Dassault Aviation says it has found a fix for the problem that caused one of its Falcon 7X jets to climb uncontrollably a few weeks ago, an event that led to the cautionary grounding of the entire fly-by-wire Falcon 7X fleet.
The company announced last week that the modification needed to prevent similar occurrences has been validated through appropriate testing measures and that, depending upon the length of time needed to receive approval, the first airplanes to receive the modification could be ready to go in just a few days. The Falcon 7X fix adds automated protection to the horizontal stabilizer trim circuitry and involves software and hardware changes.
Dassault has been looking for a solution to the runaway pitch issue ever since May 25, when a Falcon 7X en route to Malaysia ceased its controlled descent at 12,000 feet and began an uncommanded climb. The jet gained an additional 10,000 feet in altitude before the pilots were able to regain control of the airplane, declare an emergency and land the jet safely. The event is the only reported incident of its kind.
Immediately afterward, European and American aviation authorities grounded the 112 jets that comprise the Falcon 7X fleet, under Dassault’s request.
After confirming that the Falcon 7X control laws operated normally during the incident investigation, a safe ferry procedure was developed so the Falcon 7X jets could be transported to appropriate locations to receive the modification.
Dassault first introduced the Falcon 7X in 2007. Since then the fleet has accumulated more than 75,000 hours.