Third Example Joins Falcon 7X Test Program
Moving away from the VLJ market, Dassault Aviation last week announced the third copy of its to-be-certificated Falcon 7X trijet took off for its maiden flight on Sept. 20. The 01:43 flight -- from a company facility in Bordeaux-Merignac, France, to the Dassault Aviation Flight Test Center in Istres, France -- was crewed by Dominique Chenevier and Etienne Faurdessus. The airplane reached FL410 and flew at speeds up to Mach 0.82. The newest addition to Dassault's 7X flight-test program will be used for avionics, systems, and function and reliability testing. With this initial flight, Dassault said its 7X flight-test program reached 171 hours after a total of 60 flights. Ten pilots have flown the 7X, including one from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The FAA and EASA have allotted approximately 1200 test hours before final certification in late 2006. The 7X's fly-by-wire flight control system is one major focus of Dassault's certification efforts. So far, the program has included landings and takeoffs at maximum aft and maximum forward CG, as well as maximum takeoff weight. Climbs to FL480 and 3-G maneuvers have been performed. Flight tests at minimum maneuvering speeds have been ongoing and several stall tests have been performed, said Dassault. "The low-speed handling quality of the 7X is very promising," said Senior Test Pilot for Dassault Aviation Yves "Bill" Kerherve. "The landing performance of this airplane has met our highest expectations following simulation work." When certificated, the 7X will be the fourth type to join Dassault's family of Falcon trijets, including the Falcon 50EX, 900DX, and 900EX EASy. The company markets the twin-engine Falcon 2000 and Falcon 2000EX EASy. Since the first Falcon 20 flew in 1963, more than 1800 Falcons have been sold worldwide.