WINGS
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Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:14 am

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.


INTERESTING FACTS:

-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.

SOURCES:

http://www.dassault-aviation.com/gb/home/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dassault_Mercure
http://caea.free.fr/en/coll/mercure.html

Other Tributes By Wings
Boeing 727- A Tribute By Wings (by WINGS Oct 18 2006 in Civil Aviation)
L-1011 A Tribute By Wings (by WINGS Oct 11 2006 in Civil Aviation)
Tupolev Tu-144 - A Tribute By Wings (by WINGS Oct 10 2006 in Civil Aviation)

Hope everyone enjoyed taking a breif look into the history of the Mercure 100.

Regards,
Wings

[Edited 2006-10-24 21:15:14]
Aviation Is A Passion.
 
PennPal
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:27 am

Wings...geez, you must have a lot of time on your hands!!!  Wink


Great job, as always!!!


PS...do the Convairs Jets next!!!!!
 
afrikaskyes
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:28 am

Awesome information WINGS. Are there any on display somewhere? I was unaware this aircraft existed. I'd love to see one up close.

Afrika
 
legacy135
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:28 am

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.

Cheers
Legacy135 Wink
 
legacy135
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:36 am

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.

Cheers
Legacy135 Wink
 
WINGS
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:36 am

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.

Well several Museums currently have the Mecure 100 on display, such as the Le Bourget Aerospace museum, Orly museum. (Paris) and the Technik Museum Speyer (Germay).



Regards,
Wings
Aviation Is A Passion.
 
Pihero
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:52 am

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 !
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jetmech
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:54 am

Wings, you are now the official researcher / historian / statistician of A.net  Smile ! Top work as always  bigthumbsup .
JetMech split the back of his pants. He can feel the wind in his hair :shock: .
 
saab2000
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:03 am

Interesting facts!

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!! Big grin

Thanks for the info Wings!
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A342
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:08 am

Quoting WINGS (Thread starter):
the aircraft was also disadvantaged because of its engines: its Pratt & Whitney engines were relatively old, noisy and fuel inefficient.

Not really. At that time, there wasn't anything better available.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:16 am

There a many European programmes pre Airbus that seem very truncated when compared with their American counterparts.

Boeing stick CFM56s on the 737 and create a bestseller, the Mercure didn't and died. The 737-200 sold respectably, but sales really took off with the CFM powered versions.

In the UK, the BAC1-11 dies, whereas in the US Douglas stretch the DC9 to create the MD80 and sell 1000 of them.
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N328KF
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:30 am

Maybe these articles should be associated with the Airliners.net aircraft data pages? Or used to revamp them.
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
YVRLTN
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:22 pm

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  Smile
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oldeuropean
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:28 pm

And again a great report about another interesting aircraft. Wings, thank you for your idea, to remind us on all these beautiful birds.  yes   thumbsup 

I'm curious about your next report.

Axel
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Ruscoe
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:47 pm

Great thankyou Wings.

Does anyone know the fuselage internal diameter?
Thanks in advance
Ruscoe
 
mandala499
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:10 pm

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...  Smile (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...

Mandala499
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Toulouse
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:01 pm

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.
Long live Aer Lingus!
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:23 pm

Man, how come I never heard of this plane before?
 
trintocan
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:27 pm

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.

TrinToCan.
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FlySSC
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:01 pm

Quoting WINGS (Thread starter):
although only 11 frames were put into service, by domestic French airline Air Inter.

10 production aircraft were built :

F-BTTA. msn/1
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.

F-BTTB. msn/2
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.

F-BTTC. msn/3
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.

F-BTTD. msn/4
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 -

F-BTTE. msn/5
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.

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Photo © Ian Howat



F-BTTF. msn/6
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.

F-BTTG.msn/7
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

F-BTTH. msn/8
First commercial flight : Feb.26th 1975
Last commercial flight : April 24th 1995
35558 hours of flight. 42379 cycles
Ferried to MRS.

F-BTTI. msn/9
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.

F-BTTJ. msn/10
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.

F-BTMD. msn/02.
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.


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Photo © T.Laurent



Thanks WINGS for this tribute to a badly known but incredible airliner.

[Edited 2006-10-25 13:10:20]

[Edited 2006-10-25 13:12:51]

[Edited 2006-10-25 13:15:39]
 
FlySSC
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:32 pm

Different liveries applied on MERCURE during its brilliant career :

Prototype :

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Photo © Jacques Lienard



Air Inter : in the mid 70s

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Photo © Manfred Groihs



In the late 70s/early 80s :

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Photo © Michel Gilliand



In the mid 80s :

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Photo © Eddy Cuperus



In the 90s : the very last ...

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Photo © Yakfreak - VAP




F-BTTE, used at MPL as an instructional airframe is wearing the livery of the now defunct Air Littoral, but has never operated any flight under theses colors.

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Photo © Markus Herzig

 
Alessandro
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:13 pm

It´s mentioned in the book "Close to the sun", that McDonnell Douglas had stakes in this aircraft and produced some parts.
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
Pihero
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:21 pm

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 :

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Photo © Lars Söderström


- The first of the many :

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Photo © Bob Garrard


- The mighty -10

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Photo © Robert Pittuck


- The real tripod

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Photo © Gerard Helmer


- En garde, Vanguard !

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Photo © Jochen Beeck



Now, you've been elected as A.net's nostalgia specialist !

Regards.
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FlySSC
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:37 pm

Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 14):
Does anyone know the fuselage internal diameter?

Accomodation :

Mercure 100
Cabin length 83ft 7in (25,50m)
Max width 11ft 11in (3,66m)
Max height 7ft 3in (2,20m)

B737-200 :
Cabin length : 68ft 6in (20,88m)
Max Width = 11ft 7in (3,53m)
Max height = 7ft (2,13)

A320 :
Cabin length : 90ft 3in (27,51m)
Max Width : 12ft 1,(inc (3,70m)
Max height : 7ft 4in (2,22m)
 
FlySSC
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:42 am

Quoting Pihero (Reply 22):
Wings, there is more work for you and these are my ideas :

Pihero, concerning one of the most beautiful "Lady" ever built, La Caravelle , here is a little tribute I wrote in August 2005 :

http://www.airliners.net/discussions...general_aviation/read.main/2080652
 
WINGS
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:05 am

Well first of all I would like to thank you all for the kind words. It's always great to look back into aviation history to see how the current industry was molded.

I have received various suggestions into future tributes, which I also believe will in the interest of all aviation enthusiast. So keep an eye out for my next tributes.

I would also like to thank FLYSSC for the additional information he provided in regards to the Mercure.

Regards,
Wings
Aviation Is A Passion.
 
richierich
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:16 am

Quoting Cobra27 (Reply 17):
Man, how come I never heard of this plane before?

Dude, where have you been? There were only 10 of them flying - they were practically at every airport!  

Seriously, thanks WINGS for another great historical review. It would have been sweet to get this plane on my list of types but I am about 11 years too late!

Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 15):
Well I sometimes call the A320 the Mercure II for fun

That's good!

[Edited 2006-10-25 19:30:37]
None shall pass!!!!
 
SEAdomer787
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:22 am

I think I remember reading once in an Airways magazine that Dassault had attempted a 2x2x2 seating config either in the Mercure or in one of the proposed derivatives... any more info on this? Did Air Inter ever configure theirs as such? Would have been pretty revolutionary.
 
SEAdomer787
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:22 am

I think I remember reading once in an Airways magazine that Dassault had attempted a 2x2x2 seating config either in the Mercure or in one of the proposed derivatives... any more info on this? Did Air Inter ever configure theirs as such? Would have been pretty revolutionary.
 
osiris30
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:45 am

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 8):
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 think you're making a bit of a mistake with that statement. Techincally sure the French have produced or helped produce some amazing machines. The problem has always been for French designed products the market. Technically great while being a financial disaster doesn't warrant kudos when they are intended as a commercial venture.
I don't care what you think of my opinion. It's my opinion, so have a nice day :)
 
FlySSC
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:50 am

Quoting SEAdomer787 (Reply 28):
I think I remember reading once in an Airways magazine that Dassault had attempted a 2x2x2 seating config either in the Mercure or in one of the proposed derivatives... any more info on this? Did Air Inter ever configure theirs as such?

Air Inter never offered such a configuration.
It was 150 seats in a "classic" 3x3 layout with a pitch of 33" and even more at the rows in front of the emergency overwing exits. That was very comfortable for an all Y configuration of a domestic airline with flights not exceeding 1h30 (most of them between 50mn and 1h15), and compared to the rather cramped configuration of Air Inter's A300 (314Y), Caravelle XII (131 seats) and later A330 (412 seats).

The capacity of the Mercure was increased in the early 90s to 156 seats. The maximum possible allowed by the Manufacturer and the certification, and still it was quite comfortable.

There was 2 lavatories on the each side at the rear of the cabin and a large Galley a the back. No galley at the Front.
 
richierich
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:32 am

How come it had such a short range? I heard that Air Inter could only use it on a few of their routes because its range was so limited. Was it fuel capacity? Weight? Choosing aerodynamics for speed over economy? Bad choice of engines? Other airplanes used the JT8Ds with no serious range issues.

It seems pretty unbelieveable that a B737 wannabe competitor could only muster about half of the range.
None shall pass!!!!
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:15 am

What is interesting about the Mercure is what was learned from that airplane got applied to the make the A320 Family the success it is today.
 
FlySSC
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:37 am

Quoting Richierich (Reply 31):
I heard that Air Inter could only use it on a few of their routes because its range was so limited.

Wrong.
Air Inter used the Mercure on ALL its network, and even operated some European flights with it such as ORY-IBZ, ORY-PMI or ORY-MAD and some charters on behalf of Air Charter before those flights were operated with A320.
The range of the Mercure, with 150 PAX, at Mach 0,78, at 33.000 ft was 1.115 naut.miles / 2070km which was more than enough for Air Inter's network
(the longest French domestic route was LIL-AJA = 570nm/1056km).

Mercure landing at PMI :

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Photo © Toni Marimon



The Mercure even visited LGB/Long Beach in 1976 !!! (did not come nonstop of course !)

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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.



The problem of the Mercure was that its range too short compared to its competitors, the B737 or DC9, and too short to be interesting for the major European airlines.

[Edited 2006-10-25 23:53:06]
 
RIX
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:07 am

Quoting Pihero (Reply 6):
A JT-8 D7 Mercure would have run rings around a 727, like the 100 was doing to the DC-9 or the 737.

- apparently, "running rings around" was not what the customers wanted, as these were the latter ones that sold in thousands.

Quoting Pihero (Reply 22):
the VC-10 which was a far superior airplane to the 707 or the DC-8

- it was not. Preferred by BOAC/BA passengers - yes, which is not the same.

Quoting Pihero (Reply 22):
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)

- why couldn't European manufacturers enjoy this vast market? "NIH" argument is rubbish - look who is the biggest Airbus customer in the world.

Having said that, I am a huge fan of early European (especially, British) designs, with only one "same favorite" American (DC8). But what you are trying to say sounds same ridiculous as when some Tu144 admirers in Russia still cry "it was superior to Concorde!!!!!!!!!". BTW, it's interesting that both these (Tu144 and Mercure) aircraft made it to "first issues" of "tribute series" - both were not success, but both deserve to be mentioned and remembered.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:49 am

Quoting Pihero (Reply 22):
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.

We wuz robbed! Robbed, I tell you! Bush! Evil Bush! It is all his fault!


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Pihero
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:12 am

Rix,
Nowhere in my posts would you find a criticism of an airplane, wherever it came from, so just cool down.
We apparently didn't read the same books on the same history.
About the "NIH syndrome", could I just remind you that Sud aviation, in their candor and naive ways thought that the best way to sell Caravelle into the US was to ally themselves with a US manufacturer ? The contract was signed and apart from a few airplanes UAL took (to the delight of their pilots, I might add), it gave Douglas enough stalling time to roll-out the DC-9, and Boeing the 737...At that time, Germany was very much in the US pocket and ordered the 731...Caravelle died with the lack of a follow-up :the French government had just enough money to start financing....the Airbus A-300 !
Also remember the obstacles thrown into the path of the same A-300 (the EWR bridges couldn't support it while they were fit for heavier US airplanes like the DC-10 or the Tri* !... (endless list, still on-going !)

As for technical superiority, just imagine that the Mercure :
-4.5 tons heavier than the 732 flew faster, climbed faster with thirty more passengers and that with the same engines !
-had a quadruple channel autopilot which allowed Cat III landings (when was the first cat iii for a 737 ?)
-was equipped with an operational HUD allowing take offs with 75 m RVR (to my limited knowledge, the first US airplane with such capability was the Tri* which came nearly ten years later ).
As for comparing it with a trim-tab based flight controlled DC-9 (et al), I won't just bother.
Now the VC-10 . In terms of flight control architecture, it came thirty years ahead of the 777. In some respects, it is even more advanced than the -380, and that saying something. It had better performance than the 707 or the DC-8 - after all, it was tailored for the Commonwealth lines which included hot and high places like Nairobi and Johannesburg, iy was more comfortable, with a wider fuselage, was wayyy quieter and had navigation equipment so advanced that we have to look into the glass cockpit era to find some equivalents.

Quoting RIX (Reply 34):
look who is the biggest Airbus customer in the world.

I have no idea and I couldn't care less. But you're talking about Airbus era, and on this I agree with you, things have changed somehow.

NB : the Sony betamax was superior to the VHS, too !
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solnabo
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:39 am

Dassault Mercure sure looks like the blueprint of A320 exept the pipe engines a lá 732.

A real beaty IYAM! Thx a mill WINGS, great topics as always.. bigthumbsup 

Micke// Big grin
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Dougloid
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:27 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 36):
I have no idea and I couldn't care less. But you're talking about Airbus era, and on this I agree with you, things have changed somehow.

NB : the Sony betamax was superior to the VHS, too !

And the South shall rise again, suh! Can I interest you in a few St. Jude curios and trinkets, seeing as you've a weakness for lost causes?




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Pihero
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:01 pm

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 38):
Can I interest you in a few St. Jude curios and trinkets, seeing as you've a weakness for lost causes?

Yes, I'd very much like memorabilia from Douglas and Lockheed airliners, as I collect them !
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edina
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:14 pm

I'm amazed I missed this thread until now.......I miss working on the Mercure, although the back galley makes the back of a 737-200 sound like a haven of tranquility!!
Worked on - Caravelle Mercure A300 A320 F27 SD3-60 BAe146 747-100/200/400 DC10-30 767 777 737-400 757 A319 A321
 
keesje
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:54 pm

wings nice post agian.

I think most people like your tributes for aircraft like the Mercure, little know not very succesfull etc.

Together with the TU144 in the "Wings Galery of Broken Dreams" perhaps the tu 104 & 114, VFW614, do728, Convair 880, Lancastrian, Avro Jetliner, Dornier Do X, etc.. all fascinating aircraft / stories..

"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:25 pm

Thanks WINGS for another great tribute!

I never had the opportunity to fly on a Mercure, however, I have always admired the design, quality, fit and finnish of Dassault aircraft.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
Dougloid
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:14 pm

One thing's for sure. If the Mercure was put together by the same crackerjack mechanics and tin benders who built all the other Dassault aircraft including the Falcons I am sure the sheet metal work was nothing short of astounding.

I worked for Garrett and had a chance to see the insides and outsides of a number of green Falcon jets fresh from the plant. The sheet metal work was the highest quality I have ever seen in aircraft.

Interestingly enough, we had a green F-50 parked next to the last Lockheed Jetstar II on the ramp at one time-the contrast couldn't have been more evident.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:15 pm

Back in 1990, I flew around France on an under 26 pass (Le Fly France!). A great holiday, and an interesting selection of flights

F28 (of TAT) there and back (1000 and 4000 I think)
Then with Air Inter
2 Mercure flights
1 A300 (9 abreast?)
1 A320 (they were still quite rare then, and very impressive)

The only regret, is got getting to fly on a Caravelle (I believe they were still in service then, though being replaced by the A320)
it's the bus to stansted (now renamed National Express a6 to ruin my username)
 
FlySSC
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:22 pm

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 44):
1 A300 (9 abreast?)

314 Y class. in a 3x3x3 config.

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 44):
The only regret, is got getting to fly on a Caravelle (I believe they were still in service then

The 2 last Caravelle XII (F-GCVJ & F-GCVK) were retired from service on August 3rd 1991.


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WINGS
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:47 am

Quoting Solnabo (Reply 37):
Dassault Mercure sure looks like the blueprint of A320 exept the pipe engines a lá 732.

What's more interesting is that the Mercure would have had a more comfortable cabin vs it's main rival the B737. It's a real shame that the Mercure had such a premature life.

Quoting Edina (Reply 40):
I'm amazed I missed this thread until now.......I miss working on the Mercure, although the back galley makes the back of a 737-200 sound like a haven of tranquility!!

Well you should feel fortunate to have worked with the Mercure. I'm sure that this thread should bring some good memories for you.  Smile

Quoting Keesje (Reply 41):

I think most people like your tributes for aircraft like the Mercure, little know not very succesfull etc.

Well Keesje, I have also made a tribute to the B727 which in fact is the third most successful aircraft after the B737 and A320.

But it sure is nice to look back at the golden generation of commercial aviation.

Regards,
Wings
Aviation Is A Passion.
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:35 am

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 45):
The 2 last Caravelle XII (F-GCVJ & F-GCVK) were retired from service on August 3rd 1991.

Zut alors!!! I bet the retirement of the Caravelle was an emotional occasion
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Alessandro
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:46 am

Doug, part of the fuselage was made in Spain. It was a truly international plane.
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
LVTMB
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RE: Dassault Mercure- A Tribute By Wings.

Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:47 am

Great job! Thank you for posting ..

TMB