Dassault Aviation announced today that the first Falcon 7X with an "approved" modification to its pitch trim system has returned to operational status. This follows an intensive effort by Dassault to create a solution that addresses a pitch trim incident experienced by a Falcon 7X on May 25th.
Dassault Aviation has developed a modification kit that, when installed, adds additional layers of protection to the Falcon 7X horizontal stabilizer pitch trim system. After a series of rigorous tests assured Dassault that it met all requirements, the kits went into production and shipped to approved service facilities. In parallel, the modification was being reviewed with aviation authorities.
On Wednesday, June 15th, EASA approved the modification. Yesterday it released a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) which allows the aircraft to resume flights with passengers. The FAA is expected to follow the decision shortly.
Dassault Aviation has been in almost daily contact with Falcon 7X operators providing step by step progress reports on the situation since the company initiated the suspension of flying by EASA and the FAA May 26th. Since that time, every available resource was directed toward finding the cause of the pitch trim event and developing a solution. Dassault's target is to have the whole fleet operational no later than early July.
On Wednesday, May 25, 2011, a Falcon 7X experienced a pitch trim event during descent. The crew successfully recovered the aircraft to a stable flight profile and performed an uneventful landing.
At Dassault's request, the EASA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive to prohibit Falcon 7X Operations on May 26 and the FAA followed on May 27. The request to stop flight operations immediately was the result of a conservative assessment by Dassault.
Dassault's investigation has confirmed that the Falcon 7X control laws operated normally which has allowed development of a safe ferry procedure using Digital Flight Control System in normal mode.
The Falcon 7X fleet is comprised of 112 aircraft which have accumulated over 75,000 flight hours. This is the first event of this nature that's been reported since the aircraft entered service in 2007.
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