TWO FALCON 7X IN THE SHADOW OF THE ECLIPSE
One of the most remarkable eclipses of the century was observed in Icelandic airspace on Friday, March 20, 2015 at around 10:30 a.m. At the instigation of the aviation operator Amjet, Dassault Falcon Service organized an exceptional flight for lucky few, scientists and private individuals, in order to observe this rare phenomenon.
To provide optimal observation conditions for the astronomers, three Falcon 7X capable of reaching the required altitude while flying at Mach 0.9 were chosen for this operation. Responsible of the technical and operational project, DFS coordinated the three Falcon in flight (two leaving from Le Bourget and one from Geneva) in order to come as close as possible to the ideal observation flight path defined by NASA. Thus, positioned in the direction of the lunar shadow's advancement, the aircraft needed only to wait for the shadow to catch up with them and cover them in darkness.
One of the three DFS-operated Falcon offered the scientific teams a particular flight profile: fly at 47,000 feet with a minimum speed of Mach 0.8 and reach the geographic estimate with a margin of error of less than 10 seconds in order to enjoy the maximum eclipse observation time.
The analyses of the flight results showed the passage of the eclipse at FL 490 (49,000 feet) and Mach 0.85 with an exposure time of 3'40''. Our aircraft were thus successfully positioned on the path of interception as planned, allowing the scientists to carry out their work, in particular a study on the solar corona at wavelengths outside the visible spectrum.
Our second Falcon also demonstrated excellent positioning accuracy, maintaining a formation flight with the first airplane and stabilized at FL 450, thereby enjoying the same eclipse observation time.
The passengers were delighted to have taken part in this exceptional flight and all of them hailed the professionalism of the Dassault Falcon Service pilots.