Dassault Aviation Rolls Out Falcon 7X
Originally announced at the 2001 Paris Air Show, the first example of Dassault Aviation's newest trijet, the 7X, was rolled out last week at the company's facility in Bordeaux-Mérignac, France. "Today we have made a huge step forward in the industry," said Charles Edelstenne, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. "Due to the new and unique design and manufacturing process ... we have started a new industrial revolution that will take us through this century." According to Dassault, the first 7X "went together exactly as planned and was assembled in seven months." The company is using a new design and assembly process it calls "concurrent engineering," which involves developing digital models to test, validate and anticipate everything from tooling and assembly to aerodynamics and maintenance. The 7X also will be the first bizjet to feature fly-by-wire technology, replacing all mechanical linkages between controls and control surfaces with wiring, circuits and actuators. John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet, said, "The business jet market has been looking for a large-cabin aircraft for long-range missions that can deliver superior fuel efficiency, speed and maintenance. From the response we've received from our customers, its apparent that the Falcon 7X has filled that need and will continue to do so in the coming years." Almost 50 firm orders from 16 countries have been already placed for the 7X; six aircraft are currently in various stages of production. The first ground tests were completed on Feb. 1; flight-testing is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of this year, last about 18 months and involve at least three aircraft. Certification and first deliveries are expected before the end of 2006.