Dassault Aviation reports that progress on its upcoming Falcon 5X and 8X airplanes is on schedule, with first flight of the 5,200-nautical-mile, Mach 0.80 5X expected by the second quarter of 2015, and certification by the end of 2016. The fuselage of the first airplane arrived at Dassault’s main assembly plant in Merignac, France, in June, and its two new 11,450-lb thrust Snecma Silvercrest turbofans, wings, and onboard systems were delivered shortly thereafter.
Wing mating took place in a single operation, thanks to Dassault’s Product Lifecycle Management digital modeling methods. Assembly teams are now installing test equipment in anticipation of initial engine run-up and taxi tests by year-end. Initial ground testing, which covered electrical, fuel system, hydraulics, and digital flight controls were passed successfully, said Olivier Villa, senior vice president of civil aviation for Dassault Aviation, adding that “we are fully on schedule for a second quarter 2015 first flight.” Assembly of the second 5X test vehicle will begin in November.
Meanwhile, Dassault’s 8X—the 5X’s big brother, with a range of 6,450-nm at Mach 0.80—has also completed its wing, engine mating, and initial ground tests. Engine run-up will happen at the end of 2014, with first flight coming in the first quarter of 2015 and certification and first deliveries by mid-2016. The three-engine 8X is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines of 6,722-lb thrust each.
In other news, Dassault Aviation announced a new rapid response maintenance program called Falcon Airborne Support. The 24/7 program is designed to respond to customer aircraft-on-ground (AOG) situations and provide stranded passengers with alternative transportation. Two Falcon 900s are used in the program—one based at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport and the other at Paris’ Le Bourget Airport. Each airplane will be able to dispatch Dassault Go Teams, parts, and tools. The Teterboro airplane will serve North America, Central America, and parts of South America. The Le Bourget airplane will serve Europe, Russia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
“We already use charter and company aircraft to expedite AOG solutions, but with our new service we are taking airborne support to the next level,” said Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation’s chairman and CEO.