EBACE Convention News

Dassault adds Falcon options

 - May 17, 2008, 3:49 AM

Dassault Aviation is here at EBACE talking about new equipment options it has in the works or has already completed for its Falcon business jets, and is explaining what it is doing to speed up Falcon 7X completions.

After the 5,950-nm Falcon 7X obtained simultaneous EASA and FAA certifications on April 27 last year, Dassault Aviation delivered the first 7X last June. Now the OEM is addressing additional certification items that improve the big trijet’s performance or add to its capabilities.

Recently, the airplane received certification of a reduced, flap-angle setting, which optimizes the 7X’s performance at airports with elevations above 10,000 feet. The company also plans to certify new brakes, which will help reduce landing distances, and an optional cabin humidity control.

Another 7X improvement will be an enhanced vision system (EVS), which was recently certified on the 2000EX. The system, which employs a CMC Electronics sensor, is also being developed for the 900EX. The company expects certification of the new installations by year-end.

“We delivered the first new EVS-equipped 2000EXs late last year and we are also retrofitting in-service aircraft,” said Olivier Villa, senior vice president for civil aircraft. The delay in getting the EVS certified on the 2000EX was due to test aircraft availability and weather conditions, which were not poor enough at the time of the planned trials, he said. Dassault is also working with Honeywell on a synthetic-vision system (SVS), which it intends eventually to offer on all Falcon models.

Winglets are a hot item at Dassault. The company added winglets to the 7X while it was under development and certification of the wingleted, 4,000-nm 2000LX, a longer range variant of the 3,800-nm 2000EX, is expected shortly. Dassault is also studying winglets for the 4,500-nm Falcon 900EX, with the goal of increasing its range by 200 nm. The 900’s wing is slightly different from the 2000’s wing in that it has slats along its entire span and carries a higher load. “We will go ahead with the 900’s winglets only if they require reasonable wing reinforcement,” Villa said. Design engineers are evaluating the cost of such a modification.

Meanwhile, first delivery of another Falcon 2000EX derivative,  the reduced-range, 3,250-nm Falcon 2000DX, took place in March.

Slow 7X Completions
While completion of Falcon 7X interiors at the company’s Little Rock, Arkansas completion center has been slower than hoped for, Dassault now claims to have the situation under control. Said Villa, “Our customers have chosen very diverse layouts and we were not well prepared for that.” Apparently, the company’s completion specialists had thought completion of the larger 7X–with respect to seating, cabin electronic equipment and other such items–would be more or less a follow-on to Falcon 900 completions. In fact, customers are asking for more.

As of late last year, only six 7Xs were in service. “This year,” he said, “we will hit a production rate of three per month.” So the 7X completion rate needs to
increase as well.

Problems arose because the complexity of nonstandard interiors added weight and this extra weight reduced the aircraft’s maximum range. “We have improved our processes and tapped all our resources,” Villa said.

Dassault’s Wilmington, Delaware facility is in charge of completion for some 2000EXs, which means some relief for the Little Rock completion center. In the future, Jet Aviation in Basel, Switzerland, could complete some 7Xs, in addition to the 2000s and 900s it already works on.