Dassault Aviation Rolls Out the Falcon 6X
Dassault Aviation lifts the veil on its latest business jet, the Falcon 6X. Due to the pandemic, the roll-out of this Tuesday, December 8 was virtual from the Dassault Aviation plant in Mérignac, France. However, even if the event was virtual, the private jet manufacturer is betting big with this new high-end private jet.
The First Virtual Roll-out in History
This was a very important step in the development program for Dassault Aviation’s new private jet, the Falcon 6X. December 8 marked the roll-out of this new business jet. The public presentation was held live. The lock-down measures related to Covid-19 pandemic having made it impossible for Dassault to physically invite its employees, partners, customers and the press to the presentation.
And this is a first in history, never has an aircraft manufacturer, and especially a private jet manufacturer, done a virtual rollout. The event, which lasted about 30 minutes, brought together more than 4,000 people from around the world during live on YouTube. Many more people than there would have been if the aircraft manufacturer had physically rolled out.
A Falcon 6X to Overcome the Cancellation of the 5X Jet Program
Launched in February 2018, the Falcon 6X replaces the abandoned Falcon 5X project. Dassault had chosen Safran to equip its 5X with Silvercrest engines. But the engine manufacturer, inexperienced in business aviation, had repeatedly encountered problems in engine design. So much so that the Falcon 5X was no less than 3 years behind the initial schedule.
Even though the Falcon 5X had made its first test flights, Dassault took the radical decision to completely abandon its 5X project in December 2017. It only took a month and a half to put on feet a new project, the Falcon 6X, and design with its new supplier, Pratt & amp; Whitney, the new PW812D engines. “We have decided to bounce back from the top”, said Éric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation.
By choosing this engine manufacturer specializing in private jet engines, Dassault Aviation has chosen safety to reassure its customers and shareholders.
To accelerate the development of the Falcon 6X as much as possible, the aircraft manufacturer has taken up certain characteristics of the 5X. Thus, there are certain characteristics of the 5X in the 6X, such as the airframe and the aerodynamics of the wings.
Range and Power
The Falcon 6X is a new private jet in the very long-haul jets category. Capable of traveling 10.186 km (5500 nm), it will be able to connect non-stop the largest capitals on the planet, such as London and Hong Kong, or even New York and Moscow. A significant advantage for the businessmen who constitute Dassault Aviation’s main customers.
The Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW812D engines were the starting point for the Falcon 6X project. The engineers used the characteristics of this engine to define all the specifications of the 6X, such as the mass of the aircraft, its range and the size of the fuselage. “We had to draw the length of the plane according to the engine” explains Olivier Villa, former CEO of civil aircraft at Dassault Aviation.
In the end, the Falcon 6X is 25.7 meters long, which is 50 cm longer than the 5X. Its maximum takeoff weight is 35.135 kg, 4.5 tonnes more than the 5X. And two additional fuel tanks could be added.
The two PurePower PW812D engines from Pratt & Whitney’s offer between 13,000 and 14,000 lbs of take-off thrust. They stand for reliability and durability and are ideal for long-haul, high altitude and high speed flight. They will allow the Falcon 6X to fly at Mach 0.90 speed, making it one of the fastest private jets.
The Falcon 6X will also be able to perform approaches at very low speed, down to 109 kts. This exceptionally low speed makes it possible to serve small, hard-to-reach airports and increases safety during landing.
French Comfort and Luxury
Eric Trappier is very proud, his new Falcon 6X has the widest cabin in its class. “Its award-winning cabin – the widest and highest under ceiling – offers standards of space, comfort, productivity and safety that set new benchmarks in the segment of long-range business jets” , he put forward.”, he put forward.
This cabin offers 52.2 m3 of volume, against 48.5 m3 for Gulfstream’s competitor G500. Passengers will be able to move around in an interior that is 1.98 meters high and 2.58 meters wide, which is 10% more on average than private jets in the same segment.
The “completely new design” of the Falcon 6X emphasizes a contemporary cabin style and recalls French elegance. The 16 passengers who can board benefit from three separate spaces, a bathroom and a large living room. The crew will also have their own rest area.
« The flight will be as if you were in silk » commented Carlos Brana, CEO of Civil Aircraft at Dassault Aviation. The engineering team paid great attention to cabin silence, flight comfort thanks to new flight controls, as well as low cabin altitude.
A Cockpit at The Forefront of Modernity
The Falcon 6X cockpit brings together all the latest flight control technologies. Equipped with Honeywell’s latest generation Easy III avionics suite, the cockpit offers a SmartView Synthetic Vision system. This provides large, 3-D color synthetic image of the outside world when pilots can’t see due to weather or other conditions, enhancing safety and efficiency.
The New Generation Flight Management System (NG FMS) present in the cockpit is also exclusive. It prepares future requirements in terms of navigation, efficiency and safety. Pilots can examine fuel burn predictions on multiple flight plans and easily switch to the optimum route.
The Multifunction Display (MFD), Honeywell’s INAV, merges navigation and sensor data on a single multilayer, high-resolution display. pilot can efficiently monitor traffic, weather, terrain and geographic location without constantly switching views.
A New Falcon 6X at the Heart of Fierce Competition
Although business aviation suffers less from the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic than commercial aviation, it is also affected. Private jets are estimated to be flying at 80% of their 2019 level.
Private jet manufacturers have struggled to sell their jets for the past ten years, and the pandemic has not helped. Dassault Aviation has announced that it plans to deliver just 30 Falcons in 2020, down from the 40 originally planned. It must be said that competition is intense in the market. Demand is relatively low for these very expensive, luxurious business jets. The American manufacturer Gulfstream and the Canadian Bombardier have slashed their prices in recent years in order to stand out.
As a result, Dassault Aviation delivered 40 Falcons to its customers in 2019, when Gulfstream delivered 147 and Bombardier 142. The French aircraft manufacturer therefore hopes to regain market share from its competitors with the Falcon 6X. And also relies on the post-covid recovery to fill its order book.
Available for $47 million in 2022
Dassault Aviation announced that the Falcon 6X will be available in 2022. The test team is set to complete a 40-hour simulator test session before making a first flight in 2021.
The list price of the Falcon 6X will be $47 million. Some are already under construction at the Dassault Aviation plant in Mérignac, France.
Pictures: ©Dassault Aviation / A.Daste