The prototype (above) is a Falcon 2000DX reconfigured with the 2000S wing
Dassault Aviation's new Falcon 2000S represents a strategy to create a new class of business aircraft.
Initially it will go head to head with the likes of the Bombardier Challenger 300, Gulfstream G250 and Hawker 4000, all of which are of a similar external size.
Of the four competing aircraft, the Falcon 2000S has the longest cabin length, at 8m (26ft), the greatest cabin width (2.5m external/2.34m internal), the largest cabin volume at 29m3 (1,000ft3) and the highest head height from a flat floor (1.88m). Furthermore, it comes with seating for 10 passengers.
All this will deliver essential requirements for passenger comfort, including a large forward galley, a full-sized rear bathroom, an in-flight accessible baggage area, a dedicated cabin attendant rest seat, a galley/cabin dividing door, a passenger wardrobe and an advanced baggage loading system (for all those unfortunate corporate pilots who not only fly, but also have to "hump and dump" the passenger bags).
Flight testing of the Falcon 2000S began in February. The test campaign is scheduled to span 200 test flights and last until mid-2012. First deliveries are set for early 2013.
The Falcon 2000S shares the same external dimensions as the Falcon 2000LX but this will be no Dassault "rebranding" effort because, at its core, the Falcon 2000S is destined to be a new aircraft. Dassault has set out five clear and important design drivers for the jet.
The first, and possibly one of the most critical for the flight-test campaign, is to incorporate the Aviation Partners (API) winglet-equipped wing of the Falcon 2000LX (of lighter construction), but upgrade it with the inboard slat system used on the wing of the Falcon 900LX, which is of exactly the same size, shape and section as the 2000LX's but of a heavier construction to support the 900LX's greater maximum take-off weight.
The combination of the large winglets, a fully slatted wing (now with both inboard and outboard slat pairs) and a lighter construction means that the Falcon 2000S can generate a considerable increase in available lift in its take-off, landing, and cruise configurations.
Dassault intends to take full advantage of this, in terms of required runway distances, reference speeds and overall range, but without sacrificing the Falcon's trademark pilot handling qualities, so evident to me when I evaluated the 2000LX and the 900LX (Flight International, 12-18 May 2009 and 30 November-6 December 2010).
Dassault chose not to take advantage of the lift increase that the winglets give the 2000LX and the 900LX, so that operators upgrading from the 2000EX or 900EX models would not require new take-off/landing performance manuals.
With the 2000S at its MTOW of 18,600kg (41,000lb), the balanced field length (sea level, international standard atmosphere) for take-off is expected to be 1,360m (4,450ft), some 120-150m less than that for the Challenger 300/G250/Hawker 4000 group. However, the 2000S has an MTOW that is 635-900kg heavier than that of those types.
With this MTOW, the 2000S can climb directly to flight level 410 in 19min, mid-cruise reclimb to FL450, and with six passengers, flying at Mach 0.8 with NBAA IFR reserves, achieve a maximum range of 3,350nm (6,200km), 100-250nm further than any of its rivals can achieve in this same configuration.
At a typical end-of-flight landing weight of around 12,700kg, the landing distance required by the 2000S is expected to be just 790m, with a VREF (final approach speed) of just 108kt (200km/h). This will take the 2000S into landing and take-off performance territory that closely matches or even betters that of twin-turbo propeller light commuter aircraft.