When you think of anything that flies, it's not uncommon for certain manufacturers to pop into your mind. Many people think of companies like General Dynamics, McDonnell Douglas or Northrup. One of the most prolific companies involved with this particular industry is Dassault Aviation. This French-based company has been doing business for almost 100 years. In fact, they're not really that far removed from the days of the Wright brothers and the first experiences with manned flight. In addition, this is a company that has plenty of history in its own rite. While aircraft manufactured by this corporation are frequently seen at airports around the world, there are a lot of things that even aviation buffs don't know about this company. If you really want to know more about them, keep reading below to find out for 20 things that you probably don't already know unless you just so happen to be an expert on the company itself.
1. Most people pronounce the name of the company wrong
People pronounce the name just as it's spelled, Dassault, but that's actually incorrect. After all, the name is French, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that it isn't quite pronounced the way it looks. In reality, the emphasis should be placed on the first syllable and the second syllable should be pronounced as if someone were saying the word “so.” Therefore, the “l” and the “t” at the end of the word are completely silent. That doesn’t change the fact that many people around the world continue to pronounce the name of the company as if it rhymes with the word “assault.” Even pilots have been known to mispronounce the name on a regular basis.
2. They’re one of the oldest continually operating aviation companies
There is no doubt that this company has been through a lot of changes since it was first developed. That doesn't change the fact that it's one of the oldest aviation companies that has maintained continuous operation in history. It was founded back in 1929, when people were still learning a great deal about flight and adapting the way they built aircraft accordingly. Most of the companies that were developed around the same time as this one have fallen by the wayside long ago. It's a testament to the quality of products this company turns out that it's still in existence today. When you learn about this particular corporation, you are learning about some extremely important moments in the history of aviation itself.
3. They don’t just have a single focus
It seems like most people are familiar with their business jets, but they are actually involved in a lot more when it comes to aviation than just producing business jets. In fact, they produced a number of notable military aircraft over the years and they're also involved in many other areas of aviation. They have separate departments for each of these areas as well. Therefore, all of the different departments of the company operate somewhat on their own, yet they are all under the umbrella of the main company. This structure is similar in some aspects to the way many companies operate in the United States. In other areas, they operate very differently. More on this will be discussed in greater detail later on.
4. This is one of the most well-known companies in existence
When it comes to companies that are widely recognized in aviation, this one wins the prize, hands down. In fact, this corporation is active in one capacity or another in at least 83 different countries. There are very few aviation companies that can make this claim, as even the largest and most profoundly successful companies don't normally have this type of reach when it comes to getting involved on a global scale. This is something that is exceedingly rare for virtually any company to achieve. It's even more so when you're talking about aviation since this is an extremely specialized niche. Since the company has been around for such a long time, it’s more widely recognized. In addition, they are involved with many specialized areas of aviation that make it easier to recognize the company more readily.
5. They have a tremendous presence in business aviation
While they certainly focus on many different types of Aviation, their most well known for their business Jets. Anyone that has worked around business just for any length of time whatsoever has undoubtedly seen one of the Falcons that is made by this company. In fact, a little over 60% of their business comes from business Jets alone. When you consider everything else that they're involved in, this is a staggering number, to say the least. Perhaps the most impressive thing, however, is that they've been producing business jets for a number of decades. The older aircraft continue to fly and perform as if they were much newer than they really are and you can often see them at airports right alongside their newer brother and. it's rather rare that you see so many aircraft from a single company there still are worthy.
6. They’re also involved in space exploration
As previously mentioned, this is a company that is involved in many different facets of aviation. One of the more interesting sections of this company involve space exploration. It's not at all uncommon to see them focusing on developing different types of equipment designed specifically for the exploration of space. In other instances, they develop ways to further enhance the technology available in one shape or form, focusing on ways to make it more reliable.
7. They have a branch dedicated exclusively to the defense industry
The company is also extremely involved in defense. This doesn't just pertain to military aircraft that they have produced over the years. Instead, it is in regard to an exclusive branch of the company that exists for no other reason than to further defense in the countries in which this company operates. This particular branch of the company works to research different techniques and new technology for the defense industry, often spearheading the production of equipment that is among the most advanced available.
8. The company has a habit of acquiring other companies at a rapid pace
One of the reasons this corporation has been able to stay afloat for so long and do so well is because it's had a habit of acquiring much of its competition over the years. As early as the late 1960s and early 1970s, the company was buying up other aviation companies. Sometimes, they would create a partnership with certain companies only to have those companies completely dissolved within their own corporation at a later date. At other times, they would acquire them outright. Many of the companies involved were French-based aviation corporations, operating out of the same country as Dassault. However, that isn't always the case. It wasn't that long ago that Dassault Aviation acquired a company that had been based and operating out of the United States.
9. They employ state-of-the-art business technology to speed projects along
Another reason for the success of Dassault Aviation is the fact that they're able to capitalize on technology in a way that few other corporations can do. They have always been all about exploring new types of technology and then putting them to use in the most practical manner possible. This is something that they have based their company on since it started. As such, they use business technology that allows each individual component of the corporation to see what the other one is working on in real time so that everyone can come together when working on a new project. It doesn't matter if they're sitting in the same board room or if they're halfway across the globe, everyone has the opportunity to see the same things and get the same information in real time. In addition, everyone is able to contribute without having to participate in a bunch of conference calls or e-mails that go back and forth. It really does speed the projects along, especially when they're in the development stages. Because of that fact, Dassault Aviation has been able to get projects done more quickly and experience more success with them in the initial stages than many other aviation companies. In turn, this has put them ahead of the curve in many respects.
10. Their aircraft are almost instantly identifiable
There's just something about aircraft that are made by Dassault Aviation. Most of the military aircraft have a very unique design that makes them identifiable to anyone in the know almost immediately. They usually incorporate a delta wing, which makes the aircraft look like a flying triangle, or they have a wing design that is very high up on the fuselage, or body of the aircraft. This completely changes the appearance of the aircraft itself and makes it much easier to identify when compared to other jets. As far as the business jets go, anyone that would mistake a Falcon for a Learjet or any other type of business jet is probably someone that either doesn't know anything about aviation in general or hasn't spent much time around business aircraft.
11. Aircraft produced by the company have a history of reliability
As previously mentioned, it's not at all uncommon to see older jets manufactured by Dassault as well as newer ones. These jets, designed for both military and business, have some of the best service records around. They don't tend to have a lot of issues and most of them fly reliably for a number of years without anything out of the ordinary happening. The overwhelming majority of the time, they're in the shop because it's time for their inspection or they're being retrofitted or updated in one respect or another. It's not typically because there is a mechanical problem that needs to be dealt with.
12. It services aircraft in four countries
You might be surprised to know that a company that has such far-reaching range when it comes to its overall presence only services aircraft in four countries. Currently, the very same company that operates in no fewer than 83 countries only provides services in the United States, Brazil, China and Japan. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that it doesn't have any service centers in France, which is where the company was founded, where it's based, and where most of its history is.
13. They’re a parent company of Airbus
Most people think of Airbus as a company based in the United Kingdom, England to be more exact. However, Dassault Aviation is in fact a parent company of Airbus so the two are linked together for business purposes. This happened a number of years ago when Airbus was beginning to struggle financially. Dassault purchased most of their stock with the idea that they would eventually buy the company out in its entirety. Around that time, several aircraft were ordered for commercial air travel, all of which were produced by Airbus. The company then made the decision to purchase a great deal of that stock back from Dassault. However, they didn't purchase all of it so like it or not, there is a small percentage of Airbus that is in fact owned by Dassault Aviation.
14. Much of the company is controlled by the French government
This company is not exactly operated like many of the aviation companies that are based in the United States. In fact, much of it is actually controlled by the French government. Although there are several different sections involved pertaining to the way the company operates on a daily basis, the overwhelming majority of it is controlled by the government in France. The way the company is distributed is more for financial purposes than anything else.
15. It’s headquarters is located in France
It probably hasn't taken a very big leap of faith to realize that the company operates in France. However, this still doesn't narrow things down very far. If you're looking for the location of its headquarters, you need look no further than Paris. It really only makes sense that a company that has this much of an impact on the aviation industry would be headquartered in the most famous city in its home country.
16. It employs thousands of people
At last count, slightly more than 11,000 people were employed by this company around the world. That sounds like a lot of individuals but it's actually a rather small number when you consider how many different places Dassault Aviation operates in. For a company that is active in more than 80 countries, a staff of just over 11,000 is not really all that big. With that being said, the staff is among some of the most highly educated and best trained individuals in the entire industry.
17. The company is publicly traded
This corporation also made history when it became the first company of its type to be publicly traded on the French stock market. Up until that time, this was something that was considered to be unheard of among corporations of this type. Today, not only is Dassault Aviation publicly traded, but its stock has a tendency to consistently go up.
18. They have a rather complicated business structure
It's already been mentioned that the company is operated by the French government at the end of the day. However, Dassault Aviation has an extremely complex business structure. Each individual facet of the company is basically its own entity. For example, the space exploration division operates on its own, as does the avionics division. However, all of these separate entities operate under the umbrella of the larger corporation, Dassault Aviation, which in turn operates under the umbrella of the French government. It's enough to give even a PhD in business a headache. However, it seems to work out quite well for the company, as they've been doing it this way for years and they've been quite successful.
19. The founder of the company was imprisoned in a concentration camp during WWII
The man who founded the company in the 1920s was named Marcel Bloch. During World War II, he was captured and held in a German concentration camp until that camp was liberated by Allied Forces. This did not occur until 1945, so he ended up spending several years there. In addition, the entire aviation industry, both military and civilian, was practically wiped out in France by the time the war was over. This makes it that much more amazing that the company not only survived, but continues to thrive to this day.
20. The company also manufactures radars and other avionics
Most people only think of the manufacturer of aircraft when they think of Dassault Aviation. In reality, this is a company that manufactures several different things. In addition to their aircraft, space exploration equipment and defense equipment, they also manufacture common avionics equipment such as radars and other advanced equipment required for flight. You might say that Dassault Aviation is sort of a one-stop shop when it comes to manufacturing anything related to flight.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker