Captain Gene E. “Ed” Allen

Captain Gene E. “Ed” Allen

1937 – 2001

Captain Gene E. "Ed" Allen was born November 30, 1937, in Eastman, Georgia. He graduated from Eastman High School and Berry College, Rome, Georgia. After graduating from college, he joined the Air Force in 1962 where he performed his first solo in a USAF T-37 trainer out of Del Rio, Texas. He later became a co-pilot on the KC-135 with the 71st Air refueling Squadron at Dow Air Force Base, Maine, and in 1967 became the aircraft commander on the KC-135. He received an honorable discharge as captain in 1968 and continued to serve his country in the United States Air Force Reserves until November 1972. During his military service Ed was awarded the Air Force Longevity Service Award, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship ribbon.

After his discharge from the Air Force, Allen joined Pan American Airways. While flying with Pan Am, he learned of a new venture which Pan Am was initiating with the famed French airplane manufacturer, Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation. This new adventure was called Pan Am Business Jets Division which evolved into Dassault Falcon Jet Corporation, when Pan Am sold its interest to Dassault in 1981. The name "Falcon" would be used to identify the aircraft built in France by Dassault and sold in the western hemisphere by Pan Am. Allen jumped at the opportunity to become part of the Falcon team. He established himself as a leader in the small group of pioneers who took advantage of the new concept of business aviation. The Falcon was designed, namely as small, fast jet airplanes that could be used by corporations and governments throughout the world to provide safe, dependable transportation to airports which were not accessible to the larger air carrier aircraft.

Allen was an outstanding pilot. He excelled as a manager and organizer and was selected to lead the Falcon Flight Operations as Chief Pilot and later Director of Falcons entire aviation department. Because of his leadership, Allen earned the reputation as the finest flight demonstration team in the world. Allen held 15 world speed records in various Falcon models and had flown over 14,000 hours as pilot in command.

Allen was an integral part of the Falcon team that designed and developed the cockpit layout for almost 1,500 Falcons flying throughout the world including the Falcon 10, 20, 50, 50EX, 100, 200, 900, 900EX and 2000 model aircraft. In the 1980s and 1990s, he led Dassault in updating the Falcon cockpit with EFIS, GPWS, enhanced weather radar, TCAS, EGPWS and most prominently, the HeadUp guidance system which he relentlessly pursued through the U.S. certification on the Falcon 200 aircraft, the first business aircraft to be so equipped.

In addition to advances in safety equipment, Allen was dedicated to improving safe aircraft operations into high altitude international airports such as Mexico City, Mexico, and La Paz, Bolivia. As Director of Flight Operations, he oversaw the demonstration and certification of the Falcon 50 and 900 models for operation into and out of those challenging "thin air" airports.

At the time of Allen's death, he was the older of ten international and U.S. speed and time to climb records over a recognized course issued by the Federation Aeronautique International and the National Aeronautic Association.

Ed was first attracted to airplanes and the people who flew and maintained them, as a young man growing up in Georgia. In fact, he was bitten so hard by the aviation bug that he decided to pursue his professional career in the sky; first as a pilot in the United States Air Force, where he commanded the world's most sophisticated tanker aircraft-the venerable Boeing KC-135-and later as a pilot for Pan American World Airways, which at that time was the flag carrier of the U.S. and was widely respected as the world's leading airline.

While at Pan Am, Ed learned of the new aviation venture that Pan Am was initiating with the famed French airplane manufacturer, Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation. This new venture, called Pan Am Business Jets, eventually evolved into Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. when Pan Am sold its interest to Dassault in 1981.

During the 1960s, the men leading these two aviation giants, Juan Trippe and Marcel Dassault, jointly agreed that the worldwide marketplace, particularly in the U.S., was ready for a new brand of aircraft-namely small, fast jet airplanes that could be used by corporations and governments throughout the world to provide safe, dependable transportation to airports that were not accessible to the larger airliners. Together with Charles Lindbergh (whom Ed met several times), they selected the name "Falcon" as the trademark which would be used to identify the aircraft built in France by Dassault and sold in the Western Hemisphere by Pan Am.

When Ed learned of this new opportunity, he jumped at the chance to become part of the Falcon Team. He quickly established himself as a leader in the small group of pioneers who took on the challenge of starting an entirely new business from scratch and selling an entirely new concept to the traveling public-business aviation.

Ed was not only an outstanding pilot but he also excelled as a manager and organizer of people. For that reason, Ed was selected to lead the Falcon flight operation as chief pilot and later as director of Falcon's entire aviation department. In this role, Ed nurtured a team of men and women who, through hard work and dedication, have earned a richly deserved reputation as the finest flight demonstration team in the world. Ed was the holder of 15 world speed records in various Falcon models and had flown more than 14,000 hours as PIC.