Dassault is preparing to fly two new Falcons–the Falcon 5X twinjet and the Falcon 8X trijet, both large-cabin business aircraft–in the first half of 2015. Five test aircraft are thus expected to grace Dassault’s Istres, France ramp by the end of next year. The 5,200-nm Falcon 5X was announced at the 2013 NBAA show and the 6,450-nm Falcon 8X a few months later at EBACE 2014.
DARPA Falcon Project
The U.S. Army terminated the second test flight of its Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept vehicle soon after launching it on August 25 after detecting a “flight anomaly,” the Pentagon said. The experimental glide vehicle and its three-stage rocket booster exploded and fell back on the Kodiak Launch Complex where it had lifted off, some 25 miles from Kodiak, Alaska.
The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works revealed a hypersonic aircraft design that can take off and land conventionally using turbine-based combined-cycle engine technology. The company said it has been working with rocket propulsion specialists Aerojet for several years on the project, using company funds. Although the design could lead to a Mach 6 unmanned strike aircraft, Lockheed Martin has dubbed it the SR-72, after the company’s SR-71 Blackbird manned strategic reconnaissance aircraft that reached Mach 3 but was retired in 1997.
Having carved out a reputation in the military field for high-performance actuators, auxiliary power units and other power/motion systems, Bental Industries is to take its expertise into the commercial field. This move was sparked by the takeover of Bental by environmental control system specialist TAT Technologies.
Premier Aircraft, a joint venture between West Star Aviation and Yankee Pacific Aerospace, has named Midcoast Aviation as an authorized distributor for 50Dash4 performance upgrades for Falcon 50 business jets. According to Premier, demand for the upgrade is accelerating as performance guarantees have been regularly exceeded in operational use.
Premier Aircraft brought two of its newly certified Dassault Falcon 50 Dash4s to the NBAA static display, the first time the modified Falcon 50 has been shown at an NBAA show.
Premier Aircraft of East Alton, Ill., continues to work with Honeywell on an engine upgrade program for the Falcon 50 expected to be completed in the third quarter of next year, several months later than originally planned.
Since the maiden flight of the Falcon 7X on May 5, the 5,700-nm-range trijet has been flying almost daily from Dassault’s flight- test center in Istres, France. By the middle of last month, the 7X had logged 45 hours during 15 flights and had reached Mach 0.82 and 41,000 feet.