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Dassault Falcon 7X Earns Full EASA and FAA Certification

Dassault Aviation : 29 April, 2007  (Company News)
At a ceremony in Bordeaux-Mérignac, France, Dassault Aviation received full type certification for the Falcon 7X from both the EASA and FAA. Patrick Goudou, Executive Director of the EASA, and John Hickey, Director, Aircraft Certification Service for the FAA, were on hand to sign the type certificate. The Falcon 7X is expected to enter service before the end of June 2007.

'Certification is a new chapter in the life of every airplane,' said Charles Edelstenne, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. 'But when the aircraft has broken new ground and surpassed so many technical barriers it is truly an event to be remembered. When we look back on this event in the future, it will be remembered as a day that brought the design, manufacturing and efficiency of business aircraft to a new level.'

'The cooperation from both the EASA and FAA during the certification process was extraordinary,' said Alain Picard, Director of Certification for Dassault Aviation. 'The Falcon 7X introduces numerous new technologies never before used in business aviation so the challenge of substantiation was a bit more challenging.'

Falcon 7X, Airplane of Many Firsts

The 5950 nm Falcon 7X accomplished many firsts. It is the first airplane ever designed and built in an entirely virtual environment using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) philosophy. PLM sets a higher standard for the design and manufacturing process that brings collaborative teams closer together. Largely due to the utilization of the PLM processes, the time required to manufacture and complete the first flight-test ready 7X was much lower by as much as 50% compared to previous Falcons.

The 7X is also the first business jet to be flown with Fly-by-Wire (FBW) technology. With over 30 years of FBW experience on military programs, including the Mirage and Rafale fighters, Dassault created an advanced Digital Flight Control System for the Falcon 7X. The benefits include exceptional response and controls, safety and passenger comfort through the exceptional stability of the airplane.

'Dassault has delivered to the market not only a ground breaking airplane but one that offers superior fuel efficiency, cabin environment and maintenance,' said John Rosanvallon, President and CEO of Dassault Falcon. 'The response is truly historic and we see the Falcon 7X as the market leader for years to come.' The Falcon 7X is the most fuel efficient airplane in its class and with fuel prices climbing again, very desirable to the market.

Over 160 aircraft have been sold. This represents over four years of production and makes the Falcon 7X the most popular launch of a business jet ever in terms of sales dollar value.

Extreme Testing, Impressive Results

En-route to certification, the Falcon 7X test program accumulated over 1600 flight test hours with over 600 flights performed. Over one-third of the flight hours were dedicated to certification flights. It endured a number of extreme tests around the world:

' The test Airframe was subjected to over two times its design life (50,000 simulated flights) during static and fatigue testing from March 2005 to July 2006. ' The wingtips were bent to an extreme of 8ft and 2in upward and reached 150% of design limit load during ultimate load testing on July 20, 2006 in Toulouse, France. ' In April, 2006, Falcon 7X s/n 03 endured five days of cold soak testing in Northern Canada. Temperatures reached as low as -33F (-36C) as a blizzard blanketed the aircraft with snow • Hot weather testing was completed in the Tunisian desert at the end of September, 2006 to validate engine performance and the air conditioning system. • On July 4, 2006 at Cranfield Airport north of London, s/n 03 successfully completed several series of runs through the water pond installed on the runway. • High-altitude testing was completed on the highest runways located in North America on October 23 and 24, 2006 at nearly 10,000 feet in Leadville and Gunnison, Colorado • On December 20, 2006, Falcon 7X s/n 04 performed a flight of over 6100nm as part of a function and reliability test. The flight lasted nearly 14 hours.

Falcon 7X Manufacturing

Components installed on the Falcon 7X are manufactured around the world and come together in Bordeaux-Mérignac for final assembly. The airplanes are then flown to Dassault Falcon's completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas to for interior installations and exterior paint. There are currently more than 60 aircraft in various stages of production. Seven airplanes are in completion in Little Rock.

Preparation for completions in Little Rock has been well underway for quite some time. The facility has dedicated four hangars (99,000 square feet) solely for 7X completions. In addition, Dassault expects to increase employment at the facility by more than 200 over the coming years to accommodate the high market demand this aircraft enjoys. It is already the world's largest Dassault facility with nearly 1800 employees and 700,000 square feet of work area.

The Falcon 7X features the award-winning EASy Flight Deck and is powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307A engines. It has a range of 5950 nm (eight passengers, M.80 with NBAA IFR reserves) which can comfortably connect 95% of the commonly used business aviation city pairs. Standard configuration features seating for 12 but the aircraft was certified to carry up to 19 with a crew of three.
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