Dassault Aviation's new flagship, the 6,450 nm Falcon 8X, has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), preparing the way for service introduction of the big new trijet.
Receipt of the approval is right in line with the established program schedule. FAA certification is expected in the coming weeks, with entry into service in the early fourth quarter.
"We've broken new ground with the 8X," said Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO. "Not only did we meet customer demand for an aircraft combining increased range and cabin volume with the technological prowess of the popular 7X, but we were able to get it to market fully mature and tested in a remarkably short period of time, and exactly within our production schedule."
In late April, Falcon 8X s/n 03 completed a global proving tour designed to demonstrate aircraft capabilities under different conditions of operation with a particular focus on cabin comfort and connectivity. The 65-flight 55,000 nm campaign took the aircraft to 46 destinations, from North, Central and South America to Europe, the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia. Missions varied in length, from 18 minutes to 14 hours, including ultra-long range flights from Singapore and Sao Paulo to Paris and from New York to Abu Dhabi. The aircraft experienced a full range of flight conditions, from hot weather and extreme cold (-33°C) to extra high and low humidity environments.
A total of 26 test and operational pilots took part in the tests, along with more than 60 engineers, technicians and flight attendants.
"Feedback from the operational trials - cabin comfort, air conditioning, and in particular cabin noise - was excellent and indicate the aircraft is poised for a flawless service entry," said Olivier Villa, Senior Vice President, Dassault Aviation Civil Aircraft. "Moreover, new innovations in aircraft insulation will allow us to further lower cabin noise compared to the Falcon 7X, currently the quietest aircraft in the industry."
The three aircraft used in the flight test program are now being redeployed following the completion of the flight test and certification campaign, which totaled over 830 hours over 400 flights.
S/n 01 will be used to certify Dassault's revolutionary FalconEye Combined Vision System (CVS) on the 8X and to gain approval for its use in Dual Head Up Display configuration. Dassault's FalconEye is the first HUD in the industry to blend synthetic and enhanced vision capabilities, offering unprecedented situational awareness. Its utilization in Dual HUD mode will be another first in business aviation. The two approvals are anticipated in the fourth quarter 2016 and late 2017 respectively.
Meanwhile, production is continuing to ramp up to meet growing demand for the aircraft. Serial number 26 is currently in final assembly at the Dassault's Mérignac production plant near Bordeaux. 12 aircraft are already in cabin outfitting at the company's Little Rock, Arkansas completion facility.
Derived from the popular Falcon 7X, the ultra-long range Falcon 8X was unveiled in May 2014 at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition and first flew on February 6, 2015. The 8X will offer the greatest range and the longest cabin of any Falcon, allowing it to fly passengers comfortably from Beijing to New York, Hong Kongto London or Moscow to Los Angeles nonstop. It will also share the 7X's exceptional operating economy and short-field performance.
In addition to the quietest cabin and the most advanced digital flight control system in business aviation, the new trijet will feature the largest selection of standard cabin configurations of any large business jet.