Silvercrest Engine Issues Continue to Plague Dassault 5X Certification

Chairman said Dassault is keeping all options open.

Dassault Falcon 5X
Due to issues with the Dassault Falcon 5X's Silvercrest engines, certification by 2020 will be almost impossible.Dassault

One significant bit of positive news at Dassault’s NBAA press conference was how well the year-old Falcon 8X seems to be settling in with the customers, especially regarding cabin size and range. The 8X recently completed a 6,300-nm leg from Singapore to London. Another was mention of an additional new Falcon being considered down the road.

Once Dassault’s chairman and chief executive officer Eric Trappier announced “new concerns with engine development” that will create yet another certification delay for the new 5X, however, that news became the focus for the remainder of the event. Trappier said the Safran Silvercrest engine designers had notified him just before the NBAA convention of recent performance issues with the high-pressure compressor. Specifics of the problem were not discussed.

When queried about how the performance issues might affect 5X development, Trappier would only say the consequences of the compressor issue were still being analyzed at Dassault, but that a 2020 certification for the airplane would be near impossible to achieve.

Trappier suggested Cedric Goubet, Safran’s vice-president of commercial engines address the topic. Goubet had been sitting in the audience, but walked to the front of the room and explained that recent tests of the new engine on its flying testbed from San Antonio uncovered problems at high altitudes and low speeds with the engine failing to respond in either acceleration or deceleration as the company expected. Goubet said however, Safran is “absolutely committed and confident to deliver the right engine for our customer’s requirement and expectations … and we will get there.”

Trappier was asked whether Dassault had considered another engine to power the 5X in light of this fresh program delay. “It is too early to say. We are trying to fix the problem with Safran.” He added however, that Dassault is also trying to keep all options open at this time.