Business jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation says its Falcon 8X is on track for certification and delivery in 2016 after the long-range jet completed its maiden flight.
The Falcon 8X took off from Dassault’s Mérignac plant near Bordeaux on Friday February 6 and was in the air for about an hour and 45 minutes, the company said in a statement.
The aircraft, s/n 01, raised its landing gear at 5,000 feet, before conducting some flight handling manoeuvres and system tests at 15,000ft. The business jet reached Mach 0.8 and an altitude of 40,000ft during the flight, Dassault said.
“Throughout the flight, the Falcon 8X demonstrated excellent handling qualities, the hallmark of all Dassault Aviation aircraft,” one of the test pilots of the flight Eric Gérard said in a statement.
“We reached each of the performance objectives set for the first mission and, in a few cases, surpassed target goals.
“I am confident that the remainder of the flight test program will proceed just as smoothly and feel extremely honoured to fly such a handsome and well-engineered aircraft.”
The Falcon 8X, which was designed to enable non-stop flights such as Sydney-Mumbai, Hong Kong-London or Beijing-Los Angeles, was unveiled to media, operators and industry figures on December 17 at the company’s Bordeaux-Merignac facility.
A total of three Falcon 8X aircraft – including one with a full cabin interior – were expected to be used during the 500-hour flight testing and certification phase, with the second and third frames expected to take to the air “in the coming months”.
Dassault Aviation chief executive Eric Trappier said the Falcon 8X had been well received in the market place and there was every sign indicated it would be a commercial and technical success.
“Today we reached a key milestone in the Falcon 8X program, and are right on target for mid-2016 certification and second half 2016 deliveries,” Trappier said.
“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.”
The aircraft, which was an update of Dassault’s existing Falcon 7X and launched in May 2014 at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition, was expected to undergo final assembly and testing at Dassault’s Charles Lindbergh Hall at Merignac.
The Falcon 8X trijet was powered by an updated version of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307 engine currently on the Falcon 7X.