Second Falcon 7X Joins Flight Test Program

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Dassault Falcon Jet's 7X program last week also passed a major milestone as the second prototype made its first flight from the company's facility at Bordeaux-Merignac, France. Test pilots Philippe Deleume and Jean-Louis Dumas were at the controls for the maiden flight, which lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. Typical for a first flight, the crew cycled landing gear and performed airborne acceleration/deceleration tests. The fly-by-wire system was tested in all its modes, and flight systems were operated in both manual and automatic modes. The airplane, s/n 02, will be used primarily for systems certification; it was ferried to the company's flight-test center in Istres, France. "The second aircraft is responding and flying exactly as the first," said Deleume, Falcon's chief test pilot. To date, Dassault's Falcon 7X test program has logged 27 flights and 65 flight hours. The company says the airplanes' flight envelope has expanded to an Mmo of Mach .90 and Vmo of 370 KIAS. Dassault expects s/n 03 will join the flight-test program as early as September and will be used for long-range and endurance tests as well as interior sound level validation. Meanwhile, airframe s/n 04 is assembled, with systems and equipment installation underway. The company expects final certification by the FAA and the EASA in late 2006.