As Dassault Aviation continues its Falcon 6X flight-test campaign, the French airframer is also preparing to support the business jet’s 2022 entry into service (EIS)—preparations that began long before the type’s March 10 first flight.
Key among those preparations is ensuring the reliability of the 6X’s systems and components, according to Jean Kayanakis, senior v-p of Dassault’s worldwide Falcon customer service and service center network. To do that, Kayanakis said, Dassault’s teams and partners are going through intensive equipment testing and screening, including a process the company calls highly accelerated life testing (HALT). Under HALT, components are exposed to extreme conditions such as vibration, temperature, and humidity, or “shake and bake” testing, Kayanakis explained. “If they don’t fail through all of this, they’re a lot less likely to fail in the aircraft.”
Product support staff also are involved in the Falcon 6X test program. The company has assigned seven experienced engineers and technicians to the flight-test aircraft. Their duties vary and include providing line service on the ramp, acquiring and analyzing data, and validating the FalconScan onboard diagnostic system and maintenance documents.
Technicians from Dassault Falcon Service and TAG Maintenance Services (TMS) are also part of that team. Dassault acquired TMS as part of a roll-up of 19 MRO facilities—including Luxaviation’s ExecuJet MRO centers and Ruag maintenance and FBO operations at Geneva and Lugano airports—nearly two years ago.
Additional staff at Dassault’s Falcon Command Center (FCC) in Mérignac, France, are conducting evaluations of raw data from the test aircraft’s FalconScan advanced diagnostic system downloads. Last November, Dassault moved FCC and product support to Mérignac to bring those operations closer to its engineering, production, flight test, and service center there.
Kayanakis noted that in early April the company began running failure simulations with FalconScan on the test bench to simulate as many fault configurations as possible. “FalconScan monitors 100,000 parameters, so you can easily imagine that this system can track a lot of fault scenarios,” he said.
A second 6X flight-test vehicle took to the skies on May 5 and the third—which will be outfitted with a fully finished interior—is expected to join the fleet in the third quarter. The third 6X will test cabin systems and amenities, galley equipment, flight entertainment systems, and options such as Ka-band Internet connectivity.
“We’ve poured everything we’ve learned about reliability and maintainability into the 6X,” Kayanakis said. “But if service-entry problems crop up, you know we’ll do whatever it takes to keep operators flying.”