Bordeaux-Mérignac, France: Dassault Aviation has received full type certification for its business jet, the Falcon 7X, from both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Patrick Goudou, executive director of the EASA, and John Hickey, director, aircraft certification service for the FAA, signed the type certificate. The Falcon 7X is expected to enter service before the end of June 2007.
The 5950 nm range Falcon 7X is an aircraft of many firsts, being the first airplane ever to be designed and built in an entirely virtual environment using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) processes. Largely due to the utilization of PLM processes, the time required to manufacture and complete the first flight-test ready 7X was much lower, by as much as 50%, compared to previous Falcons.
The 7X is also the first business jet to be flown with Fly-by-Wire (FBW) technology. With over 30 years of FBW experience on military programmes, including the Mirage and Rafale fighters, Dassault created an advanced Digital Flight Control System for the Falcon 7X. The benefits include exceptional response and controls, safety and passenger comfort through the exceptional stability of the airplane.
"Dassault has delivered to the market not only a ground breaking airplane but one that offers superior fuel efficiency, cabin environment and maintenance," said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon. "The response is truly historic and we see the Falcon 7X as the market leader for years to come." According to Dassault, the Falcon 7X is the most fuel-efficient airplane in its class.
Dassault has already received orders for over 160 aircraft, which translates into over four years of production. These orders make the Falcon 7X the most popular launch of a business jet ever in terms of sales.
The Falcon 7X test program accumulated over 1600 flight test hours with over 600 flights performed. Over one-third of the flight hours were dedicated to certification flights. It endured a number of extreme tests around the world:
The test airframe was subjected to static and fatigue testing that was over two times its design life (50,000 simulated flights) from March 2005 to July 2006. The wingtips were bent to an extreme of 8ft and 2in upward and reached 150% of design limit load during ultimate load testing on July 20, 2006 in Toulouse, France.
In April, 2006, Falcon 7X s/n 03 endured five days of cold soak testing in northern Canada. Temperatures reached as low as -33°F (-36°C) as a blizzard blanketed the aircraft with snow Hot weather testing was completed in the Tunisian desert at the end of September, 2006 to validate engine performance and the air conditioning system.
On December 20, 2006, Falcon 7X s/n 04 performed a flight of over 6100nm as part of a function and reliability test. The flight lasted nearly 14 hours.
Components installed on the Falcon 7X are manufactured around the world and come together in Bordeaux-Mérignac for final assembly. The airplanes are then flown to Dassault Falcon's completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas for interior installations and exterior paint.
The Falcon 7X features the award-winning EASy Flight Deck and is powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307A engines. It has a range of 5950 nm (eight passengers, M.80 with NBAA IFR reserves). Standard configuration features seating for 12 but the aircraft was certified to carry up to 19 with a crew of three.