May 02, 2006 09:38 ET

DASSAULT AVIATION : Dassault Falcon Confirms Range and Performance Increases for the Falcon 7X

Saint-Cloud Cedex 300 -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 2, 2006 -- (Geneva, Switzerland, May 2, 2006) - Dassault has confirmed an increase in range to 5,950 nm as well as an increase in payload with full fuel for the new Falcon 7X. The new range will enable the 7X to fly nonstop between cities such as New York and Riyadh, Paris and Singapore and Los Angeles and Rome.

As previously announced, Dassault was examining a number of options to increase the range of the world's first purpose built fly-by-wire business jet. Those improvements were confirmed recently and will include winglets and additional fuel tanks in the forward section. The thrust for the Pratt and Whitney Canada 307A engines was also increased to 6,400 lbs.

"Our goal from the first day of the Falcon 7X program was to exceed the expectations of our customers and to build an aircraft Dassault would be proud of," said Charles Edelstenne, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. "We've succeeded in both areas. Our customers are getting more airplane than they were promised and the 7X is performing in the best tradition of our visionary founder, Marcel Dassault."

In addition to extended range, the Maximum Take-off Weight (MTOW) has been increased to 69,000 lbs which would still make the Falcon 7X the lightest airplane in its class by at least 22,000 lbs. The payload capacity with full fuel has been increased by more than 1,000 lbs and the Basic Operating Weight (BOW) is 34, 272 lbs.

Cold Soak Trials a Success

Falcon 7X s/n 02 (F-WTDA) recently completed five days of cold soak trials at Iqaluit and Resolute Bay in Northern Canada. Temperatures during the tests reached as low as -33 C during the campaign that ran from April 6 to April 10. All aircraft systems performed as designed.

"Despite the brutal weather conditions that included a blizzard during the third day of testing, the Falcon 7X performed very well," said Bill Kerherve, Senior Chief Test Pilot for Dassault Aviation. "We had no problems in starting or warming the aircraft. All systems and avionics came online very quickly after start-up. Performance of the Pratt and Whitney Canada 307A engines was excellent.

"The aircraft performed high-speed taxi and aborted take-off tests on the gravel and packed ice runway and made several landings in 20+ knot crosswind conditions. The tests also proved aircraft system's functionality under extreme weather conditions including all avionics installed on the EASy flight deck, as well as electrical, hydraulic and fly-by-wire systems.

Flight testing of the Falcon 7X in natural icing conditions has recently begun and will take place throughout Europe.

Static and Fatigue Testing Pushes Past 2 1/2 Lifetimes

Fatigue testing for the Falcon 7X has been performed at CEAT in Toulouse, France. The test article has endured the equivalent of two and a half life spans (2.5 x 20,000 hours) during the twelve months of testing. It is currently being inspected prior to the start of ultimate static load testing scheduled to begin in early summer. The test article will endure extreme loads up to 150% of the limit load.

"So far, the test article has performed as designed during the grueling static and fatigue trials," said Olivier Villa, Senior Vice President of Civil Aircraft at Dassault Aviation. "We're another step closer to certification with ultimate static load testing to begin shortly."

Fuel Superiority Spurs Global Demand

"Global demand is still growing at a healthy clip due in no small part to the superior fuel advantage the Falcon 7X holds over the competition," said John Rosanvallon, President and CEO of Dassault Falcon. "With the price of oil trading as high as $75 per barrel, demand for fuel efficient aircraft will continue to be strong." Compared to some competitors, the Falcon 7X is up to 45% more efficient.

The Falcon 7X flight test program has accumulated 570 flight test hours over 185 flights. The flight test program is expected to last 1,350 hours. Over 80 copies of the world's first purpose built fly by wire business jet have been sold making it the most popular Falcon ever at this point in the program. The next available delivery position is in the middle of 2010. Forty aircraft are in various stages of production with ten in final assembly. Certification flights are scheduled to begin in early summer with final certification expected in early 2007.

U.S.: Ralph Aceti 201 541 4585 - Andrew Ponzoni 201-541-4588 - Dassault Falcon Teterboro Airport, Box 2000 - South Hackensack, NJ 07606

FRANCE: Vadim Feldzer 33 (0)1 47 11 44 13 - Marie-Alexandrine Munoz 33 (0)1 47 11 64 23 - Dassault Aviation 78 Quai Marcel Dassault - 92552 Saint-Cloud Cedex 300

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