Being touted as the world’s first ultra widebody business jet, Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 6X is gearing up for an early 2021 flight despite the upheaval caused by the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic might have left everyone frenzied over the future especially the aviation industry but it has also shown that the only way forward is to keep adapting and innovating. Amid this, French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s latest, roomiest and the much awaited Falcon 6X is making steady progress. The aircraft looks ready for a planned first flight in early 2021 with production operations at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Merignac, France main assembly facility getting back to normal after a brief disruption due to the COVID-19 crisis. The company affirmed that it made use of this time to devise safer procedures with smaller crews on the production floor.
“Bringing the Falcon 6X to market on schedule is a top priority for the company. Our planning and production staff have been diligent and resourceful in adapting procedures to new sanitary guidelines to keep this program running smoothly. Our suppliers have also made extraordinary efforts to support us. We are grateful to them all,” said Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO, Eric Trappier.
The manufacturer informed that the first of the three pre-production aircraft that will take part in flight certification has been powered up and has entered ground testing while the second and third aircraft are in advanced stages of assembly and long cycle parts production for serialized production has already begun. In lines with the original timetable, the company also added that certification and entry into service are set for 2022. The second aircraft recently had its wings mated to the fuselage and the third aircraft is in the early stages of final assembly. Each will be heavily instrumented and, like aircraft no. 1, will be capable of performing aerodynamic, performance and systems testing.
A full interior is planned for Aircraft no. 3 to evaluate systems functionality, acoustics, airflow, comfort and other factors. Interior furnishings, environmental systems, electronics and other equipment are currently being tested in a ground test rig before getting installed on the aircraft.
The company also informed that electric, hydraulic and fuel system tests have been completed and testing of the Falcon 6X’s advanced digital flight control system have begun along with ground fatigue and damage tolerance testing also being initiated. This test cycle will later be extended to include stress testing to maximum load limits and beyond.
“Bringing the Falcon 6X to market on schedule is a top priority for the company. Our planning and production staff have been diligent and resourceful in adapting procedures to new sanitary guidelines to keep this program running smoothly. Our suppliers have also made extraordinary efforts to support us. We are grateful to them all,” said Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier.
A combination of power, performance and dependability, the manufacturer believes that the ultra-efficient PurePower® PW812D engine produces 13,000-14,000 pounds of thrust, a true powerhouse that sets new standards in aircraft performance and fuel efficiency in the heavy business jet market.
The Falcon 6X is expected to set a new industry benchmark for cabin comfort, long-range performance and flying efficiency. It promises to offer the largest cabin cross-section of any purpose-built business jet being 6’6” tall and 8’6” wide. Its 5,500 nautical mile range capability allows it to connect far flung routes such as Paris to Tokyo or Los Angeles to Moscow.
Not only that, the new twinjet is also equipped with the latest innovative technologies, including a new-generation Digital Flight Control System (DFCS) that provides unmatched maneuverability in flight. The new DFCS controls all moving surfaces including a new multifunction control area called a flaperon, adapted from Dassault fighter aircraft.
Assembly of Falcon 6X engines along with nacelles is also ramping up in parallel with aircraft production as informed by the manufacturer.
The company informed that an initial airborne test campaign of the aircraft’s advanced Pratt & Whitney (P&W) Canada PW812D engine was also completed earlier this year aboard P&W’s Boeing 747 testbed aircraft and a second series of flight tests are scheduled this summer. Until now, the PW812D has accumulated over 200 hours in the air and more than 1,600 hours on the ground. It has also completed initial certification tests, including bird strike, ice ingestion and blade-off tests. The PW800 series exceeds ICAO standards for NOx emissions by a double-digit margin and generates ultra-low levels of unburned hydrocarbons and smoke. The PW812D is also expected to meet future CO2 regulations and achieve Stage 4 noise requirements with significant margin.
A combination of power, performance and dependability, the manufacturer believes that the ultra-efficient PurePower® PW812D engine produces 13,000-14,000 pounds of thrust, hence a true powerhouse that sets new standards in aircraft performance and fuel efficiency in the heavy business jet market. It shares the same proven technology used in Pratt & Whitney’s award-winning commercial engines and has been designed keeping customers in mind and are optimised for long-range, business jet missions.
The Dassault flight test team is currently coordinating with EASA (the European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to finalise the flight test and validation program.
With the cabin height of 6-feet, 6-inches and width of 8 feet, 6 inches, the Falcon 6X is being said to have the tallest, widest cabin in business aviation. The 6X cabin is sure to redefine air travel experience. The spacious cabin is designed to provide areas for privacy and relaxation as well as common areas where teams can meet and confer. The 102-inch-wide cross section is also the largest on the market, giving you more elbow room, more aisle space, a larger galley and deeper, more comfortable divans. The wider aisle also allows for easier movement between cabin lounges.
The Falcon 6X also features business aviation’s most advanced fly-by-wire system. The aircraft has been styled to achieve a contemporary look that matches superior comfort. Flowing, uninterrupted lines enhance the feeling of space and de-clutter the cabin, with room to spare for virtually any configuration. With 30 windows, natural light floods the cabin that are larger than in previous Falcons. The Falcon 6X also has the first ever skylight in a business aircraft, providing valuable light to normally dark entrance and galley areas. This skylight feature is an industry first.
The 6X’s maximum range is 5,500 nm (10,186 km) with the maximum speed of Mach .90. It is said to be capable of flying at Mach .85 for non-stop flights up to 5,100 nm (9,445 km), including Moscow to New York, Paris to Beijing, Los Angeles to London. In addition, the 6X is also very stable at the speeds and angles required at smaller airstrips, making takeoffs and landings safer and quicker.
The 6X’s maximum range is 5,500 nm (10,186 km) with the maximum speed of Mach 0.90. It is said to be capable of flying at Mach .85 for non-stop flights up to 5,100 nm (9,445 km), including Moscow to New York, Paris to Beijing, Los Angeles to London. In addition, the 6X is also very stable at the speeds and angles required at smaller airstrips, making takeoffs and landings safer and quicker.
The manufacturer highlighted that like its predecessors, the Falcon 6X wing is optimised for both high- and low-speed performance. Leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps yield remarkably low takeoff and approach speeds. In fact, the Falcon 6X’s typical approach speed is 109 knots – up to 10 knots slower than most jets with comparable range and nearly the approach speed of some short-field turboprops. This capability ensures greater safety margins on takeoffs and landings. With a balanced field length of 5,480 feet, the Falcon 6X can use more airports, access fields requiring steep approaches and even with a partial fuel load, it can operate at airports with runways of less than 3,000 feet.
The Falcon 6X cockpit is equipped with the latest generation of Dassault's award-winning avionics suite. The 6X also features proprietary technologies such as the award-winning FalconEye® Combined Vision System, which provides unprecedented situational awareness for flight crews, and FalconSphere II, an integrated Electronic Flight Bag solution that reduces the time and effort of preparing missions. Four large windows provide exceptional, wide-angle visibility and the glare shield is even shaped to give pilots an expanded field of view.
Crew comfort is also said to be enhanced with greater legroom, and larger, more comfortable seats that can recline to 130 degrees.
Another interesting highlight is that even while cruising at 41,000 feet, cabin altitude in the 6X is a comfortable 3,900 feet that allows the passenger to still feel so refreshed even at the end of a long flight. Dassault’s unique cabin air filtration and circulation system keeps you breathing easier, and getting more fresh air in your lungs. Cabin air is fully refreshed in as little as two to three minutes.
With so much in store, the Falcon 6X being on track for its production, with the expected flight early next year, would be a highlight that the industry will wait for.
|Falcon 6X - Specifications|
|Approach Speed Vref at typical landing weight||109 kias | 202 kph|
|Maximum operating altitude||51,000 ft | 15,545 m|
|Range||5,500 nm | 10,186 km|
|Maximum Operating Speed (VMO)||370 kias | 685 kph|
|Maximum Operating Mach (MMO)||M.90|
|BFL at MTOW: SL - ISA||5,480 ft | 1,670 m|
|Landing distance at typical landing weight||FAR Part 135 - 2,480 ft | FAR Part 135 - 756 m|
|Length||84.3 ft | 25.68 m|
|Height||24.5 ft | 7.47 m|
|Wing span||85.1 ft | 25.94 m|
|Cabin length (excluding cockpit and baggage)||40.4 ft | 12.3 m|
|Maximum headroom||78.00 in | 1.98 m|
|Maximum width||102.00 in | 2.58 m|
|Cabin volume (excluding cockpit and baggage)||1,843.00 cu ft | 52.2 m3|
|Maximum takeoff weight||77,460 lb | 35,135 kg|
|Maximum zero fuel weight||45,920 lb | 20,830 kg|
|Maximum fuel||33,790 lb | 15,325 kg|
|Maximum landing weight||66,190 lb | 30,025 kg|
|Nbr/Type||2 x PW812D|
|SL-ISA Thrust||13,000 - 14,000 lb | 57.8 kN - 62.3 kN|