Falcon 2000LX, DX nearing finish line

 - September 21, 2007, 6:31 AM

The Dassault Falcon 2000 series is getting a facelift, with increased range for the Falcon 2000LX (which replaces the 2000EX) and slightly less range for the Falcon 2000DX (which supersedes the Falcon 2000). Flight tests are under way and both airplanes are expected to be certified late this year. Deliveries should follow early next year.

The Falcon 2000LX features a 4,000-nm range, an increase of 5 percent from its predecessor. It is undergoing flight tests after the company added Aviation Partners blended winglets. The change involves internal wing reinforcement, senior v-p for civil aircraft Olivier Villa said. “We modified the aircraft’s structure and aerodynamics, so we have to validate the flight envelope,” he told NBAA Convention News. The airplane is undergoing the usual trials including flutter testing.

Customers who had a 2000EX on order have the option of upgrading it, for a fee of $550,000. “We expect almost all customers to change so that deliveries will virtually all be with winglets beginning in mid-2008,” Villa said. Dassault expects a few exceptions, acknowledging that some customers have hangars too small to house the new model’s extra 6.75 feet of wingspan.

Falcon 2000EX customer feedback prompted the range increase. For Paris to New York flights, the 2000EX’s 3,800-nm range is sufficient, in theory. In practice, however, some extreme adverse wind conditions can make this flight impossible. “Also, air traffic control often requests descents to FL250 one hour before arrival,” Villa said. Flying at such low altitudes increases the fuel burn, precipitating the customer request for an increase in the airplane’s range.

Dassault designers determined that adding 5 percent to the 2000EX’s baseline range would be enough to allow operators to complete the mission in all cases. Adding the winglets increases the aspect ratio, reducing the fuel burn (see box on next page).

No Winglets for 2000DX
The Falcon 2000DX is basically a 2000EX with a reduced range–in other words, with a smaller fuel tank capacity. The only physical difference between it and the 2000EX is the fuel system. So the flight tests will be short, only a few dozen hours, Dassault estimates. “We will just check that the modified fuel system works in the entire flight envelope,” Villa said. The certification target date has slipped slightly to the right–from this month to “late this year.”

The aircraft is designed for U.S. transcontinental operations, for which the 3,250-nm range is thought to be sufficient. “We are not planning winglets for this model,” Villa said.

On the 2000DX, Dassault is replacing the 2000’s GE-Honeywell CFE738 engine, which delivered 5,800 pounds of thrust, with a 7,000-pound-thrust Pratt
& Whitney Canada PW308C (which also powers the 2000EX). According to Dassault, this gives “optimal performance and impressive climb capabilities” and increases the range by 250 nm.

Replacing the CFE738 will certainly translate into better standardized production at Dassault’s Bordeaux factory. Operators will benefit from the reduced spare parts inventory in mixed fleets. The Falcon 2000 was the only application General Electric and Honeywell ever found for their joint effort.

The 2000DX has the same EASy cockpit as the Falcon 2000EX and LX,
an enhancement of the 2000’s cockpit. The only (slight) difference in the man-machine interface is due to the smaller fuel tank arrangement. The EASy cockpit is based on Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics suite.

Dassault is at NBAA’07 in Booth No. 1357.