to Zweibrücken, in Germany, on May 24th 1995.
Displayed at the Speyer Museum.
First commercial flight : July 16th 1974.
Last commercial flight : August 14th 1991
31973 hours of flight. 37742 cycles.
Fuselage used by the CEAT (Centre d'Essais Aeronautique de Toulouse)
for research on the ageing process on commercial aircraft due to pressurization.
First commercial flight : Sep. 24th 1974
Last Commercial flight : April 29th 1995
35712 hours of flight. 42397 cycles.
Displayed at "Musée de l'AIr et de l'Espace" - Le Bourget Airport -
First commercial flight : Oct.23rd 1974
Last commercial flight : Nov.19th 1994
35661 hours of flight. 42698 cycles.
Donated to ESMA (Ecole Supérieure des Métiers de l'Aéronautique).
Used at MPL (Montpellier) in Air Littoral livery, as an instructional airframe.
First comercial flight : Nov.27th 1974
Last commercial flight : Sept. 1st 1994
35341 hours of flight. 42300 cycles.
Ferried to BOD (Bordeaux Merignac).
Preserved by the Concervatoire de l'AIr et de l'Espace d'Aquitaine.
First commercial flight : May 24th 1975
Last commercial flight : Oct.19th 1994
35611 hours of flight. 42500 cycles.
Ferried to Morlaix. Donated to Tristan Corbière High School
First commercial flight : Feb.26th 1975
Last commercial flight : April 24th 1995
35558 hours of flight. 42379 cycles
Ferried to MRS.
First commercial flight : Apr.3rd 1975
Last commercial flight : Dec.31st 1994
35631 hours of flight. 42462 cycles
Ferried to BOD. Donated to Institut de Maintenance Aéronautique.
First Commercial flight : Dec.13th 1975
Last commercial flight : July 8th 1994
33505 hours of flight. 39858 cycles.
Preserved and displayed at ORY.
On August 18th 1985, F-BTTJ operating a flight ORY-GNB was severely dammaged after it has flown through a terrible thunderstorm. The Crew managed to bring it back on the ground safely, diverting to LYS.
This aircraft is the second prototype. Registered "MD" ofr "Marcel Dassault.
It was delivered to Air Inter on March 3rd 1985 after several modifications to comply with the regulation for operating commercial flights. F-BTMD was a little bit shorter and heavier than the production aircraft.
It had, at that time 1029 hours of flight and 1447 cycles, operated during test flights.
Last commercial flight on Oct.29 1991.
13261 hours of flight. 16446 cycles.
Broken up at ORY.
The Mercure 100 was an incredible aircraft, very comfortable.
It offered a roomy cabin of 150 seats, then 156 seats as Air Inter added a row of 6 seats, in the last years of operations.
The pilots LOVED the Mercure, and used to call him "the Fighter" as it was fast and capable of incredible accelerations, steep climbs and steep descents.
Too bad that its lack of Range was the main cause of its commercial failure.
Pihero From France, joined Jan 2005, 3829 posts, RR: 73 Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 26420 times:
Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 10): There a many European programmes pre Airbus that seem very truncated when compared with their American counterparts.
And you've put your finger on the sad history of european airliners pre-airbus era !
There are a few reasons for your comment :
- The myopia of the european manufacturers who "tailored" their products too close to the needs of the national airlines : Witness the VC-10 which was a far superior airplane to the 707 or the DC-8, the Caravelle, the Mercure, the Trident....list is endless
- The de facto monopoly enjoyed by the US manufacturers who could rely on a vast market (an order from two of the Majors was often enough to guarantee the viability of a production line), monopoly that was enhanced by a general suspiscion for NIH airplanes : only the Viscount and the BAC-111 made some impact there,
- The lack of a formal industrial policy : the Caravelle begged for a derivative which never saw the daylight, the Mercure was left without a development. One of the explanations for that situation was that money wasn't available for too many projects,
- The choice of very advanced technological marvels without a comprehensive study of operational economics : one has just to look into the electrical system of a Caravelle to understand what I mean, and let's jut think that at the time the advanced cockpit /flight controls / hydraulics /HUD /...Mercure was sold to Air Inter, Douglas was already making a fortune with a DC-9 that had 1950 airframe / flight control technology.
Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 15): Pihero, I'd like to see the climb and descent profiles of the Mercure from your description...
Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 15): Pihero, I'd like to see the climb and descent profiles of the Mercure from your description...
I'll PM you soon with these data. Promise !
Wings, there is more work for you and these are my ideas :
- The wispering giant :