EBACE Convention News

Dassault Rolls Out Falcon In-flight Maintenance Monitoring

 - May 14, 2012, 3:00 PM
Jérôme Decaix, an avionics technical support engineer with Dassault, explained how FalconBroadcast sends filtered maintenance information to the operator while the Falcon is in the air.

Dassault Aviation (Stand 7090) is here at EBACE promoting “FalconBroadcast,” a new service that will provide operators of Falcon business jets with real-time airborne health monitoring. This includes notification of in-flight events, which may require the attention of maintenance personnel.

The service will be available initially for Falcon 7X operators in June. For Falcon 900s and Falcon 2000s (if they are equipped with the EASy flight deck, which early variants are not) it will be available “later this year,” said the French manufacturer.

“With FalconBroadcast, aircraft maintenance teams can quickly resolve or even avoid aircraft-on-ground situations,” said Jacques Chauvet, Dassault’s senior vice president of Falcon worldwide customer services.

Anticipation is the main benefit for FalconBroadcast, according to Dassault. An overheat event, for instance, can be caused by a valve failure, which the central maintenance computer (CMC) will signal via FalconBroadcast. The maintenance technician on the ground can then have a replacement valve supplied to the aircraft’s next destination and a qualified engineer flown out to install it. Previously, maintenance operations did not begin until a technician downloaded the fault history database from the CMC after landing.

With the new service, the operator receives an email alert with filtered information–just the main facts. For more details, the technician may log on to the Falcon portal, where it will find the event history, timeline and contributing factors. Dassault even suggests possible causes with their precise locations. The entire process–from filtering to suggestions–is automated.

More than 1,000 pieces of equipment for the Falcon 7X are monitored by integrated maintenance so identifying relevant information is important. “This is why, on the ground, we filter and prioritize the information received,” said Jérôme Decaix, avionics technical support engineer.

FalconBroadcast uses Honeywell’s AFIS, which is the bridge between the aircraft’s CMC and the communications systems. By default, it uses VHF, but when outside VHF range it uses satellite communications–via the ACARS system.

Dassault has been developing FalconBroadcast for a few years, and has used the system during a testing phase that lasted about one year and included 13 aircraft: eight Falcon 7Xs (since April 2011), four Falcon 2000 LX (since July 2011) and one Falcon 900 LX (since September 2011). Thanks to this beta test phase, FalconBroadcast’s final version was improved from the initial concept.

FalconBroadcast costs $19,000 for installation in an in-service Falcon and includes nine months of use, after which it costs $9,000 per aircraft per year. For a new Falcon, the option is offered for free, including nine months of use, after which the customer pays $9,000 per aircraft per year.