EASA, FAA approve 2000LX with winglets

 - May 26, 2009, 1:32 PM

Dassault received EASA certification for its Falcon 2000LX on April 23, followed by FAA certification seven days later. Initially slated for certification more than one year ago, the 2000LX is a winglet-equipped version of the 2000EX. According to the French manufacturer, the winglets cut drag by 5 percent and boost range at Mach 0.80 to 4,000 nm from 3,800 nm. The first customer 2000LX was delivered early last month.

Dassault now claims the 2000LX is “the most fuel-efficient airplane in the large-cabin class.” The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308C-powered twinjet can fly nonstop from New York to Moscow; Paris to Mumbai; Dubai to London; and Hong Kong to Brisbane. It also offers a 10- to 15-percent climb-rate improvement over the Falcon 2000EX, allowing it to reach 41,000 feet in 18 minutes.

The 2000LX program is a joint effort by Dassault and Seattle-based Aviation Partners. Dassault is responsible for new production aircraft, while Aviation Partners, which owns the supplemental type certificate (STC), has the retrofit market for Falcon 2000s already in service. Aviation Partners developed this high-Mach blended winglet specifically for the Falcon 2000’s wing. Modifications for the wing to accommodate the increased loads include the addition of reinforcing straps on the upper and lower wing panels and on the servo actuator door. As a result, the wing span is six feet nine inches greater than that of the 2000EX, and adds only “minimal” weight, Dassault said. The winglets are 66 inches tall.

Adding winglets increases the wing’s aspect ratio but imposes less stress on the wing structure than a simple span increase would. Increasing the aspect ratio cuts induced drag, thus reducing fuel burn. Instead of adopting winglets, Dassault could have increased the range of the 2000 by adding more fuel, but this would have raised the mtow, which the OEM sought to avoid.

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, adverse wind conditions and ATC can hobble this capability. ATC often requests descents to FL250 one hour before arrival, and flying at such low altitudes increases fuel burn. Dassault engineers determined that boosting the 2000EX’s 3,800- nm range by 5 percent at Mach 0.80 would be enough to guarantee the mission in all cases, thus strengthening the case for winglet development.

Certification–initially planned for late 2007–was delayed several times, most recently by an issue with the leading-edge slats. After a test that exceeded normal operations but was still within the flight envelope, these high-lift devices suffered some deformation. Dassault told AIN that although it had no effect on flight qualities, such unsightly deformation on a customer aircraft would involve costly and unacceptable repairs. The airframer’s engineers therefore devised a different motion for the slats. Customers who were to receive their aircraft beginning in mid-2008 have been offered 2000EXs with additional wing stiffeners, simplifying the winglet installation process.