EBACE Convention News

Dassault launches leggier Falcon 900

 - May 19, 2008, 10:05 AM

Here yesterday Dassault introduced a new version of the Falcon 900 large business jet–the 900LX, which features a 4,800-nm range thanks to the addition of winglets.
With a 300-nm improvement in range, the Falcon 900LX will eventually replace the 900EX. The French-based manufacturer also announced it has received a major order from NetJets Europe–20 Falcon 2000LXs, worth $720 million–thus bringing the fractional ownership operator’s future fleet of 2000LXs to 30.

Fitting 66-inch-high winglets on the Falcon 900LX boosts the range by seven percent thanks to a corresponding reduction in drag. New city pairs, such as New York to Buenos Aires, become available. Climb performance is also improved by 10 percent, according to Dassault, thus enabling the aircraft to reach FL390 in 20 minutes.

The all-composite Aviation Partners winglets, originally created for the Falcon 2000LX, involve more wing reinforcement on the 900LX. This is due to higher wing loading. They also involve changes on some systems, such as stall warning. In addition, longer slats on the 900 series call for modification. The winglets add 380 pounds to the airframe’s weight. Whether the winglets will be available as a retrofit on other 900 series aircraft is still uncertain.

Certification of the 900LX is expected in the first half of 2010. Deliveries should begin in the middle of the same year. The list price is $41 million, an $800,000 increase over the 900EX, senior v-p for civil aircraft Olivier Villa told EBACE Convention News.

Regarding sales, John Rosanvallon, Dassault Falcon Jet’s president and CEO, predicted 2008 may be slightly lower than 2007, which was a record year. However, he indicated that the first quarter of this year was as robust as last year’s. The backlog is close to 500 aircraft.

Rosanvallon also said the company will not start talking about its next product launch, a super midsize business jet so far referred to as the SMS, before it begins taking orders. This could happen by the end of the year.