New aircraft launches are usually upbeat events. Lasers and dancing girls build up the excitement before dry ice clears giving us the first view of the new aircraft.
None of this was present at the Dassault Falcon 6X launch this week, although there was inspiring music and a well-cut video.
Dassault might have preferred not to launch the Falcon 6X at all. If everything had gone to plan, the Falcon 5X that it replaces should have been in the hands of owners by now.
But the Falcon 6X is a better aircraft than the 5X would have been. The problematic Silvercrest engines that were originally due to power the 5X have been replaced with more-powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812Ds, increasing the range by 300nm to 5,500nm.
The Pratt engines are considerably heavier than the Silvercrest, and to help balance this, the 6X has an additional 20 inches of fuselage inserted forward of the wings.
The wings themselves have also been optimised and, for the first time on a business jet, they include flaperons. These are a cross between flaps and ailerons that stabilise the aircraft further during steep approaches, meaning that the Falcon 6X will be certificated to fly into airports with steep approach paths, including London City Airport.
For Dassault, the unveiling of the Falcon 6X is the start of putting the Falcon 5X behind it. During the unveiling Dassault chairman and CEO Eric Trappier was asked whether his company was seeking damages from Safran. “We are claiming we need compensation …so right now we are discussing this sensitive subject with Safran,” he said.
Some journalists were disappointed that Dassault did not launch a larger aircraft. At the end of the press conference Trappier was surrounded, and although some questions were focussed on the 6X, many asked about the next aircraft.
We might not have to wait too long for this. Trappier said that Dassault was continuing to ‘study’ the next Falcon alongside the 6X.
As for the name, Trappier would not be drawn. Clues may be found in the US Patent and Trademark Office. Falcon 9X was trademarked last year and followed up earlier this year with Falcon 10X.
NOTE: The below originally appeared as the editorial in our November 17 One Minute Week newsletter. To find out more, and sign up for free, please click here.