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Dassault Falcon 7X/Falcon 8X

Posted on October 11 2021

Dassault Falcon 7X/Falcon 8X user+1@localho… Mon, 10/11/2021 - 21:17

Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 7X and 8X are a pair of three-engine business jets that are produced by the French manufacturer. Although they have different commercial designations, both are based on the company’s Falcon 7X type, with the 8X commercial designation used for airframes that incorporate a number of modifications in comparison to the 7X. The Falcon 7X preceded the 8X and was announced by the company at the 2001 Paris Air Show, with the airframe making its first flight on May 5, 2005, from the Bordeaux-Merignac Airport in France, the location of Dassault manufacturing facilities. Following its flight-test program, the 7X was certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on April 27, 2007, with the first airframe—Serial No. 05—delivered in June 2007.

According to the EASA type certificate data sheet (TCDS) issued for the 7X, airframes that are marketed as the Falcon 8X are distinguished from those which use the Falcon 7X commercial designation by serial number and other changes that were made as part of the 8X program. As is the case with a number of Falcon commercial designations, the TCDS issued by the FAA notes that “[t]he Falcon 8X does not correspond to a model designation. The Falcon 8X is only a commercial designation for a stretch version of the Falcon 7X that incorporates modifications M1000 and M1254 (EASy III) installed at production.” The EASA and FAA TCDS also note that the changes contained in modification M1000 apply to “all Falcon 7X aircraft starting with [Serial No.] 0401.” Representing the first time that Dassault had stretched one of its designs in order to create a derivative airframe, the Falcon 8X program was launched by the company on May 19, 2014, at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, with the airframe promoted as being “in the ultra-long-range category.” The first flight of the Falcon 8X took place on Feb. 6, 2015, a flight that also originated at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport and which lasted 1 hr. and 45 min. The changes to the Falcon 7X type that are marketed as the 8X received EASA and FAA certification in June 2016, with the first 8X subsequently delivered to Greek operator Amjet on Oct. 5, 2016. The type certificate for the Falcon 7X, which also includes the changes that are marketed as the 8X, is held by Dassault Aviation in Paris.

Certification Dates (EASA)

Falcon 7X

April 27, 2007

Falcon 8X

June 2016

Cabin Dimensions, Outfitting and Passenger Capacity

Both airframes based on the Falcon 7X type are certified to a maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers, with airframes marketed as the Falcon 7X accommodating passengers in a cabin that has a length and volume—setting aside the flight deck and baggage area—of 39 ft. 1 in. and 1,552 ft.3 In comparison to the Falcon 900, the length and volume of the 7X’s cabin is increased by 6 ft. and 20%, respectively. Beyond the space that is available in the cabin, the 7X has a baggage volume of 140 ft.3 Another commonality between the 7X and 8X commercial designations is the maximum number of living areas in the cabin—three—with 12-16 passengers able to be accommodated in those living areas. Other aspects of the 7X cabin include 28 “large” windows and lower noise levels (50-52 dB) and a temperature-control system that is promoted for its sophistication. The airframe’s cabin-pressurization system allows the cabin to have the pressure of 3,950 ft. when operating at 41,000 ft., with the Collins Aerospace’s FalconCabin HD+ cabin management system marketed as giving passengers connectivity and entertainment features such as a wireless media server called “Skybox” that is able to store 1 terabyte of music and video. Additionally, the functions of the cabin can be controlled throughout the cabin using Apple devices. Supplementing the standard features of the 7X’s cabin, available options include a shower and a second lavatory.

Although it shares the same 19-passenger capacity as the Falcon 7X, the fuselage of the Falcon 8X is 3 ft. 7 in. longer, giving it the longest cabin of any Falcon. The 8X’s 80 ft. 3 in.-long fuselage yields a cabin that has an increased length of 42 ft. 8 in., as well as an increased total volume of 1,695 ft.3, figures that also exclude the baggage space and flight deck. According to the airframe manufacturer, the cabin—which has a height 6 ft. 2 in. and width of 7 ft. 8 in.—is able to be configured in more than 30 possible layouts. The possible layouts include a “three-lounge cabin” that has a crew-rest area in the forward portion of the cabin and a shower in the aft portion of the cabin, as well as another that features a “large entryway,” galley and a crew-rest area that is described as being lie-flat. Dassault also states that three galley sizes are available, with the largest galley—measuring 93 in.—accommodating a crew berth that is lie-flat and which measures 78 in. Given the cabin’s size, other available options include a six-seat conference seating area located in the mid-cabin, a forward bar/lounge area and a VIP stateroom, with sleeping berths available for as many as six passengers. The stateroom option is located in the aft portion of the cabin and can incorporate a shower and lavatory, with the space able to be “converted into a media room” that features a 32-in. pop-up television. In spite of the cabin space that is occupied by the VIP stateroom, the 8X’s cabin still retains the ability to have three lounge areas.

Another feature of the 8X’s cabin is that it is able to maintain a cabin altitude that is several thousand feet lower than that of many airliners and competing business jets, with a cabin altitude of 3,900 ft. promoted as being possible at 41,000 ft. Supplementing that cabin altitude is the quietness of the cabin, which is promoted as having a speech interference level (SIL) of 49 dB. The cabin environment itself is controlled using the previously mentioned FalconCabin HD+, with “all cabin functions”—including temperature, window shades and lighting—controlled through a “side-ledge control or mobile app.” Connectivity options include 3G and 4G ground networks, as well as KA-, KU- and L-band satellite communications (satcom) capabilities which allow passengers to e-mail, browse the internet and video conference in “real time.” Dassault states that, in particular, the KA-band connectivity option allows for in-flight connectivity to be maintained even during oceanic flights.

Avionics

Regardless of the passenger capacity, two flight crewmembers are required to operate the Falcon 7X type, which was the first business jet to be equipped with fly-by-wire (FBW) flight controls. Dubbed the digital flight control system (DFCS), it is promoted as being directly transferred from the fighter airplanes produced by Dassault and for allowing the “precise handling” of the airframe, with other benefits of the system including “full flight envelope” and overspeed protection, as well as the prevention of stalls. Those benefits of the DFCS allow pilots to achieve the “maximum performance” of the 7X, with the DFCS providing that precise handling by “deploy[ing] the most efficient combination of control surfaces to make the airplane fly the desired path.” Beyond those features, the Dassault also markets the flight-control system as capable of improving the passenger experience by “dampen[ing] turbulence.” The hardware that comprises the DFCS includes “three main flight computers that receive control inputs and direct control movement,” with redundancy provided by three secondary computers.

Further control redundancies are provided are provided by a pitch-trim switch that controls the trimmable horizontal stabilizer, as well as an analog control that “control[s] the two flight spoilers using rudder pedal displacement.” According to Dassault, the flight computers “permit precise flight-path control,” with pilots of both the 7X and 8X controlling the airplane using side-stick controllers that allow them to “follow a single flight path vector (FPV) cue.” Other DFCS functions include “auto-trim adjustments,” configuration optimization and stability augmentation. In addition to allowing for accurate flight-path control, the DFCS’ computers “provide built-in flight-envelope protection [that] allows pilots to extract maximum aircraft performance and efficiency without risk of overstressing the aircraft.” Specifically, the DFCS “monitor[s] pilot flight-control inputs and prevent[s] the aircraft from exceeding angle-of-attack, airspeed/Mach or load limits,” monitoring which is promoted by Dassault as being “invaluable in instances where maximum performance is needed, such as when encountering wind shear or taking collision-avoidance maneuvers.” Overall, the company describes the DFCS as giving operators “an ultra-smooth flying platform” that has “far higher margins of safety” in comparison to “conventional flight controls.”

In addition to the side-stick controls, pilots operate the 7X using Honeywell’s Primus Epic-based Enhanced Avionics System (EASy) II flight deck, a standard that it was upgraded to starting in 2013. Beyond being included on 7X airframes produced since 2013, it can also be installed on airplanes manufactured prior to that year. Promoted as improving the situational awareness of the pilots and crew coordination, the 7X’s EASy II avionics includes four 14.1-in. displays that have features such as automated checklists and a synthetic vision system—the latter being an option that has had its display symbology improved—while also showing pilots environmental, position and situation information. Also shown on those displays are airplane system sensor, communications, flight management and navigation information. Arranged in a “T” configuration, the two outboard displays—which are located directly in front of the two pilots—are designated primary display units (PDU) and show short-term, tactical information that includes “traditional PFD [primary flight display] presentations” that are “permanently” shown alongside configuration and engine information, as well as crew-alerting system (CAS) messages. The pair of inboard displays—the multifunction display units (MDU)—are “stacked vertically” and give pilots strategic information such as from the flight management system (FMS), as well as navigation and systems information. With regard to the information displayed on the MDU, Dassault states that the upper MDU is “typically” used for the “control and display [of] navigational functions,” while the bottom MDU can be utilized for checklists, FMS and systems pages.

The primary means by which pilots control the EASy II is through the use of a pair of cursor-control devices (CCD) that are located on the pedestal and which can utilize the system’s various pop-up and pull-down menus through a trackball controller. Dassault notes that those devices have benefits in comparison to pedestal-mounted keyboards, including the ease of use in turbulent conditions and the increased amount of time that they allow pilots to spend head-up. However, in spite of those benefits, the EASy II does have two multifunction keyboards on the flight deck’s pedestal.

Additional improvements to the EASy II have also been made, such as a single-button takeoff and go-around (TOGA) mode that provides flight director guidance to pilots, as well as updated temperature compensation in the FMS. Communications protocols such as aeronautical telecommunications network (ATN B1), automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) Out and controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) are supported, protocols that are noted as decreasing potential miscommunication between air traffic control and pilots. Furthermore, the EASy II’s automated checklists have an “autosensing feature” that notes when a required action is completed, while also being connected to the airframe’s system displays. Dassault further promotes the system’s graphical flight planning for its intuitiveness, as well as for providing pilots with phase-of-flight specific information.

Options available for the EASy II include an enhanced vision system (EVS) that is described as giving pilots a clear view of the airport environment and terrain while operating at night or in conditions such as fog, haze or snow. The EVS provides that feature to the pilots by showing infrared images on the system’s head-up guidance system and MDU. Also available as an option is the ability of the EASy II to utilize satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS) such as the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (ENGOS) and wide area augmentation system (WAAS)—as well as future SBAS—to perform localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches, a capability that allows the airframe to access a substantial number of additional airports, “particularly in adverse weather conditions.” Additional options include an automatic descent mode (ADM), ADS-C (contract), dual Jeppesen charts and graphical XM Weather that is integrated, with ABS-C and CPDLC specifically noted as being available in Future Air Navigation System (FANS 1/A+) airspaces.

Described by Dassault as “leveraging four decades of path-stable, closed-loop auto-trim controls for military aircraft,” the Falcon 7X and 8X’s in-house-developed DFCS is promoted as providing pilot-workload benefits that improve both efficiency and safety. In comparison to the 7X, the 8X features the upgraded EASy III flight deck that is also based on the Primus Epic integrated avionics system, arranged in a “T” configuration and which has 14.1-in. displays. Also included with that third-generation flight deck—modification M1254, according to the EASA TCDS—are a pair of electronic flight bags (EFB) that are “integrated into the console” and which are marketed as the FalconSphere II. Located to the left and right of the PDU, the FalconSphere II contains documentation such as the airplane’s manuals, dispatch documentation, maintenance procedures and minimum equipment lists, performance data and charts that contain weight and balance information. According to the airframe manufacturer, the new features of the 8X’s EASy III installation include a CPDLC system that is integrated and a Honeywell RDR-4000 IntuVue color weather radar, the latter of which provides pilots with the “vertical definition” of thunderstorms and other hazardous weather to a range of 320 nm from the airplane. Additionally, the RDR-4000’s Doppler turbulence detection has a range of 60 nm, with the system also capable of predicting hail and lightning. The tilt of the radar is managed automatically, “with the radar scanning several tilt angles to generate a [three-dimensional] image of the weather.”

One of the options available for the 8X’s avionics is a combined vision system (CVS) that is marketed as the FalconEye, and which integrates images from both the enhanced and synthetic vision systems. Certified by both EASA and the FAA as an enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) “that provides operational credit” when conducting approaches in poor-visibility conditions, that operational credit allows approaches to be performed to 100 ft. and enhances the airframe’s ability to access airports. Developed in concert with Israeli-manufacturer Elbit Systems, the operational credit to 100 ft. was certified as a result of a 2018 test campaign. Further described as giving pilots a high level of situational awareness during “all phases of flight” and “challenging weather conditions,” Dassault further states that the system is “the first head-up display to blend synthetic, database-driven terrain imaging and real-world thermal and low-light images into a single view.” Specific features of the FalconEye include a head-up display (HUD) that has a 40 (horizontal) X 30-deg. (vertical) field of view, as well as a resolution of 1280 X 1024 pixels. The images provided by the FalconEye come from a multi-sensor camera that is described as having six sensors that “present high-quality images in both the” infrared and visible spectrums, with the images provided by the fourth-generation camera being “combined with three dedicated worldwide synthetic vision databases that map” airport and runway data, obstacles and terrain. In addition to the 8X—on which the FalconEye has been available since “early 2017”—the system, which was introduced at the 2015 National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation (NBAA) Convention & Exhibition, is also certified for the Falcon 900LX, 2000S and 2000LXS, and will be available on the in-development Falcon 6X.

Mission and Performance

When compared to the other current Falcon airframes—with the exception of the in-development Falcon 10X—the 7X and 8X have the two highest range figures in Dassault’s Falcon series. The range of the 7X and 8X exceeds that of the 900LX (4,750 nm), 2000LXS (4,000 nm) and 2000S (3,350 nm), as well as the predicted range of the in-development 6X (5,500 nm). Only the predicted 7,500-nm range of the Falcon 10X exceeds the range capabilities of the 7X and 8X.

When compared to non-Dassault long-range business jets, the 8X is most comparable to Bombardier’s Global 6500 and Gulfstream’s G600, both of which have the same 19-passenger maximum capacity of the 7X and 8X, while having a slightly greater range than the 8X at 6,600 nm. Although all three airframes have the same passenger capacity, the Global 6500 and G600 both have greater cabin lengths—43 ft. 3 in. and 45 ft. 2 in., respectively—with the latter airframe’s cabin also advertised as having a volume of 1,884 ft.3 While comparable airframes like the G500 and Global 5500 also retain the same passenger capacity as the 7X and 8X, G600 and Global 6500, the 7X’s range exceeds what the G500 and Global 5500 are advertised as being capable of.

Comparison: Falcon 7X, Bombardier Global 6500 and Gulfstream G600

Type Designation

Falcon 7X

GVII-G500

BD-700-1A11

Commercial Designation

G500

Global 5500

Maximum Passenger Capacity

19

Maximum Range (nm)

5,950

5,300

5,900

Engines (2x)

Pratt & Whitney Canada

Rolls-Royce

PW307A

PW814GA

BR700-710D5-21

(Pearl 15)

Engine Limit

6,405

15,144

15,125 lb.

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

70,000

79,600

92,500

Maximum Landing Weight (lb.)

62,400

64,350

78,600

Comparison: Falcon 8X, Bombardier Global 6500 and Gulfstream G600

Commercial Designation

Falcon 7X

GVII-G600

BD-700-1A10

Type Designation

Falcon 8X

G600

Global 6500

Maximum Passenger Capacity

19

Maximum Range (nm)

6,450

6,600

Engines (2x)

Pratt & Whitney Canada

Rolls-Royce

PW307D

PW815GA

BR700-710D5-21

(Pearl 15)

Engine Limit

6,725

15,680

15,125 lb.

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

73,000

94,600

99,500

Maximum Landing Weight (lb.)

62,400

76,800

78,600

From a performance perspective, the Falcon 7X type is limited to a maximum operating Mach number (MMO) of 0.90 Mach between 28,000 ft. and 51,000 ft., with that latter altitude also representing the airframe’s maximum operating altitude. Falcon 7X airframes that use that commercial designation are promoted as having a range of 5,950 nm when carrying eight passengers, three crewmembers and NBAA instrument flight rules (IFR) reserves. The takeoff distance (balanced field length) at the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), sea-level altitude and standard conditions is 5,710 ft., while at the airframe’s typical landing weight—which is not specified—the approach speed (VREF) and landing distance are 104-kt. indicated airspeed (KIAS) and 2,070 ft., respectively. In addition to assuming a typical landing weight, the landing distance assumes a flight conducted under FAA Part 91 regulations, at sea-level altitude and while carrying eight passengers and NBAA IFR reserves. Similarly, the approach speed above is based on carrying NBAA IFR reserves—as well as eight passengers and three crew—and while operating at sea-level altitude. Because of that approach speed and landing distance, Dassault promotes the 7X as being able to utilize airports that have “stringent noise requirements” and which may require a steep approach, as well as those at high altitudes and which have hot conditions.

On takeoff, the 8X is promoted as having a takeoff distance—assuming the airframe’s MTOW, standard conditions and sea-level altitude—of 5,880 ft. Although sea-level altitude is not one of the criteria assumed for the 8X’s 107-KIAS approach speed, the other criteria are the same as for the 7X’s approach speed (carrying eight passengers, three crew and NBAA IFR reserves). Also assuming an 8X that is carrying eight passengers, three crewmembers and NBAA IFR reserves—as well as at sea-level altitude—the landing distance is 2,220 ft., a figure that, along with the balanced field length noted above, allows for operations into city-center airports such as London City. In addition to the 7X and 8X—the latter of which was approved to operate at London City in April 2017, according to Dassault—the Falcon 900LX, 2000LXS and 2000S are also certified to conduct operations at the airport. As is the case with the 7X, Dassault markets the 8X’s performance when operating at high-altitudes and in hot conditions, as well as its ability to perform steep approaches and operate at airports that require significant climb gradients.

Variants

Falcon 7X and 8X Specifications

Type Designation

Falcon 7X

Commercial Designation

Falcon 7X

Falcon 8X

Maximum Certified Passenger Capacity

19

Maximum Range (nm)

5,950

6,450

Engine

Pratt & Whitney Canada

PW307A

PW307D

Static Thrust Limits (Takeoff/Max Continuous) (lb.)

6,405

6,725

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

70,000

73,000

Maximum Landing Weight (lb.)

62,400

Usable Fuel (gal./lb.)

4,766/31,940

5,244/35,141

Wingspan

86 ft.

86 ft. 3 in.

Wing Area

761 ft.2

Length

76 ft. 8 in.

80 ft. 3 in.

Height

26 ft.

Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307

Powering the Falcon 7X are three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307A turbofan engines that have takeoff and maximum continuous static thrust limits—based on standard conditions and sea-level altitude—of 6,405 lb., with that former limit able to be maintained for 5 min. The FAA TCDS for both the PW307A and the 8X’s PW307D engines note that they are “twin-spool, axial-flow turbofan propulsion engines” that feature an annular combustor, single-stage fan, axial-centrifugal compressor that has multiple stages and high and low-pressure turbines that have two and three stages, respectively. Dassault states that the PW307A engines provide the 7X with its range and takeoff performance—as well as its quietness—while their time between overhaul (TBO) is 7,200 hr., which the manufacturer states is generally “14 years of operation.”

In comparison to other airplanes in the ultra-long-range segment, the 8X is marketed as being as much as 20% more fuel efficient, with the airframe’s range increased even more thanks to the 2% improvement in the fuel consumed by the PW307D engines, and the thrust increased in by 5% over the 7X’s PW307A engines. Supplementing the ability to “deliver more pounds of thrust for each pound of fuel,” those Pratt & Whitney Canada engines also reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions to “30% below today’s most stringent standards,” with improvements to the engine itself including the fan seal. Although the engines themselves are improved to produce more thrust—as well as to reduce fuel burn and NOx emissions—the three-engine configuration is noted as having benefits with respect to takeoff runway requirements, oceanic routing and approach speed, with the three-engine configuration enabling the previously mentioned approach speed. Based on the same conditions noted above for the PW308A, the 8X’s PW308D has takeoff and maximum continuous static thrust limits of 6,725 lb.  

Falcon 7X

Described as having a “high-transonic design wing” that improves efficiency by 30% in comparison to “the previous generation”—while also providing a “double-digit improvement” in the lift-drag (L/D) ratio when compared to the wings found on prior Falcons—Dassault promotes the 7X’s wing as having operational benefits during cruise flight, as well as approach and landing. The operational benefits of the airfoil found on the first generation of the 7X type allow it to operate at higher Mach speeds at altitude while using less fuel, while also enabling “day-to-day” operations at Mach speeds that are equal or greater than 0.85 Mach. Furthermore, the wing allows the previously discussed approach speeds, speeds that are promoted as being the “slowest [and] safest” of similarly sized airplanes. Additional aerodynamic benefits are derived from the leading and trailing-edge devices—leading-edge slats and trailing-edge Fowler flaps that are double slotted—as well as from the shaping of the fuselage and wing. Also increased on the 7X’s wing in comparison to previous Falcon airfoils is the aspect ratio and sweepback angle—which Dassault promotes as improving the cruise performance efficiency during flight at high speeds—while the “sturdiness” of the wing is increased and the weight reduced thanks to the use of a composite and metal alloy structure is that is “simplified.” 

Falcon 8X

Although both commercial designations based on the Falcon 7X type have a common maximum passenger seating capacity and landing weight, there are a number of distinctions between the 7X and 8X airframes that go beyond the increased static thrust limits of the PW307D engines. Those distinctions include the previously mentioned increased fuselage length of the 8X, a change that Dassault describes as enabling the 8X to carry more than 3,000 lb. of additional fuel, raising the total usable fuel from the 7X’s 4,766-gal. (31,940 lb.) capacity to the 8X’s 5,244-gal. (35,141 lb.) limit. In spite of that increase in fuel capacity and associated weight, design changes to the ribs and wing panels result in the 8X having an empty weight that is “nearly identical to that of the 7X,” while the MTOW is increased by 3,000 lb. in comparison to the first version of the 7X type. Another benefit of the reduced weight of the wing’s internal structure—a reduction that is quantified as being “nearly 600 lb.”—is improved handling in turbulence thanks to the wing itself being more flexible.

Changes were also made to the 8X’s wing in the form of a leading-edge wing profile that is new, as well as winglets that were “reengineered” and which produce less drag, with the combination of those changes contributing to an L/D radio that is further improved. A benefit of the 8X’s certified maximum weights—specifically, the MTOW and maximum landing weights—is that because the latter weight is 85% of the former, the airframe is able to fly a shorter segment in advance of a longer segment “without having to refuel.” Given that the 7X is able to land at nearly 90% of its MTOW, the same benefits are also noted for that airframe. Additionally, Dassault promotes the wing as having improved controllability and efficiency thanks to “more moving control surfaces, including three leading-edge slats, three airbrakes and two flaps.”

Program Status/Operators

The Falcon 7X and 8X are produced alongside the other in-production Dassault business jets at the company’s manufacturing facilities at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport. Although the manufacturing takes place there, the 7X and 8X are flown in a “green” configuration to Dassault’s completion facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the rest of the outfitting takes place. The company’s Little Rock facilities have been expanded multiple times to accommodate work on the 7X and 8X, with the first expansion taking place in 2008 and representing a “116,000-ft.2 upgrade that added four new paint bays”—as well as design, production and warehouse spaces—to be used for 7X airframes. A second that expansion was completed in 2015 that added a 250,000-ft.2 hangar for the 8X and, at the time, the 5X, prior to the latter’s cancellation.

Despite the fact that the flight-test and production airframes are manufactured at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Merignac facilities, the bulk of the Falcon 7X and 8X’s test campaigns originated from the company’s Istres flight-test center near Marseille. The flight-test programs of both versions of the 7X type included three flight-test airplanes, with the functions of each 8X flight-test airframe discussed below.

The first Falcon 8X flight-test airframe—Serial No. 401 and registered as F-WWQA—performed a variety of envelope-expansion tests, “including high-speed performance testing at 0.96 [Mach] (beyond its MMO), the maximum ceiling of 51,000 ft. and [the] full range of angles of attack.” Other tests performed by Serial No. 1 involved testing “different weight configurations, including [the] MTOW,” as well as performing “a high-energy brake test campaign.” In addition to Falcon 8X Serial No. 401, which conducted the first flight, the second flight-test airframe—Serial No. 402, registered as F-WWQB—made its first flight on March 30, 2015, from Bordeaux-Merignac Airport, a flight that lasted 2 hr. 45 min. At the time of its first flight, Dassault noted that this second test airframe would primarily conduct performance testing that would involve “parameters such as fuel consumption and takeoff/landing distance.”

The third Falcon 8X test airframe—Serial No. 403 and registered as F-WWQC—flew for the first time a little over a month after the second flight-test airframe, with its first flight taking place on May 11, 2015. At the time of that flight, Dassault stated that Serial No. 403 would “be ferried to the Falcon completion facility in Little Rock, where it [would] be fitted out with a full cabin and tested for cabin comfort and sound level.” Other tests carried out by Serial No. 403 included cold-soak trials “conducted at Ranken Inlet, Nunavut, on the northwestern shore of Canada’s Hudson Bay.” The testing performed at Ranken Inlet involved the airplane’s systems—such as the avionics, digital flight control, electrical and hydraulic—in temperatures as low as -27F (-33C). Beyond carrying out this type of extreme-weather testing, Serial No. 403 also embarked on what Dassault described as a “global proving tour [that was] designed to demonstrate aircraft capabilities under different conditions of operation[,] with a particular focus on cabin comfort and connectivity.” That tour involved 65 flights which covered 55,000 nm and 46 destinations in regions such as “North, Central, and South America; Europe, the Middle East, China, and Southeast Asia.” Overall, the three flight-test airframes that were used in the Falcon 8X’s flight-test program performed over 400 flights that included 830 hr. of flight testing.

References

  • AWIN Article Archives
  • Bombardier, Dassault and Gulfstream Commercial Materials
  • EASA TCDS (Falcon 7X)
  • FAA TCDS (Falcon 7X, GVII and PW307A/D)
  • Transport Canada TCDS (BD-700-1A10 and -1A11)
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