Dassault Aviation plans to shorten considerably the time it takes to outfit the interiors of its new Falcon 7X long-range business jet at the Little Rock completion centre in Arkansas, USA.

Using its virtual design system, introduced for the first time on the Falcon 7X, the time taken to manufacture a complete aircraft will be cut by "at least" 30%, says the company. Dassault can also use the system to greatly shorten interior completion times in the USA, as well as increasing flexibility and customer choice.

"We have to be smart enough to do completions more quickly," says Robert de Rocquigny, vice-president of industrial operations for the Falcon division. "I want to get it down to less than three months." At present, Falcon completions at Little Rock take an average of four months. The virtual design system will also cut the time for developing "exotic" interiors demanded by some customers, he adds.

The new design system also means the Falcon 7X can be launched as a full production aircraft from day one, says de Rocquigny. "We intend to have around 15 aircraft completed to a basic specification by certification and three or four fully finished, including interiors. We'll start delivering aircraft as soon as possible after that."

The sales tally for the $37 million Falcon 7X has now climbed to 40 aircraft. Dassault senior vice-president civil aircraft Olivier Villa says the programme is now at a critical phase: "We're between the end of design and beginning of production of the first aircraft." This is scheduled for completion in October. First flight is planned for the second quarter of 2005.


Source: Flight International