Aero India 2013 will air-show the Dassault Rafale, with Cedric Ruet at the controls. Contrary to my previous post, the Rafale is being displayed, thanks to a confirmation from Cedric himself! Enjoy, and I hope you all get to meet him at the airshow! Here are photos of him and his beauty (beast?) in action at Aero India 2011 (2 years have passed!)
Balancing aesthetics and performance is an art; an art that very few can master. When it comes to airplanes, whom better to turn to, than the only manufacturer of business and fighter jets?
Dassault’s latest offering, the fly-by-wire Falcon 7X trijet, couldn’t have performed any better. The cabin is plush, but the flight deck is a lot more attractive. With the EASy flightdeck, the all-Honeywell cockpit is reduced to four large LCD screens, which integrates many functions, just two of which eliminate the need for a paper checklist and paper charts. The cursor control unit allows for navigation between screens, and extensive drop down menus and check boxes make life simpler: provided you master the use of a cursor in the cockpit, which hardly takes any time.
We were pushed back and allowed to start engines only at taxiway “A”. Engine start is unnoticeable: no callouts, no checks: the FADEC does it all in a seamless manner. The engines cannot even be heard: the cabin and the engines are that quiet, and the flight deck too far in front to be heard. Advancing power for taxi gave the first taste of the airplane’s power: the bump ahead was noticeable. We back-tracked runway 09, lined up runway 09, and that was when the story really began.
The light aircraft was heavily accelerated by three Pratt & Whitney PW307A turbofans, each capable of producing 2,846kgs of thrust. We were below the maximum landing weight of 28304kg, and by the 2000ft marker, we had reached V1. Seconds later, Capt. Rahul Singh Rawal rotated VT-RGX smoothly into the air, and the homesick angel came to life.
With a crazy climb rate that touched 5000 feet per minute, FL250 came all too early. We were above the clouds, and headed to waypoint HITAS, which was around 140 nautical miles away. We broke the cloud layer on our flight down south-east, and pure bliss ensued. The evening sun, ready to go down, and the game of shadows played by the clouds, and more: all enjoyed in a noiseless cabin that was comfortably pressurized at around 1400ft: Absolute comfort.
I had never flown so fast in my life: Mach 0.88 if I recollect correctly. The increase in the noise of the wind hitting the windshield at this incredible speed, was very noticeable, and yet so soft.
The very experience of the Dassault 7X’s flight performance is indescribable. Adding to that is a brilliant golden orange sun setting at FL250; the combination rendering you absolutely speechless.
At waypoint HITAS, we turned back to Hyderabad-Shamshabad, and gracefully accepted vectors for the VOR approach for runway 09. On approach, Capt. Rahul who knew me very well, made it very clear that he’ll have 4 red on the PAPI as he was targeting the runway numbers to stop by taxiway Alpha (A). His touchdown was firm and nice, and the deceleration very powerful. The bird exited onto “A”, where our engines were shutdown, and we were towed into our parking slot.
My editor was impressed; the publisher awestruck, and I: on cloud 9.