If you aren’t tired of Covid-related stories by now, here is a good one about a Falcon Airborne Support mission in the very midst of the crisis.
You may know that our Falcon Command Center shifts control from Paris to Teterboro as the workday ends in Europe — and later in the evening to Boise, Idaho. On July 20th at 17:00 Zulu, 7:00 pm in Paris, a call came in as control was shifting to Teterboro.
The crew of a newly delivered 8X was reporting an AOG incident in Minsk, Belarus. The crew had a radio problem preventing them from communicating properly with ATC. And that was a no-go item. Their next VIP mission – to the Philippines – was slated for the following day, 18:00 Z (9:00 pm local time, the 21st).
Immediately, the questions were:
- Could the Falcon Command Center troubleshoot the problem remotely, marshal the likely repair parts and the technical team, and effect repairs to permit the 8X to complete its next mission on (or near) schedule.
- Could all this be done within a tight, 25-hour window when border controls were in effect, a landing permit was required (normally requiring a minimum of 24 hours), and Covid was throwing sand in the gears of just about all trans-national operations.
It was the equivalent of alarm bells in a fire station, and it definitely had our attention.
Following is a timeline of the events that unfolded:
The Teterboro Command Center (most of its staff working from home) begins troubleshooting at once, with a list of suspect parts given to the Falcon Airborne Support team by 22:00 Zulu – midnight in Paris. The parts are then delivered in the early morning to the FAS GoTeam readying a Falcon 900B at the Le Bourget Dassault Falcon Service facility.
A landing permit for Minsk is granted.
Export customs checks are completed. The FAS aircraft, F-GOFX, takes off from Le Bourget at 13:03 Z with parts and technicians at the ready – with just six hours remaining until the 8X’s scheduled departure.
F-GOFX lands in Minsk. The FAS team works on the AOG aircraft within 20 minutes. There’s four hours to go.
Thanks to GoTeam feedback onboard the 8X, the Command Center confirms the defective part.
The part is replaced, and tests satisfactorily.
The AOG aircraft is prepared for flight and passengers board.
Service documents are signed and the customer’s Falcon is released for flight.
The repaired 8X takes off for the Philippines.
Customer feedback was extremely positive: “Our Falcon was back in the air just a little over 24 hours after the AOG began. Good show!”
You might have heard that Dassault was recently voted #1 in the Aviation International News product support survey for the second straight year, and highly rated (in a tight competitive cluster) in the Pro Pilot survey. Performance in AOG support is one reason why.
Our FAS teams, and the dedicated Customer Service professionals supporting them, pride themselves on their “whatever it takes” attitude. The Minsk mission was an impressive demonstration of that attitude in practice.
The pandemic is not over, as we all well know. But our operations, and I hope yours, are returning to something like normal. At Dassault, one thing that is always normal is doing all that we can, regardless of obstacles, in service of Falcon customers.
Senior Vice President, Worldwide Falcon Customer Service & Service Center Network