Bill Kerherve, chief test pilot for Dassault Aviation, and test pilot Philippe Deleume took the Falcon 7X simulation bench on its first virtual flight in December, testing the design’s fly-by-wire controls, according to the company. “I was particularly impressed by the superb handling qualities through the entire envelope,” said Kerherve.
Forty years ago, late in the afternoon of May 4, 1963, the first Falcon business jet–then known as the Mystère 20 and powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney JT12A-8 turbojets–took to the air for the first time at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport in southwest France.
Dassault Falcon Jet broke ground on May 27 for a larger and technically enhanced paint shop at its completion center in Little Rock, Ark., Dassault Aviation’s largest facility outside France. The $8 million, 46,000-sq-ft facility will be used primarily for the new 5,700-nm Falcon 7X.
Dassault’s new Falcon 7X will be the largest business jet produced by the French company, but interior completion cycle time at the manufacturer’s Little Rock, Ark. facility is expected to be as little as three months. It is part of a program initiated about 18 months ago that has already reduced the average interior completion time for all Falcons to four months.
Dassault Aviation late last month revealed more information about its all-new airplane, which was code-named FNX when announced at the Paris Air Show in June. The French manufacturer’s contender in the ultra-long-range business jet market now has an official name–the Falcon 7X. Dassault said the airplane’s four-crew, eight-passenger 5,700-nm IFR range is optimum because it “delivers the major U.S.
Recovering sales of Falcon business jets during the first half of this year significantly bolstered group consolidated orders for Dassault Aviation. The company announced half-year results on September 16, showing orders for 28 Falcons logged between January 1 and June 30–a 75-percent increase on the 16 aircraft sold during the same period last year.
Dassault Aviation has completed assembly of the first Falcon 7X business jet and is aiming to fly it in March. The construction process for the Falcon 7X took just seven months, about half the time it took the company to build the first example of its current flagship, the Falcon 900EX. The manufacturer was aiming to have the aircraft powered up by the end of last month, with a view to conducting a ground run by year-end.
Under a special FAR, Dassault Aviation received a two-year exemption from meeting upgraded flight-data-recorder rules applicable to Falcon 900s and 900EXs operated under Part 135. Dassault claims that it would be a “significant expense” to have to develop and retrofit a new flight-data acquisition unit the company said would be required to enable the resolution of all required FDR parameters.
Over the past decade or so, Dassault Aviation has raised the eyebrows of some business aircraft industry analysts. Why, some asked, didn’t the French airframer follow Bombardier and Gulfstream in the charge to develop an ultra-long-range corporate jet? Why, others wondered, hasn’t Dassault matched the offerings of Cessna and Raytheon in the ever-expanding small and midsize business jet sectors?
Dassault’s upcoming super-midsize business jet, already known to have fly-by-wire flight controls and Rolls-Royce engines, remains an otherwise fluid project at this stage. Charles Edelstenne, chairman of Dassault Aviation, told 850 breakfast guests here yesterday that “other partners will be chosen before the end of next year,” at which time Dassault will reveal more details about the proposed airplane.