The long range Falcon 7X will soon become the first business jet certified to operate at Daocheng Yading, the world’s highest commercial airport.
The certification campaign at Daocheng, situated in China’s Sichuan province at an altitude of 14,470 ft (4,411 m), was initiated at the request of Chinese customers and is intended to meet demand in Western China for business jets capable of operating at the many small high altitude airports in the region.
The campaign, which began on August 25 and concluded on September 7, enjoyed strong support from the European and Chinese civil aviation authorities EASA and CAAC. Daocheng flight tests started after a series of preliminary flights at Jiuzhai Huang Long Airport near Chengdu (altitude 11,311 ft/3,448 m) with a CAAC pilot at the controls. After an initial landing at Daocheng - the highest ever by a business jet - the 7X performed engines/APU run up followed by a series of takeoffs and landings including some with simulated engine failure. Once finalized the approval will permit the Falcon 7X to operate at altitudes up to 15,000 ft.
“The aircraft handled flawlessly in all conditions of flight and the engines, APUs and pressurizationsystems performed perfectly,” said Philippe Dumas, Dassault Aviation test pilot “This performancehighlights the unparalleled ability of the 7X to operate from difficult short airstrips in the most challengingconditions.”
In addition to setting a new world altitude record for a business jet, the test campaign established a number of other benchmarks for aviation in China. It was the first flight test campaign undertaken over Chinese territory by a foreign registered aircraft, and it will be the first approval to be issued jointly by EASA and CAAC.
The Daocheng certification campaign follows recent 7X demonstration flights at challenging airports such as Saint-Tropez, France, Gstaat in Switzerland and a Mach 0.88 cruise speed record between Teterboro, New Jersey and London City Airport set in May.
“These performance benchmarks highlight the incomparable operating flexibility of the Falcon 7X,” said Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier. “Together with its great range, speed and operating economy, this helps explain the immense popularity of the 7X in the burgeoning Chinese market.”
In recent years, China has emerged as one of the biggest markets for business aviation aircraft and the Falcon line, led by the 7X, has seized a commanding share in this market. Nearly 30 Falcon 7X s are currently flying in the country, making China the second largest market for the long range trijet, after the United States. And with the recently introduced Falcon 5X very large body twin and ultra long range Falcon 8X, the Falcon brand is expected to lead the Chinese market for many years to come.