Dassault Aviation has unveiled its newest development venture, the long-range, wide-body Dassault Falcon 6X . During a recent briefing at Paris-Le Bourget Airport, Chairman, and CEO of Dassault, Eric Trappier spoke of the jet’s state of the art benefits to business class travelers and the pilots who will ultimately be flying the Falcon 6X. The new business jet is being marketed as the most spacious aircraft in the 5,000 plus nautical mile range and will feature in-flight high-speed connectivity. The Falcon 6X is expected to commence test flights as early as 2021 and will debut as serviceable the following year.
Dassault Frontman and CEO, Eric Trappier, is a Parisian businessman and engineer who has been with the aviation company since 1984. Following his graduation from Telecom SudParis in 1983, he joined Dassault and has spent his career mainly in the defense development sector. In 2006, he transitioned into the position of international general manager from international sales and served as the company’s international executive vice president until former CEO Charles Edelstenne retired at which time Trapper succeeded him. He has since been appointed the president of the Aerospace and Defense Industries Association of Europe and elected the First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee of the French Aerospace Industries Association.
Industry insiders were expecting the 6X’s predecessor to be deliverable as early as 2017. However, due to continuous technical issues with engine manufacturer Safran’s Snecma Silvercrest turbofan, Eric Trappier elected to pull the plug on the program in December of 2017. As the 11,450 pounds force Silvercrest 2D engine was to be the powerhouse behind the Dassault Falcon 5X, the engine’s numerous shortfalls resulted in the loss of performance, leaving the aviation manufacturer with no choice but to halt production. That said, Eric Trappier has indicated that the Falcon 5X prototypes that were developed will not go to waste, the engines will be returned to Safran and some components will be put to use in developing the Falcon 6X prototypes.
Sometime last year, Trappier and his chief designers and engineers started closely following the impressive performance tests of the Pratt and Whitney 800 series engines. Shortly thereafter, Trappier and his team instigated discussions with the Canadian aircraft engine manufacturer. They were under the impression that the P&W engine was the best to power the 5X’s successor.
The Dassault Falcon 6X is similar in design to its predecessor but its features have been optimized to account for its longer range and higher capacity. The Falcon 6X is powered by two PW812D turbofan engines, with 13,460 lbf thrust each to accommodate the aircraft’s extended cabin size and 5500 nm range. The engine was designed specifically for Dassault whose specifications indicated they would need a PW800 similar version engine with roughly 13,000-14,000 lbf, smaller and less weighty than the PW815 and powered by two low-pressure turbine stages. In making the addition of the Pratt and Whitney engine, the decision was made to extend the range, hence the 5500 nm, which is 300 over the proposed range of the 5X.
Various other upgrades to the Falcon 6X include structural modifications like extending the fuselage slightly to maintain the center of gravity and fuel tank capacity increased to over 15,000 lbs. Control surfaces have been augmented and now feature the use of flaperons. Flaperons, which have prior to the Dassault Falcon 6X never been used in business jet development, are utilized as flaps or ailerons. They deliver an additional improvement in control on approaches and during steep descents.
Beyond these implementations, there has been a concentrated effort to increase max takeoff weight and to accelerate the speed and performance of the aircraft. With respect to the aircraft’s performance, the 6X can achieve speeds of 450 knots or Mach 0.80 at 5,500nm and Mach 0.85 at 5100 nm. The aircraft’s max speed will top out at Mach 0.90.
Nuances in the cabin’s design have been made to allow comfortable and spacious accommodation to be delivered to passengers. According to their website, Dassault is billing the Falcon 6X as the “the most spacious, advanced and versatile twinjet in business aviation.” This is due in part to the dimensions of its spacious cabin. At over six feet tall and exceeding 8 feet in width, the cabin’s three separate lounge areas can accommodate up to 16 travelers, with an option to seat 19. The cabin’s extensive length at over 40 feet delivers optimum room for business class travelers to move about without restriction and the in-flight internet capabilities make it possible for busy professionals to stay up to date while engaged in travel.
The Dassault Falcon 6X additionally possesses a more extensive fuselage at 84 ft 3in. Further amenities include more windows than any comparable business jet in its class and with the embellishment of a skylight in the galley, the jet is the epitome of an upscale business class aircraft.
The stateroom design will be offered in three compositions each consisting of a three-person sofa sleeper. Variations will include a 12 seat layout consisting of the sofa, a single chair, and worktable alongside the sofa. The 13 seat design makes use of the sofa, two chairs placed adjacent to the sofa or directly across from it and the 14 seat plan that consists of two sofas, one in the aft cabin and no chairs. There will be options for variances in layouts and configurations to include crew rests as well.
The design of the flight deck features a number of state of the art, next generation flight control technologies that incorporate a variety of elements including some taken from fighter jets. The all-digital flight suite Dassault implemented is the EASy III powered by Honeywell Systems alongside a dual HUD display and FalconEye CVS (Combined Vision System) to enhance visual capabilities.
Dassault is well known for using aluminum in their structural designs and the primarily lightweight aluminum alloy airframe construction of the Falcon 6X is no exception.
With the number of improvements to existing designs, one wonders what type price point Dassault will be looking toward. According to Eric Trappier, the company is considering an asking price of 47 million.
Parties interested in the purchase of the Falcon 6X will have to wait until 2022 when the aircraft is expected to make its serviceable debut to see the jet in its fully configured form. The numerous improvements upon previous models and its additional space and luxury accommodations are certain to impact the aviation industry positively and will serve to solidify Dassault’s place in the business jet development sector. Until the day arrives, companies like Gulfstream could have the market cornered in this particular niche.
Trappier, however, has indicated that he is not overly concerned. With customers of the previous Falcon converting orders to various other model Dassault jets and the lifespan of the Dassault Falcon 6X at 30 years, he believes his customer base will hold steady despite the near five year delay before the 6X is serviceable and when the day finally arrives, he believes that they will be thrilled and impressed with the result.