Falcon 8X Takes to the Skies

Dassault Aviation successfully completed the first flight of its new flagship model, the ultra-long-range Falcon 8X business jet, which the company recently rolled out of its Mérignac, France-based factory near Bordeaux.

The 1 hour 45 minute flight took the trijet as high as FL 400 and to speeds as great as Mach 0.80. Test pilots Eric Gérard and Hervé Laverne also conducted maneuvers and system tests at 5,000 and 15,000 feet. "We reached each of the performance objectives set for the mission and, in a few cases, surpassed target goals," said Gérard.

With a targeted balanced field length of about 6,000 feet and approach speed as slow as 107 knots at typical landing weight, the 8X is designed to land at airports with steep approaches, such as London City Airport and Lugano, Switzerland. A 6,450 nm range can be expected with eight passengers and three crewmembers on board.

The Falcon 8X will be equipped with an upgraded version of the digital flight control system installed in its stablemate, the 7X, and the flight deck will include an optional combined synthetic/enhanced vision head-up display system. Systems testing and interior installation for serial number 03 is expected to begin this summer at the company's completion facility in Little Rock, Arkansas.

With the first flight now on the books and Serial Number 02 and 03 on track to fly in the next few months, Dassault expects its new flagship to meet its certification target of 2016. "I congratulate the pilots, engineers, technicians and line workers, both at Dassault Aviation and at our numerous industrial partners and subcontractors facilities for their contributions in getting the 8X off to such a great start," said Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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