Dassault says derivatives of its proposed high-speed (Mach 0.9) FNX business jet will not enter service until 2009, allowing it to concentrate on developing the first FNX family member. The 10,500km (5,700nm)-range fly-by-wire tri-jet is due to fly in 2004, leading to first deliveries in mid-2006.

Dassault Falcon Jet president John Rosanvallon says: "[The 2009 in-service date] is a little behind the horizon normally expected by operators [but plans are in hand to prepare for an FNX family extension] and we have already started to look at what could be a twin engined FNX derivative."

Rosanvallon says the family of aircraft will be based on the new FNX high-speed wing, with 5° higher sweep and 1.86m (11.4ft) longer span than the Falcon 900 wing, as well as offering lower weight and construction costs over the current designs. Rosanvallon adds: "The current Falcon wing will probably go for another 10 years and so we are starting a new family around a new wing."

Powerplant selection is still essentially between Honeywell's new FX5 and Pratt & Whitney Canada's growth PW306 turbofan. Three engines will provide a combined thrust of 18,000lb (80kN).

A decision is expected at September's National Business Aviation Association convention, when more FNX details are expected to be revealed.

Rosanvallon says that the European Union's rejection of the GE-Honeywell merger has added to the delay in engine choice.

Source: Flight International