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Sat, May 14, 2005

First Flight: Falcon 900DX

The new Falcon 900DX took flight for the first time, Friday, at Dassault Aviation’s facility in Bordeaux, Merignac (France) at 01:45 PM (GMT+2), France. Test pilots Etienne Faurdessus and Philippe Narbey were at the controls. The flight lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes. During the flight, the airplane was taken to an altitude of 41,000 feet and to a maximum speed of 370 knots. Low speed handling qualities down to 130 knots in the clean configuration were checked as well as down to 100 knots with the landing gear lowered.

“All systems performed flawlessly,” explained Faurdessus. “We verified aircraft and navigation systems. The new fuel system was tested with several fuel transfers to check correct pump operation and to make sure the newly designed fuel tanks properly fed the engines. We also validated cabin noise levels.”

“The Falcon 900DX offers tremendous value to our customers,” said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. “New production processes allow us to offer a new airplane with many new features including the award winning EASy flight deck without significantly increasing the price over its predecessor.” Rosanvallon continued, “Other large-cabin business jets will burn nearly 40% more fuel on similar missions compared to the 900DX. This is something all customers are conscious of in a time when crude oil is topping $50 per barrel and jet fuel prices are soaring.”

The Falcon 900DX fills an important niche between the 3,800 nm Falcon 2000EX and 4,500 nm Falcon 900EX. The 4,100 NM range of the new 900DX enables non-stop flights across the globe, matching city pairs like Geneva and Detroit or New York and Athens. Likewise, Caracas and Paris can be as easily connected as Chicago and Rome.
Airport performance has always been a strong attribute for Falcons but the 900DX’s excellent thrust-to-weight ratio will enable customers to easily use smaller airports previously inaccessible to large-cabin aircraft.

With the exception of the structure of the fuel tanks and the forward section, the Falcon 900DX shares the same engines (Honeywell TFE31-60), avionics and other cockpit and cabin equipment as the Falcon 900EX and comes standard with the EASy flight deck. The fuel system was partially redesigned from the 2000EX and 900EX EASy models. This process makes it possible to provide the aircraft with a large number of new features and improvements without significantly increasing its price over its predecessor, the Falcon 900C. Additionally, development cycle time has been reduced by using the front fuselage of the Falcon 2000EX which has a direct effect on the production cost of the 900DX.

More than ten 900DX are in various stages of production. Certification is and first deliveries are planned for late summer 2005. with first deliveries expected the end of this year.

FMI: www.falconjet.com

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