The previous Falcon wing designed initially for the 50 is a first generation "super-critical" design that was remarkably efficient for its day. However, significant advancements in airfoil design have been made over the years and the 7X wing incorporates many of those. Most noticeable is the span, which at 86 feet is about 20 feet longer than the Falcon 900 wing. And at the tips are tall and graceful winglets, something of a surprise on a Falcon since Dassault had maintained for years that a "properly designed wing" doesn't need winglets. But it turns out that a properly designed winglet benefits almost any wing, particularly for an airplane intended to cruise at very high altitudes over very long ranges.
What a well-designed winglet does is manage the flow of the high-pressure air under the wing as it escapes around the wing tip. The winglet makes the air behave as though there was more wing there, and in general more span equals less drag and more lift. Dassault has teamed with Aviation Partners, creator of the blended winglet, and is adding them to the 900 and 2000 to boost performance, particularly range. No doubt Dassault's anti-winglet position had much to do with competition with its archrival, Gulfstream, which has had winglets on its jets for more than 25 years. But this time aerodynamic science won out and all are benefiting from the performance edge that can be mined at the wing tip. And the winglets look great. A wing without them can be an excellent performer, but the winglets sure do add a big element of style, whether it's on a Boeing or a Falcon.
The 7X also has more wing sweep than other Falcons with 34.5 degrees. More sweep helps reduce drag at high-speed cruise, but sweep is also destabilizing and a jet can have undamped Dutch roll. Conventional jets manage this issue with multiple yaw dampers, but DFCS computers automatically manipulate the controls to maintain stability. As with other Falcons, the 7X wing has leading edge slats that help keep airflow attached to the upper wing surface at low airspeeds and high angles of attack. The slats deploy with the trailing edge flaps and also automatically deploy if the airplane approaches a stall.
The 7X wing is also limber, flexing 9 feet at the tip when limit load was applied to the static test article. An important benefit of DFCS is that it provides envelope protection, meaning the computers won't allow the 7X to exceed speed and maneuvering limits. That means no extra structure has to be added to compensate for a bungling pilot who could overstress the airframe. The result is a lighter airframe, which always equals greater efficiency.
The 7X is the first Falcon to have a trailing link main landing gear. Because the wheel axle is located aft of the main gear strut there can be a long travel of the shock absorber, which does wonderful things to the smoothness of your landings. The 7X wheels and tires are also much larger than other Falcons and that also makes for smooth landings. Even on taxi the big tires roll over the expansion joints and centerline lights without the jolts delivered by the rock-hard smaller tires mounted to the vertical landing gear strut of other Falcons.
The sturdy gear and overall strength of the 7X airframe give it a very high maximum landing weight as a ratio of its maximum takeoff weight. The 7X can land at 62,400 pounds, which is 90 percent of its 69,000-pound max takeoff weight. That means you can fly a short hop with full fuel you bought at a lower price, and still depart on a flight of nearly 5,000 nm without adding more fuel.
The cockpit of the 7X looks a lot like the other Falcons because it is dominated by the four huge flat screens of the EASy avionics system. The PFD in front of each pilot displays everything you need to fly the airplane, including all flight path information, flight director guidance, communication and engine and primary system information. The two equally large multifunction displays (MFDs) stacked in the center can be accessed by either pilot and can show every bit of information you can imagine about the flight and the airplane.
The EASy system is controlled primarily by two big trackball curser control devices mounted on the center pedestal. You rest the palm of your hand on the top of the CCD and manipulate the ball with your fingers so it's easy to operate under any flight conditions. Buttons to the sides act as "enter" keys. The EASy system -- a name derived from an internal Dassault acronym for enhanced avionics system -- guides you through each phase of flight with little airplane symbols showing departure, cruise, arrival and approach. Click on the phase of flight and the system has a high degree of anticipation, knowing where you are and filling in information to get you to where you want to go. There are keyboards as in other systems, but very little key punching is required because most data entry can be made by pointing and clicking short menus of appropriate options.