Dassault Aviation is relieved that its flagship fly-by-wire Falcon 7X business jet will be cleared to display with no restrictions at Le Bourget, because it has just overcome a technical setback that the company hopes has successfully been consigned to history.
The 112-strong Falcon 7X fleet, which had been grounded since 26 May awaiting rectification of a technical fault, was re-cleared on for passenger operations by the European Aviation Safety Agency on 15 June.
Dassault said that the first 7X with an EASA-approved modification to its pitch trim system has "returned to operational status". The manufacturer added: "This follows an intensive effort by Dassault to create a solution that addresses a pitch trim incident experienced by a Falcon 7X on 25 May." It expects the whole fleet to be modified and airborne again by "early July".
The airframer explained that the modification "adds additional layers of protection" to the Falcon 7X horizontal stabiliser pitch trim control system. After a series of tests had satisfied Dassault that the modification met requirements, the equipment went into immediate production and was shipped to approved service facilities. Then there was a brief delay in re-clearing the 7X because EASA and the US Federal Aviation Administration had to complete their review of the fix.
On 16 June EASA released a new airworthiness directivethat allows the aircraft to resume flights with passengers.
The manufacturer said it has been "in almost daily contact" with Falcon 7X operators, providing "step-by-step progress reports" ever since the company's advice to EASA and the FAA led to the emergency airworthiness directive on 26 May suspending passenger operations. This resulted from a 25 May incident in which a Falcon 7X experienced a pitch trim malfunction during descent. The crew successfully recovered the aircraft to a stable flight profile and landed safely.