April 29, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
His official title may be senior vice-president of research and technology and advanced business, but around Dassault Aviation’s offices Bruno Stoufflet’s more common handle is “futurist.” Dassault, maker of the Falcon line of business jets, is committed to green initiatives, and at a recent press event at the company’s Argenteuil, France, facility Stoufflet explained some ambitious new goals.
In addition to the usual goals of safer, quieter, and more flexible and reliable future Falcons, Stoufflet put special emphasis on noise reduction. He briefly revealed a conceptual design featuring an empennage with large tail surfaces and twin vertical stabilizers. When viewed from the rear, the surfaces formed a large “U” shape that surrounded twin, fuselage-mounted engines. The idea is for the surfaces to mask engine noise for quieter takeoffs and landings. Stuofflet said Dassault’s goal all along was to reduce takeoff noise by 20 dB between 2000 and 2025, and that this new “eco-design” will help reach it.
To reduce fuel consumption, Stoufflet described an initiative that would employ automatic inputs to control surfaces. Sensors would detect disturbances created by turbulence under this scheme, and then create small control movements to alleviate undesirable structural loads. The upshot: a potential 2- to 4-percent reduction in fuel consumption. Another project is exploring the expansion of laminar flow over lifting surfaces, which Stuofflet said amount to an additional 7- to 9-percent cut in fuel consumption.
In the weight department, Stoufflet said that Dassault is looking at using composite materials for future Falcon spar boxes—and an all-composite wing hasn’t been ruled out, either.
Attention to the more efficient use of electrical power is also foreseen. “Today, our average power use is seven times less than the total power supply capacity,” Stoufflet said. “With a more efficient, “electrical Falcon” the ratio between power supply capacity and average power use will drop to two times less that total power capacity,” he said, bringing concomitant weight-reduction benefits.
Drag reduction is also being singled out, with antennas getting special attention. “We need to halve the number of antennas on Falcon jets of the future,” he said. “This means more antennas located within winglets.”
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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