NBAA Convention News

Dassault delivery marks a momentous milestone

 - June 11, 2008, 5:54 AM

Last month, Dassault Aviation delivered its 1,500th Falcon, a Falcon 2000. Charles Edelstenne, chairman of Dassault Aviation and Dassault Falcon Jet, presented the Falcon 2000 to Kevin Russell, senior vice president of Executive Jet. The delivery is the 29th Falcon of the more than 100 Falcons ordered for the Executive Jet NetJets fractional aircraft owner program. The 1,500 Falcons include 42 for use in search and rescue with the U.S. Coast Guard.

More than nine million flying hours have been logged worldwide since the first Falcon made its debut in 1963. More than 500 Falcon 20/200s were delivered over a span of 25 years. The Falcon 50 series is following closely on the 20’s heels, with more than 300 delivered since its inception in the late 1970s.

Falcon Jet was planning to provide more details, including an engine selection, for its next new model, now referred to as the Falcon FNX, announced at the Paris Air Show. The company said it’s “conceivable that we will provide more details” before the rescheduled NBAA Convention, December 12 to 14 in New Orleans.

Until then, here’s what is known. Dassault Aviation’s new three-engine Falcon, codenamed FNX, will feature fly-by-wire flight controls and sidestick yokes, the first such application for a purposely built business jet. Dassault, which has used fly-by-wire for years in its fighter jets, said that the technology will “add performance and safety” as well as improve the flying qualities of the new $37 million business jet. “Fly-by-wire adds a level of flight control that can’t be matched by mechanical means,” said the company.

The new jet will also feature a more efficient wing, have a max eight-passenger range of 5,700 nm and a cabin eight feet longer than that of the Falcon 900EX, according to Dassault.

Both Honeywell’s AS905 and P&WC’s PW306 were being considered to power the FNX. In either case, thrust per engine will be more than 9,000 lb. Combined with the more efficient wing, Dassault said the engines will push the FNX to an Mmo of Mach 0.9 and a Vmo of 370 kt. “This means FNX operators will be able to conduct most day-to-day flights at Mach 0.85 and above,” Dassault claimed.

In the cockpit, the FNX will have four 14.1-in. (diagonal) displays providing “everything from flight planning and automated checklists to presenting the aircraft’s precise position, situation and environment,” according to Dassault. First flight of the FNX is scheduled for 2004.

At the end of July, Falcon Jet reported holding refundable deposits ($300,000 each) for more than 20 FNXs. The company didn’t plan to announce additional orders for the new jet until the NBAA Convention.

Falcon Jet said it will exhibit at the rescheduled NBAA Convention, but at press time had not yet decided the level its participation would take. However, a spokesman confirmed the company would have aircraft on static display at Lakefront Airport.