Dassault debut Falcon 6X in virtual rollout
After almost a half-decade of anticipation, yesterday Dassault Aviation rolled out the all-new Falcon 6X at its Merignac facility just outside Bordeaux, France. In what was a first for a business jet programme and in the face of a global pandemic the French OEM debuted the super-midsize 6X in a virtual online ceremony broadcast live on YouTube.
The event featured a variety of Dassault Aviation employees, including, chairman and CEO Eric Trappier, and was hosted by pilot and broadcasting veteran Miles O’Brien.
“Today’s rollout is a significant achievement,” Trappier said. “I am very pleased to present the addition of an all-new aircraft design within the Falcon family, the ultra widebody Falcon 6X.”
The Falcon 6X’s cabin cross section is bigger than any other purpose built business aircraft which Trappier noted is vital to ensuring the key aims of the 6X programme. With efficiency first, comfort is a close second. Trappier said: “[Comfort is] something which is important for us. The 6X is going to have a 5,500 nm range, LA to Moscow, but what is great with the 6X is the roomy fuselage, it gives this cabin great comfort. By keeping the flexibility of all our Falcons, that is very important for our customers.”
As mentioned, both the 5X and 6X cabin have the largest cross-section dimensions of a purpose-built business jet in the industry. Dassault has coined the term an “ultra widebody” to describe the 6X type. With a height of 78 inches and width of 102 inches a 6,6” man can stand in the cabin without the need to stoop.
With the next steps being ground testing and systems checks before the 6X’s first flight, the programme remains on track according to Dassault. The first, which will take place in hull three, the aircraft rolled out yesterday, is planned for early 2021 — certification and entry into service will then come in 2022.
Fabrice Valette will fly the 6X first flight, following his 40 days spent flying the simulated test bench 6X. Valette said he feels very confident about the 6X’s first flight: “There’s a lot of pressure on this [first flight], but this aircraft is going to be very sure and we’re going to be very quick to get it in service. I feel very confident about it.”
Remarking on the beauty of the aircraft, Trappier said: “Before we go to the next step, it’s time to address congratulations to the teams, the engineering teams, the manufacturing teams, for the job they have done to now.”
In the wake of the cancelled 5X, to accommodate the new Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW812D engines, engineers added 20 inches to the cabin length to balance the extra weight out. This allowed the 6X to retain the unique skylight in the galley area — that was planned in the 5X — but also 30 larger windows as well as more room in the forward galley, crew rest area or in the aft lounge.