After two years of development work, Aviation Partners has achieved European and U.S. approval for “high-Mach” blended winglets on Dassault’s Falcon 2000 family of jets. The Seattle, Washington-based company is here at EBACE (Booth No. 1655) with a freshly minted FAA and EASA supplemental type certificate for the latest modification (FAA STC ST01987SE, obtained on April 16).
Aviation Partners announced the development program at the EBACE show in 2007 and at the event last year displayed a Falcon 2000EX with the winglets installed. Also at EBACE 08, Dassault Falcon announced the Falcon 2000LX, which is the 2000EX EASy with blended winglets installed during production. Aviation Partners and Dassault Falcon collaborated in the development and flight testing of the winglets for the Falcon 2000.
According to Aviation Partners, the new Falcon winglets are a new design, optimized for cruise speeds of Mach 0.80 and higher. The 66-inch-tall winglets add 6.75 feet to the wingspan of the Falcon 2000 and 275 pounds to its empty weight. Max takeoff weight remains the same, while range increases 5 percent at Mach 0.80.
“Anytime you can improve the productivity and performance of an existing asset while making it more eco-friendly is a wise investment,” said Joe Clark, Aviation Partners founder and CEO. He said that the improvement in the Falcon 2000’s fuel burn is the most significant benefit in terms of efficiency derived from the modification.
Aviation Partners expects to land about 75 to 80 percent of the aftermarket for upgraded Falcon 2000s. It already has almost 20 orders for the modification, which is essentially the same change as that which is made to transform a 2000EX into the new LX model.
According to Dassault, the 2000LX will replace the 2000EX starting with 2010 deliveries. Customers already holding 2000EX orders scheduled for delivery in 2009 can choose the winglets as an option, for about $600,000. Aviation Partners will also retrofit older Falcon 2000s (more than 400 aircraft) back to Serial No. 1. The cost will also be about $600,000 and installation time is estimated to be about 15 days, once the company has gained experience doing the modification, Clark said. Aviation Partners is accepting orders for Falcon 2000 and 2000EX retrofits at EBACE.
Aviation Partners now plans to certify the same high-Mach winglets for the Falcon 900 series, and following that will turn to the Falcon 50. The 900 modification should deliver equivalent performance to the new 900LX model. The 2000 and 900 aircraft have essentially the same wing.
“With a combined in-service fleet of around 1,200 airframes, the Falcon high-Mach blended winglets should be our most successful business jet program to date,” said Gary Dunn, Aviation Partners vice president of sales. The company claims “a substantial backlog of orders” and said it plans to announce soon details of its network of installation centers.
Clark said that his company is now in talks with a major airframer with a view to devising another set of winglets. He maintained that today’s difficult economic conditions are making owners more inclined to modify aircraft than to replace them with new models.