Dassault 6X construction

Dassault Falcon 6X


Dassault has begun assembly of the first Falcon 6X long-range twinjet in preparation for an initial flight in 2021 and says the model remains on track for entry into service by 2022. “Everything has been proceeding according to plan. The design was frozen earlier this year and the manufacturing process is well underway,” says Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

The front, main, and rear fuselage sections of the first aircraft are being assembled at Dassault’s factory in Biarritz, France. The wing, which is being built in nearby Martignas, is due to be joined to the fuselage at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Mérignac facility early next year.

First Dassault Falcon 6X Taking Shape

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First Dassault Falcon 6X Taking Shape

After freezing the model’s design in May, Dassault said the super-midsize jet program is now well into the manufacturing phase.

Dassault announced the approximately $47 million 6X last year after it abandoned work on the somewhat smaller 5X due to ongoing engine-development problems with another manufacturer. Those problems proved serendipitous. Upgrading to a Pratt & Whitney Canada engine gave Dassault the opportunity to redesign what was to have been the 5X with a 20-inch-longer cabin, more features, and longer range. Taken together, these changes position the 6X to more effectively compete in the twin-jet, large-cabin space. 

The 14- to 16-passenger aircraft has the largest cross section of any purpose-designed business jet: eight and a half feet wide, six and a half feet high, and just over 40 feet long. Like most Falcons, this one will blend good short- and long-range capabilities. It will be able to use runways as short as 3,000 feet (partially loaded) while delivering a range of 5,500 nautical miles with a top speed of Mach 0.90. The airplane is designed to stay in the air for up to 12 hours, and the range enables city pairs that include Los Angeles–London, Sao Paulo–Chicago, and Paris–Beijing at Mach 0.85. That puts the 6X in direct competition with the new Gulfstream G500 and Bombardier Global 5500.  

The 6X’s high-efficiency engines deliver 10 percent better fuel economy than legacy engines in their thrust class. Their core has logged more than 14,000 hours of bench testing. Dassault reports that engine testing is proceeding well and that test flights of it are beginning on a Pratt & Whitney Canada Flying Test Bed. The engine has completed high-risk certification tests, which include bird strikes and hot/cold weather trials. The six development engines have accumulated more than 1,200 hours of testing and run time. Testing of other aircraft systems also is proceeding apace, including with the digital flight controls and the hydraulic, braking, air, water, and electrical systems.

The new wing is designed to mitigate turbulence and is equipped with flaperons, leading-edge slats, and trailing-edge flaps. The flaperons save weight, improve control, and smooth out turbulence by combining flaps and ailerons into a single control surface: flaps deploy to increase lift at low speeds while ailerons regulate bank and roll. The new wing provides good high- and low-speed performance; its leading-edge slats and trailing-edge flaps combine to lower takeoff and approach speeds—up to 10 knots slower than comparable bizjets. At maximum takeoff weight, the Falcon needs a balanced field length of as little as 5,480 feet. It can also access airports requiring steep approaches such as London City. 

All of the 6X’s aerodynamic control surfaces are linked to a next-generation fly-by-wire flight- control system. Dassault has traditionally been a trailblazer among bizjet makers in adapting military technology such as 3D computer design, sidesticks, and fly-by-wire controls. These innovations come naturally, as the company also builds the highly successful line of Rafale and Mirage jet fighters. (Many of the engineers who designed those airplanes also worked on the 6X.) Dassault has a reputation for taking airframe aerodynamic optimization to the next level and almost an obsession with trimming weight out of the final product. The Falcon 6X continues this tradition. It is also slated to be the first bizjet with a nitrogen-based fuel pressurization system. 

The new EASy III cockpit features a simplified, one-button, power-up system, the FalconEye combined vision system, and head-up display for landing in low-visibility situations and better situational awareness, and the Falcon II integrated electronic flight bag, which cuts flight-planning time and effort. New and larger crew seats provide more legroom and comfort for pilots and can recline to 130 degrees. The four large cockpit windows provide wide-angle visibility and the glare shield gives pilots an expanded field of view. 

Designed with product support in mind, the 6X will use the Falcon Broadcast data-sharing system paired with artificial intelligence to enable analysts to anticipate maintenance needs before customers call with problems. 

Good as these performance numbers and features are, what really sells the 6X is the capacious, bright, and airy cabin. A skylight illuminates the entryway and 30 windows flood the cabin with natural light. All that space allows for a good deal of flexibility, including the ability to have conference-table seating for six and a comfortable aft stateroom. The wider cabin also makes it possible for the 6X to offer a bigger galley. 

The environmental system delivers a cabin altitude of 3,900 feet while the aircraft is at 41,000 feet. The air-filtration system circulates and refreshes air every two to three minutes, and cabin noise is “below the level of normal conversation,” Dassault says. High-speed cabin connectivity via FalconConnect will be on par with the most sophisticated home or office systems. The system provides simplified cabin management and entertainment control wirelessly through personal devices while providing seamless, global communications.  

All these attributes combine to suggest that Dassault has a winner in the 6X.  


2022 Dassault Falcon 6X at a Glance

Price                            $47 million (as of 2018) 

Engines                       2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D, 13,000–14,000 lb of thrust

Avionics                       Honeywell/EASy III 

Crew                            2–5

Passengers                  14–16

Range                          5,500 nm 

Fast cruise speed        Mach 0.90 

Cabin

                                    Height: 78 in

                                    Width: 102 in 

                                    Length: 40.4 ft

Baggage                      155 cu ft 

Source: Dassault

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