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DTWPurserBoy
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:38 pm

Why was this aircraft such a commercial failure? Too similar to the 737? Poor economics? Politics? Performance? All of the above?

I have always been fascinated with this aircraft and regret that I never had a chance to fly on one. Where are they now? If anyone has any good photos I would appreciate seeing them, especially interior shots.

Note to the moderators--there was a similar thread started in 2010 but I could not get it to open to add to it. I apologize for the duplication or perhaps it was locked.
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Polot
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:42 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Thread starter):
Why was this aircraft such a commercial failure? Too similar to the 737? Poor economics? Politics? Performance? All of the above?

Range was probably the biggest issue- it just didn't have enough of it, making it very unattractive for most carriers, especially outside of Europe. The joke always was that the Mercure didn't have enough range to leave France. They were considering a CFM powered variant but Airbus was formed and focus shifted towards them.

[Edited 2013-08-18 06:44:32]
 
DIJKKIJK
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:56 pm

It had a range of 1,125 nm (2084 km), which was much below par. As the earlier poster mentioned, the standing joke was that it never got exported as it didn't have the range to leave France.
12 were made, all flown by Air Inter on their short range, high capacity routes.
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ZKCIF
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:22 pm

the aircraft tried to address the market segment that was not there: it was developed as a feeder of a hub but the high amount of seats (about 140?) made it suitable only to densely populated areas.
from the American perspective, it did not have the range for JFK-MIA and could not fly MIA-IAH if loaded full.
Only Asia was its only real chance but... The rest is history.

Moderators, Please edit the title to "dAssault". Thank You.
 
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:27 pm

Quoting ZKCIF (Reply 3):
Only Asia was its only real chance but... The rest is history.

Its range would have been problematic in much of Asia as well.
 
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:36 pm

And regarding the question where the are, at least there is one stored at Le Bourget Aviation Museum which you can get pretty close to (together with other nice aircrafts, including Concorde). You should spend some time there if you have the chance to be in Paris (or even during a long layover connecting in Paris, since you can take a bus from the airport to get there).
 
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:37 pm

A fascinating aircraft. The cabin width was 6" wider than the 737 and when Airbus expropriated the Mercure+CFM idea, it became the A320, and the rest is history.

By all accounts the Mercure was reliable and well regarded by those who had direct experience. Aspects of wing made it very efficient for climbing in and out of congested air traffic patterns.

Hughes Airwest was seriously interested and Dassault offered to build them a maintenance facility in the US. The weak dollar circa 1972-73 made the French aircraft very expensive for US carriers, and a fleet of yellow Mercures (L'haut banane!) out of Vegas never occurred.
 
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:59 pm

Also pionneered certain autoflight features too IIRC...


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factsonly
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:37 pm

Quoting ZKCIF (Reply 3):
the aircraft tried to address the market segment that was not there: it was developed as a feeder of a hub but the high amount of seats (about 140?) made it suitable only to densely populated areas.

This is highly unlikely as 'Airport/Airline Hubs' as we know them today did not exist in the 1960-1970s, when the Mercure was designed and built.

The aircraft was designed purely with French domestic routes in mind (Air Inter being launch customer), so the aircraft was optimised for relatively short distances, which translates into great climb and descent performance, less so in cruise.


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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:46 pm

Quoting factsonly (Reply 8):
This is highly unlikely as 'Airport/Airline Hubs' as we know them today did not exist in the 1960-1970s, when the Mercure was designed and built.

In the US, you can imagine that the Mercure would have been optimized for use on shuttle operations such as Eastern's, or American's competing 'express' services in the northeast, but they would have required a dedicated fleet that could not easily be deployed around the system due to the range issue. Intrastates such as PSA or Southwest could also have been attracted to the concept.
 
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Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:02 pm

Also, during this time regarding the American market there was no "family" of aircraft available, we had very strong domestic companies and there was no support structure in place. Similar to the now Superjet in that its very hard to become a major player in a market dominated already buy established competitors.
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:24 pm

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Reply 2):
It had a range of 1,125 nm (2084 km)

As I recall the full-payload range was less than that.

So why did they give it such a short range? Presumably because it was a bit more efficient on the short trips it could do. They thought there was a market for an aircraft that was just right for a 500-nm trip, and it seems they were wrong about that.
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:47 pm

Speaking of the French domestic network, is there much of it remaining, or did the TGV trains kill it off?
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:48 pm

To put it in perspective the Mercure's 1,125nm range.

732 initial range: 1,900nm
732 final range: 2,300nm
MD-81: 1,570nm (short range MD-80)
MD-83: 2,500nm (longest range MD-80)
MD-87: 2,300nm (optimized MD-80 giving up range for weight reduction)

Demand was for longer range variants. For US hubs, 2,300 to 2,500nm of range is needed to serve outlying markets. Hence the later 732/MD-80 range.

The reality is that Douglas was able to improve the DC-9 just enough to kill off the Mercure. While today we compare it naturally to the 737, at that time the DC-9 was the competition. The promise of the MD-80 with its proven Pratt (albeit a thrust growth) vs. the as yet *unsold* CFM-56 killed off the Mercure 200. Take a step back to consider the risk. The Mercure 200 was based off an airframe that didn't sell and was going to be powered by a *risky* new joint venture engine. A risky engine that ended up owning the market, but that is 20/20 hindsight.

Supposedly the operating costs of the Mercure were excellent. But how is that possible with a design cycle life of 42,500 cycles versus the DC-9-30s 105k (grown from 40k at EIS)?

The climb rate and other factors were excellent. But sub 2,000nm range kept it out of anything but the intra-Europe market.

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 9):
in the northeast, but they would have required a dedicated fleet that could not easily be deployed around the system due to the range issue.

   But the Mercure was too optimized for short range... the -200 would have been a completely different airframe. (Then again, the -200 737 was very different from the 737-100, in particular details that impacted cycle life).

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col
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:50 pm

Not got my flight log with me, but did fly on one from either CDG or Orly to BOD, probably late 80's. It was certainly bigger than the 737's at that time. As previous people have said range was very poor, was built like a tank. It was very much a 320 sized unit, from memory I think the Air Inter one I was on had 162 seats? Production I think was only 11, 10 production and I believe Air Inter took the prototype to make 11. Can't remember there being 12?
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:02 pm

Mercure my favorite   

Some random comments

= It was late to the game. Did not fly until 1971. By then 737/DC-9 were well established
= Had many technical innovations including high life devices, and aerodynamic advances, and navigation
= Yes it had relative short range (1700km), but remember a typical intra-Europe flight is under 1000km even today. It was light and optimized for such hops
= Look at cockpit. Almost identical to A300
= A larger and long range version know as -200C series was to be launched at behest of Air France, but 1970s economic crisis made development unfeasible.
= The CFM56 was to be launch engine for -200C. First customer in world.
= Lockheed was seriously considering becoming US partner
= Air Inter always praised reliability. Even being a small orphan aircraft they operated till 1995. True testiment to design and economics.
= Played important foundation role for Airbus models

Quoting PROSA (Reply 12):
Speaking of the French domestic network, is there much of it remaining, or did the TGV trains kill it off?

Well trains have changed the landscape for sure, but there is still a huge domestic network primarily with Paris Orly at its heart.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:14 pm

Quoting timz (Reply 11):
So why did they give it such a short range?

One reason - but don't trust me on that - is that Dassault, as a military airplane maker, designed the Mercure like a Mirage fighter. A fighter is refuelled after every flight, while a short-range airplane isn't...


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Ttailsteve
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:15 pm

Not to get political but........politics certainly came into play. The French government pressured them to design for the French market first and like the UK aircraft industry this resulted in an aircraft with limited scope.
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:42 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 13):
732 initial range: 1,900nm

Boeing graphs show 1200 nm for an unAdv 737-200 with full payload and 120000 lb MTOW (or just under 1000 nm with 116000 lb MTOW).

[Edited 2013-08-18 13:55:02]
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:44 pm

Quoting mercure1 (Reply 15):


= It was late to the game. Did not fly until 1971. By then 737/DC-9 were well established

Per the US market, it would have been a good choice for several of the Local Service Carrier's route structures at the time, if not most of them, but as you said too late to the game. DC-9/737/BAC 1-11 had already found their homes with the US carriers. Even some of the trunk carriers had networks that would have benefitted from the twin-engine/extra capacity the Mercure offered.

Quoting ttailsteve (Reply 17):


Not to get political but........politics certainly came into play. The French government pressured them to design for the French market first and like the UK aircraft industry this resulted in an aircraft with limited scope.

  

A nice looking aircraft, never got the chance to fly on one but I did see several of them at ORY in '74, which I flew into from LHR on a Caravelle, my one flight on that great French design!
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:55 pm

Quoting timz (Reply 18):
Quoting lightsaber (Reply 13):732 initial range: 1,900nm
Boeing graphs show 1200 nm for an unAdv 737-200 with full payload and 120000 lb MTOW.

CP used their early model 737-200s on YYZ-YYC (1456 nm) in 1969, although the aircraft used on that route had a slightly higher optional gross weight.
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:56 pm

Flew into BOD last weekend (where Dassault build the Falcon and Mercure was built) where there is a Caravelle (which fared slightly better than the Mercure), along with Mercure in Air Inter Colours, have to admit it took a couple of seconds to 'clock' the Mercure, then it was 'wow', blast from the past.

It appears to be at a bit of a jaunty angle, not sure if the undercarriage has had issues, or it is a deliberate angle (see link below). Can anyone shed any light on that?

BOD.jpg" target="_blank">http://scanair.no/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Mercure_BOD.jpg
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:01 pm

This article tries to explain Dassault's (or whoever's) reasoning

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1970/1970%20-%201421.html
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:34 pm

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 6):
and when Airbus expropriated the Mercure+CFM idea, it became the A320, and the rest is history

A fascinating story in its own right. The original competition for the new European narrow body type being comprised of four, the BAC1-11 800, Trident 4, Trident 5 and the Mercure based Dassault 200.

The Mercure 200 won and the rest, as CF-CPI notes is history. The A300 and A320 pretty much defined the "look/template" of most subsequent airliners

Graziano Freschi's excellent book "The BAC Three-Eleven" covers this story and is a recommended reading for airliner buffs.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:42 pm

Quoting giblets (Reply 21):
It appears to be at a bit of a jaunty angle, not sure if the undercarriage has had issues, or it is a deliberate angle (see link below). Can anyone shed any light on that?

It could a number of things. My guess is it's either parked on uneven terrain, a landing gear tire is deflated, or the landing gear strut is deflated/underserviced. Of course, it could be a combination of alll three of those things! Just my guess.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:09 pm

Quoting timz (Reply 11):
So why did they give it such a short range? Presumably because it was a bit more efficient on the short trips it could do. They thought there was a market for an aircraft that was just right for a 500-nm trip, and it seems they were wrong about that.
Quoting mercure1 (Reply 15):
Yes it had relative short range (1700km), but remember a typical intra-Europe flight is under 1000km even today. It was light and optimized for such hops

But while that is typical, planes from the same fleet will fly on longer missions. For example, the typical FR flight is short, but they have a few flights that push the range of the 738 at their densities. If the plane lacks the range, there is no 'trying out' new destinations.

For example, A 3000nm range A320 has trouble against winds LGB-JFK or a mere 2,142nm and that is with the much more simplified (vs. Europes) ATC.

Quoting timz (Reply 18):
Boeing graphs show 1200 nm for an unAdv 737-200 with full payload and 120000 lb MTOW (or just under 1000 nm with 116000 lb MTOW).

I shouldn't have put initial on the 737. But by the time the Mercure was being sold, the adv engines were out and it was competing with the higher MTOW variants. Lower MTOWs are a 'paper option' that can be reversed by purchasing the correct paper. It was May 1971, on airframe #135, that the adv became the new standard. It wasn't until 12 February 1974 that the Mercure was certified. So the Mercure was competing with the 1,900 to 2,300 nm range 737-200s or the DC-9-30 (February 1967)/40(March 1968) and effectively for sales with the DC-9-50 (August 1975 EIS). The 737 wasn't selling well with the initial ranges you noted. Why Dassault ignored the fact Boeing had to improve their range to sell beyond very limited quantities... I do not know. And why they ignored the fact that Douglas' customers wanted more range from the DC-9... Ok. Optimized. But optimized for routes that it had to compete with turboprops.

While the DC-9 range wasn't that much more, we're still talking about 500nm more range! Or a almost an hour more...

Quoting timz (Reply 22):
This article tries to explain Dassault's (or whoever's) reasoning

Nice read. Basically, the added cabin comfort required removing weight elsewhere... hence the shortage of fuel tankage.


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cschleic
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:50 pm

IIRC wasn't Air Inter restricted by French law to routes of only a certain length at most, effectively inside France? And since the plane was designed for Air Inter, it effectively was restricted to their routes.

[Edited 2013-08-18 15:50:32]
 
BenSandilands
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:55 pm

Flew on the Air Inter Mercures a few times on domestic routes but much preferred the same airline's Caravelles, despite the ads on the hat racks for Gitanes. Can't remember whether they were smoked on board as at that time the clove scented smell of these cigarettes seemed to pervade much of day to day life in France, at least for working journalists.

I have a clear memory of two eventful flights on Mercures.

The boarding process at Orly involving taking a numbered ticket rather like the ones you get to wait to be served at a deli counter in a supermarket. The ticket was given in exchange for your ticket coupon, but it actually never seemed to serve any function other than to be a ticket to walk through the door. Passengers were held in enclosures and once the only people still getting off were the crippled or elderly, the barrier would drop and the boarding hordes would surge down the gloomy loading pier to grab whatevefr seat took their fancy. One the particular flight in question, going to Bordeaux, I had boarded through the forward door when it became suddenly apparent that those directed through the rear door were booked for Marseille somehow from the adjacent passenger pen. Quite how this had happened was unclear, but it was chaotic in the aisles, and not particularly good humoured either.

On another occasion I had flown to Paris from Australia with a press party and we were going to Toulouse to kick tyres at this quaint somewhat dysfunctinal and clearly doomed Aurbus Industrie outfit. In the front triple on the left facing forward, close to the timber inlaid bulkhead (not sure if was real timber veneer) there was myself beside the window, a green newbie to the aviation press corp in the middle and the late Frank Cranston of The Canberra Times on the aisle.

The takeoff was as usual almost painfully load, way louder than a CFM powered A320 in the same part of the cabin and the newbie almost shouted into his ear saying something like "Gee it's noisy Mr Cranston" to which Frank replied "Sonny at this stage it can make as much noise as it likes."
 
TheCheese
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:01 am

I remember reading somewhere that d'Assault hadn't built much in the way of growth into either the wing or the airframe of the Mercure.

I also recall reading what Flyingturtle said before about the Mercure being intended to fly like a military plane, getting refueled completely after each 'mission', but that might've been me having read his posting that in the past.  
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:22 am

Typical Dassault, beautiful Aircraft, spacious, powerful, responsive and FAST.


It could run rings around any 737 or DC9, maybe it was short on range but I think it
was a superb machine !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:32 am

In the end, it came down to the fact the plane was TOO optimized for one airline (Air Inter), just like the Hawker Siddeley HS. 121 Trident was too tailored to the needs of BEA and the Viclers VC-10 too tailored to the needs of BOAC.

The 737's much greater growth potential was why the airlines far preferred the 737; indeed, it appeared Airbus learned from the mistakes of the Mercure project and designed the A320 Family of airliners to have future growth potential in new versions.
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:57 am

Quoting PROSA (Reply 12):
Speaking of the French domestic network, is there much of it remaining, or did the TGV trains kill it off?

Sure, there is still a pretty large French domestic network. Cities in the South are still pretty far away by TGV, like Bordeaux (4 hours) Nice (5 hours) and Toulouse (6 hours) and they have many domestic flights. And smaller cities might only see a few TGV's a day so they also still have air service. And the TGV network is mainly centered to and from Paris, so if you want to get from Nice in the East to Bordeaux in the West the TGV is hardly an option, so many East-West flights also still exist. Look at the wiki pages for these major French airports and you'll see many domestic destinations by Air France (or their regional subsidiary Hop!) and Easyjet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORY_Airport
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bordeaux_Airport
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyon_Airport
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marseille_Provence_Airport
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toulouse_%E2%80%93_Blagnac_Airport
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:08 am

Quoting PROSA (Reply 12):
Speaking of the French domestic network, is there much of it remaining, or did the TGV trains kill it off?

It depends on what domestic networks your are talking about - ORY, CDG or the non-PAR routes.

From ORY, a few routes are gone nowadays as they almost exlusively catered for point-to-point traffic between cities now served by the TGV (eg. LYS, NTE) . For domestic connections, ORY has been somewhat replaced by LYS. The routes that remain have seen a reduction in competition and capacity and, to some extent, also frequency. There were times when the trunk routes to BOD, TLS, MRS etc. were served by A300s/A330s, these are long gone. SXB nowadays is served by regional jets....There were also a number of competitors on those routes like Air Liberté etc.

The domestic network from CDG appears to be largely unchanged, although CDG has its own TGV station. But there are still flights to places like NTE to allow for connections.

The non-PAR network has been largely unaffected as the TGV routes are focused on the capital and cross-country services in France can be a rather time-consuming adventure.
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:52 am

Quoting shankly (Reply 23):
Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 6):
and when Airbus expropriated the Mercure+CFM idea, it became the A320, and the rest is history

A fascinating story in its own right. The original competition for the new European narrow body type being comprised of four, the BAC1-11 800, Trident 4, Trident 5 and the Mercure based Dassault 200.

The Mercure 200 won and the rest, as CF-CPI notes is history. The A300 and A320 pretty much defined the "look/template" of most subsequent airliners

Is the A320 really a descendent of the Mercure? The A320 was a clean sheet multinational development, and Dassault never became a member of the Airbus consortium.

One of Europe's failings before Airbus was being unable to develop planes to keep production going and build up a range. The DC9 was stretched to create the MD80, whereas the BAC111 died. The 727 was developed into the 757, the Trident died. The 737-300 gave the 737 a new lease of life, the Mercure never got the CFM engine and better range.
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factsonly
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:08 am

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 33):
One of Europe's failings before Airbus was being unable to develop planes to keep production going and build up a range. The DC9 was stretched to create the MD80, whereas the BAC111 died. The 727 was developed into the 757, the Trident died. The 737-300 gave the 737 a new lease of life, the Mercure never got the CFM engine and better range.

However:

- the Fokker F27 became the Fokker 50
- the Fokker F28 became the Fokker 100 & Fokker 70

And yes.....the company went bankrupt.............
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:20 am

Quoting Polot (Reply 1):
Range was probably the biggest issue- it just didn't have enough of it, making it very unattractive for most carriers, especially outside of Europe.

Pretty much the number one reason particularly after the 1973 oil crisis - shame as pretty much all short range airliners were thirsty at this point, but the Mercure has only just been launched and other airliners were already established.

Quoting faro (Reply 7):
Also pionneered certain autoflight features too IIRC...
Quoting faro (Reply 7):

A fascinating aircraft. The cabin width was 6" wider than the 737 and when Airbus expropriated the Mercure+CFM idea, it became the A320, and the rest is history.

Both are very salient points; the Mercure despite its range was an innovative design and many of its innovations found their way into the A320, (despite being a clean sheet the evolution can be seen) and eventually, into other competitor airliners from Boeing and MD.

Whilst it was a commercial failure, I think we should salute and applaud the Mercure for its technical contribution that can be seen in each and every one of the thousands of short to medium airliners working today!
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:28 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 30):
In the end, it came down to the fact the plane was TOO optimized for one airline (Air Inter), just like the Hawker Siddeley HS. 121 Trident was too tailored to the needs of BEA and the Viclers VC-10 too tailored to the needs of BOAC.

Re Trident developed to 'suit' BEA: this MAY be true, but it is widely known that BEA really wanted the 727 -- which was a lot more a/c than the Trident.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:49 pm

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 30):
In the end, it came down to the fact the plane was TOO optimized for one airline (Air Inter), just like the Hawker Siddeley HS. 121 Trident was too tailored to the needs of BEA and the Viclers VC-10 too tailored to the needs of BOAC.

Yes but the HS Trident also flew with CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) and the VC-10 also flew with Air Malawi and East African (Kenya). The Mercure flew only with Air Inter.

The joke about the Mercure was:

Why does she have a short range? To make sure she doesn't leave France.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:11 pm

In the 1970s, there were serious discussions between Dassault and McDonnell Douglas about the two companies working together to build a re engined Mercure powered by CFM 56s, with longer range.

The discussions came to naught, and McDonnell Douglas went on to build the MD-80 on their own.

I was lucky enough to fly the Mercure once, by accident. In the spring of 1989, Air Inter was operating LGW-CDG for AF. I'd made reservations on the flight through AF, assuming I'd be on an AF 737, but found out at check in the flight would be flown by "an Air Inter Airbus". When the inbound aircraft landed at LGW, I thought "that does NOT look like an A320", and only then did I realize I would be flying a Mercure.

To this day, I remember how amazed and fortunate I felt to be able to log a Mercure!
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:24 pm

Quoting American 767 (Reply 37):
Yes but the HS Trident also flew with CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) and the VC-10 also flew with Air Malawi and East African (Kenya). The Mercure flew only with Air Inter.

Was CAAC the biggest customer ? IIRC they flew the T2 and T3.

VC10 (original model 1101) was a specialty a/c intended to operate from more primitive colonial-era airports in Africa and Far East. Had a (for the day) very high lift wing. By the time it entered service, most of the airports had been upgraded, so field performance was not so important. The Super (model 1151) was intended for TATL mainly to YUL, YYZ, JFK, and IAD out of LHR. Had the opportunity to go LHR-YUL once in F (AC pass). Fabulous ! I went back into Y to check the noise levels at the back, and you could certainly hear those Conways.

RAF models were hybrids of original and Super. Last 4 to be retired next month, sadly.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:20 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 39):
Was CAAC the biggest customer ? IIRC they flew the T2 and T3.

CAAC's original Tridents were ex-Pakistan International. Maybe I am wrong but I thought they were the T1 model but I guess they could have been the T2.

I believe CAAC also expressed interest in the Super VC-10 but by that time the production line had already been shut down.

I flew the Super VC-10 once from JFK-LHR in 1977 specifically so I could ride on that beautiful airplane. I still have the pictures that I took of it from the gate area at JFK. It was Golf Lima which flew the last VC-10 flight for British Airways. What a beautifully designed aircraft she was!
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:22 pm

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 33):
Is the A320 really a descendent of the Mercure? The A320 was a clean sheet multinational development, and Dassault never became a member of the Airbus consortium

Yes, the competition that led to the eventual A320 aircraft started with the Mercure 200 and went through a number of guises before the aircraft that we now know as the A320 emerged.

Whilst the A320 may be regarded as clean sheet, the partners drew on the design work done on both the Mercure 200 and another type known as the BAC type 36, both of which were quite advanced in design development and had spawned JET1 and JET2, 150 and 180 seat CFM powered types.

These two types were marketed to the fledgling Airbus and led to the development of the A320.

Even today we see designers return their roots; the Airbus A350 landing gear architecture being templated on that of the VC-10
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:49 pm

It resembles me of a 732 with a A320 tail.....
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:13 pm

As I recall Sabena was close to ordering the Mercure but they too were put off by the aircraft's lack of range issues.
But Air Inter did use them on weekends on IT charters to PMI, IBZ and MAH and probably a few other places in Spain so at least it managed to get that far !!
I don't remember AF being interested in it.
 
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:27 pm

Quoting timz (Reply 18):
Boeing graphs show 1200 nm for an unAdv 737-200 with full payload and 120000 lb MTOW (or just under 1000 nm with 116000 lb MTOW).

We called them "Basics", and ours had 117,000 MTOW with JT8D-9 engines. As noted above, we flew them YYZ-YYC/YEG, with a normal payload, and a reasonable alternate.

However, I also flew an empty Basic from YYZ-TUS for it's "demise" but never was scrapped until much later. That particular aircraft had a 110,000 MTOW, and is more like the earlier version you describe, as YYZ-YQR/YXE was about max range.

Fuel capacity varied, but that was per Customer request, as we flew about 15 different versions of the B737-200!

The B737-200ADV with JT8D-9 -15 or -17 engines were more capable, with MTOWs up to 128,000 lbs, and a fourth tank. Those we flew YUL-YVR and YYZ-YYJ.

I flew on the Mercure several times, CDG-TLS, it was very "Airbuslike", and certainly shows the heritage of current narrow body Airbus aircraft.

While range would likely have been the main factor, if I recall, the Mercure also had a 3 man cockpit ... unlike current and later narrow body aircraft.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:55 pm

Yes Mercure planned with 3-man cockpit as that was the law during design period. Even Air France 737s had 3-man cockpits until 1981.

While the US was able to get rid of 3rd man on 737 in mid 70s, the regulations in France did not ease until later.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:18 pm

I'm actually struck at how the dimensions and superficial similarities it shares with the A320. I had no idea the Airbus model was somewhat of a descendant from the Mercure...
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:22 pm

Quoting lymanm (Reply 46):
I'm actually struck at how the dimensions and superficial similarities it shares with the A320. I had no idea the Airbus model was somewhat of a descendant from the Mercure...

I agree. I learn new and interesting stuff on here every day from you guys. It is amazing the breadth of aviation knowledge that is out there.
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:09 pm

Quoting Mercure1 (Reply 45):
Yes Mercure planned with 3-man cockpit as that was the law during design period. Even Air France 737s had 3-man cockpits until 1981.

Yes, the difference being in that the Mercure HAD to have a 3 man cockpit, regardless of where it flew. It already sold in France, so the 3 man cockpit made no difference. However, in the markets in which it was competing, like the US for example, it would have been at a disadvantage.

With many thousands of hours in the B737, I can't imagine what the 3rd cockpit crewmember at Air France even did! (Or even at UAL during its short time with a 3 man crew).
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RE: Dassault Mercure--Why Did It Fail?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:11 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 40):
CAAC's original Tridents were ex-Pakistan International. Maybe I am wrong but I thought they were the T1 model but I guess they could have been the T2.

The ex-Pak a/c would have been model 1E (extended range) which I believe was also ordered by Iraqi Airways and perhaps one or two others. BEAs were 1C ('domestic') and were basically limited to Europe.

Quoting American 767 (Reply 37):
Yes but the HS Trident also flew with CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) and the VC-10 also flew with Air Malawi and East African (Kenya). The Mercure flew only with Air Inter.

Standard VC10 also operated by BUA (3 or maybe 4). There were a couple of African outfits that leased an aircraft from BOAC from time to time, Nigerian comes to mind.

Shame the VC10 was late to the game, could have sold much better. Also a victim of, IMHO, a disinformation campaign by certain North American manufacturers, shall we say, concerning it's seat mile DOC. That said, absent Concorde, still the most beautiful jetliner ever.
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