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Logistical worries over maintaining supply chains has been the biggest challenge for Dassault Aviation this year, as it launched and began testing the Falcon 6X Jean Kayanakis, senior vice president, Falcon Customer Service & Service Center Network told Corporate Jet Investor.
Kayanakis said supply chains are hard to manage in the best of times. “If we had one concern a year ago, it had to do with the supply chain. At the outset of the Covid-19 crisis, no one knew what the broader industrial effects would be. Our supply chain stretches across hundreds of suppliers on multiple continents.”
The 6X first flight took place on schedule, whilst Dassault said it has made “a parallel increase” in its spares inventory, “a real success” in the circumstances, according to Kayanakis. “My personal feeling is that our whole industrial base has been tested in this crisis and might emerge stronger.”
The aircraft has begun its test programme without issue, said the French OEM. Currently the company is building and distributing a parts inventory.
“We’re gaining real service experience with each flight. We’re seeing real data from FalconScan [Dassault’s digital aircraft health monitoring system]. We’re building the whole training scheme from ‘full flight simulator’ to maintenance practical training. It’s been rewarding for us to move from the virtual world, where we evaluate maintenance procedures on a virtual mockup, to the real world, where we have our hands on real hardware.”
Durability testing has been ramped up to avoid past experiences in which components have not achieved the longevity Dassault expected —specifically HALT and HASS testing. “We believe we’ll identify any durability issues in the test programme. But the essence of customer service, of course, is that we must be prepared for anything once the airplane is in the hands of customers,” said Kayanakis.
“What really excites us right now is the opportunity at long last to be servicing flying (or soon to be flying) 6X aircraft. What we’re seeing is that the 6X is demonstrating a high level of systems maturity for this stage of the programme. That’s an encouraging start for delivering an airplane mature at entry into service.”