Farnborough Air Show

Falcon 900LX is certified

 - July 18, 2010, 12:04 AM

Dassault has just received U.S. and European certification for the Falcon 900LX large-cabin business jet, a leggier version of the 900EX. Thanks to its blended winglets, developed by Aviation Partners Inc., the Falcon 900LX features a 4,750-nm range. New city pairs for the trijet now include New York to Moscow and Mumbai to London.

The flight-test program began in October last year, involving two aircraft that flew a total 215 hours. Flight testing will continue for more advanced operations, such as Cat III low-visibility approaches, which are planned to be approved in 2011.

The new aircraft burns 35- to 40 percent less fuel on a given distance than other aircraft in its class, Dassault claims. At maximum takeoff weight, it climbs to FL390 in 20 minutes. Three 5,000-pound-thrust Honeywell TFE731-60 engines power the Falcon 900LX.

During the development process, Dassault had to review some of its objectives. The range increase is slightly less than hoped–4,750 nm at long-range cruise speed with six passengers. Dassault previously advertised 4,800 nm at long-range cruise speed with eight passengers.

The passenger load difference “better reflects equipment weight realities,” a Dassault official said in May. The manufacturer is still satisfied with having a range 250 nm better than that of the 900EX.

Early Falcon 900LXs will be delivered with today’s EASy flight deck. Dassault had hoped to provide EASy II as standard equipment from the beginning of the production run. The 900LX will eventually be available with EASy II some time next year, as the EASy II development program certification has been delayed.

Meanwhile, Dassault expects to receive approval soon for the Falcon 2000LX to operate from London City Airport. Last spring, the aircraft’s autobrake system was certified, cutting the landing distance by an approximate 150 feet. The Falcon 2000LX had been earlier certified for steep approaches–up to 5.5 degrees. The final series of flight tests for the approval took place at London City in May.

The autobrake system is easy for the pilot to operate. During the approach, the crew activates it with an additional button close to the landing gear controls. Braking starts as soon as the main landing gear touches down–one to one-and-a-half seconds sooner than the usual procedure. Such systems have long been used on airliners.