Dassault Aviation confirmed at its annual results briefing in Paris last month that it will launch a super-midsize Falcon, probably next year.
Dassault Falcon 7X
At today’s annual financial analyst meeting, Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne announced record results for the second consecutive year for Falcons. Last year the company recorded firm sales for 158 jets, including an order from NetJets Europe for 24 Falcon 7X trijets. “Driven by growth outside North America, the worldwide market for business jets remained impressive in 2006,” said Edelstenne.
Changes to the Dassault Falcon 7X, now in flight test, could increase its range to as much as 6,000 nm at Mach 0.80, Dassault Aviation said today. The current guaranteed range of the 7X is 5,700 nm, but Dassault is currently evaluating several range-boosting enhancements, including Dassault-designed winglets.
While all eyes were on the Falcon 7X last month for its public unveiling, Dassault’s new Falcon 900DX was quietly making its way down the assembly line in Mérignac, France. The $31.95 million trijet, launched last May at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, replaces the Falcon 900C. First flight is scheduled for June, with certification and deliveries expected by year-end.
With the Falcon 7X, French-based manufacturer Dassault has cut in half the time it takes it to build the first example of a new top-end business jet. The company is using digital design and construction tools to streamline the assembly process. At the same time, lower development and production costs have a favorable effect on the price of the 5,700-nm trijet, Dassault claims.
Dassault last month spectacularly bridged the gap between virtual reality and reality when it unveiled the first assembled Falcon 7X business jet at its Bordeaux Mérignac factory in southwest France. The February 15 event highlighted the fully digital design and manufacturing processes (see page 50) of the 5,700-nm-range trijet.
The general aviation industry continued a strong recovery through third-quarter deliveries and billings, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. New aircraft billings were up 19.7 percent, to $8.1 billion, in the first nine months of this year, while total deliveries of new GA airplanes increased 7.7 percent, to 1,928.
Pratt & Whitney Canada is striving to keep fuel burn on target for its PW307A engine, which will power the Dassault Falcon 7X. Based on results from the first series of engine flight tests, the Longueuil, Quebec-based manufacturer is confident it will avoid the fuel-consumption problem it had on the PW308C for the Falcon 2000EX.
Dassault reports that its engineers in France have completed bench testing and software loads of the fly-by-wire flight control system in the Falcon 7X. First flight of the airplane, the first purpose-built business jet with fly-by-wire controls, is expected by the end of March, according to Dassault, which plans to fly the real thing to the Paris Air Show in June.
Dassault Aviation has filed a lawsuit seeking $60 million from Honeywell International over delivery delays of the EASy flight deck, Dassault and Honeywell officials confirmed here at NBAA. The suit contends that Honeywell misled Dassault by claiming that the EASy integrated avionics system, which is based on the Honeywell Primus Epic platform, was ready when in fact it needed more time for development.