Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 8X ultra-long-range business jet is entering the final stages of its flight test and certification program as the company prepares for initial delivery. FAA and EASA approval of the trijet is expected by midyear, with service entry by late summer. Since the first flew on February 6, 2015, the three aircraft in the flight test program have logged more than 650 hours in 325 flights and have nearly completed all certification test requirements.

Production and support activities are meanwhile ramping up too. The 21st Falcon 8X has moved into final assembly at Bordeaux-Merignac, and six aircraft are in completion in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dassault has finished work on a new hangar in Little Rock to handle Falcon 8X completions, and has started on a new six-bay hangar at Bordeaux to provide additional maintenance and repair support for Falcon 7X and 8X jets.

The third Falcon 8X flight test aircraft, s.n. 03, recently completed a global test campaign to demonstrate operational reliability and performance in different conditions. Over 30 days it traveled through Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, Asia and China. The campaign included more than 60 missions representing the extremes of what Falcon 8X customers might expect to face. It paid particular attention to cabin equipment and functionalities, including high-speed communications during long intercontinental trips and flights over remote areas.

“We are delighted and thrilled with the way the Falcon 8X program is proceeding,” says Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. “The flight test campaign has been flawless, and the aircraft will be in initial customers’ hands this summer, just as planned when we launched development three years ago.”