FAA Notes Falcon 7X Special Conditions

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The Dassault Falcon 7X will include an arsenal of technological wizardry much of which will be applied through its role as the "first application of a fly-by-wire primary flight control system in an airplane primarily intended for private/corporate use," according to the FAA. And so, the FAA believes that and associated features of the aircraft are beyond the foresight of the FAA's airworthiness standards for transport category aircraft. With technological advances steaming ahead such recognition is not so unusual, but the FAA is trying to keep up and so is offering additional safety standards "necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by existing airworthiness standards."

The action addresses the 7X's side stick controllers, sudden engine stoppage, electronic flight control system and Flight Envelope Protection, which among other things offer normal load factor limiting; pitch, roll and high speed limiting functions; control surface position awareness; low energy awareness; and excessive angle of attack protection. The 7X will be powered by three aft-mounted Pratt & Whitney PW307A high bypass ratio turbofan engines. It will have a maximum takeoff weight of 69,000 pounds, a maximum certified altitude of 51,000 feet and a range of 5,950 nautical miles.

For the whole story, in the FAA's own words, click through. The company announced in February it expected certification of the 7X in April. NetJets Europe has signed up for 24 Falcon 7X aircraft -- worth U.S. $1.1 billion -- with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2008 and running through 2014. At least 150 other copies of the 7X airframe are on order with Dassault.