Dassault has announced the 900LX, the upgraded variant of its Falcon 900EX EASy. The 900LX will be built on the same platform as its predecessor, but will feature winglets and an extended range to 4,800nm. Certification is expected in the first half of 2010 and the jet will be available for deliveries from mid-2010 onwards, when it will replace the Falcon 900EX on the production line.
“The 900LX will make one of the most popular Falcon series much more capable, economical and environmentally responsible to operate,” says John Rosanvallon, president of Dassault Falcon. Initial flight tests indicate the jet's improved wing aerodynamics reduce drag by as much as 7%, boosting its range and efficiency. Climb performance is up 10%, which means the aircraft will reach FL390 in 20 minutes.
Dassault has had to strengthen the wing and make some systems adjustments to accommodate the extra weight of the winglets, which were designed by Aviation Partners (API) for the Falcon 2000EX upgrade programme to the 2000LX last year. There will be a retrofit option for in-service Falcon 900 operators.
Adding the winglets extends the city pair range, meaning the 900LX can fly New York to Moscow; Paris to Beijing and Mumbai to London. The extra mileage brings it almost to the top of its class in terms of range in the in-service super large category, outstripping Embraer’s Lineage 1000 at 4,200nm, Gulfstream’s G450 at 4,350 nm.
The 900LX can now travel as far as Bombardier’s Global 5000 and only the Gulfstream G500 flies further at 5,800nm. The new design also means the 900LX can land with almost full fuel tanks.
The upgrade announcement is not entirely unexpected. This time last year, when the airframer the improvements to the Falcon 2000EX jet, also featuring API’s blended winglets, the company says the partners are developing winglets for the Falcon 900 family, which would probably lead to the launch of a 900LX within a year.
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