Captain Gene E. “Ed” Allen was born November 30, 1937, in Eastman, Georgia. He graduated from Eastman High School and Berry College in 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 (USAFR) 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, Ed 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. Ed 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 a small, fast jet airplane 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 aircraft carriers.
Ed 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 Directing Falcon’s entire aviation department. Because of his leadership, Ed earned the reputation as the finest flight demonstration team in the world. He held 15 world speed records in various Falcon models and had flown over 14,000 hours as pilot in command.
Ed 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 Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS), enhanced weather radar, Traffic Collision Warning System (TCAS), Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) and most prominently, the HeadUp guidance system which he relentlessly pursued through U.S. certification on the Falcon 200 aircraft, the first business aircraft to be so equipped.
In addition to advances in safety equipment, Ed was dedicated to improving safe aircraft operations into high altitude international airports such as Mexico City, Mexico, and La Paz, Bolivia. As Director of Falcon 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 his death, he held 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.