+VIDEO Out with the old – the Falcon 5X – and in with the new – the Falcon 6X. Dassault took a deep breath late in 2017, after Safran delivered its bad news on development of the Silvercrest engines intended for the 5X, and decided to can the 5X project and go to Plan B, the 6X.
The 6X isn’t a clean sheet design. To speed up development, Dassault has used the best of the 5X. Crucially, the French company has returned to its long-time engine supplier, Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC), for power units for the twin-engine jet.
PWC already power most of the Falcon fleet, and for the 6X Dassault has chosen the PW812D, the closest engine in PWC’s range to that of the Safran Silvercrest. It’s slightly heavier, slightly more powerful and the 6X design required “re-balancing” to accommodate it. So, the 6X is 20in longer ahead of the wing than the 5X and the rear of the fuselage is different.
Dassault is racing to make up lost time and intends to have the first 6X flying in three years, and for it to be certified and to enter-into-service the following year – 2022. Production will ramp up in 2023, hopefully to a rate of two aircraft a month. At a 2018 price of $47m each, the 6X will bring a useful extra stream to Dassault’s revenue.
It will also fill a gap in its range. The 6X will have a maximum range of 5,500nm, and have the tallest and widest cabin of any business jet, bigger even than Gulfstream’s mighty G650. Dassault is also taking advantage of the new launch to tweak the 5X original design and spec, matching what competitors – notably Gulfstream – have done since the 5X was first announced back in 2013.
“We wanted to further push the boundaries with this new aircraft, to provide the best flight experience possible using today’s aviation know-how,” said Eric Trappier, chairman & CEO of Dassault Aviation.
“The Falcon 6X will offer a mix of range, comfort and capability no other large cabin business jet can match while guaranteeing fully mature systems and a proven powerplant.”
Falcon 6X cabin
The Falcon 6X cabin is 1.98m high, 2.58m wide and nearly 12.3m long. The cabin can accommodate 16 passengers in three distinct lounge areas, with multiple configurations possible including a large entry way/crew rest area and a spacious rear lounge.
Dassault also says it’s the brightest cabin they’ve produced with no fewer than 28 side windows and a skylight above the galley.
“The industry has been moving towards ever wider and higher interiors, and customers told us what they wanted most in our new Falcons was more space,” continued Trappier.
“So we designed the Falcon 6X from the cabin out, making it as passenger-centric as we could while still delivering the high performance and other flying qualities that customers value in Falcons.”
The Falcon 6X has a top speed of Mach 0.90 and a maximum range of 5,500 nautical miles (10,186 km), longer than any other jet in its category. It can fly directly from Los Angeles to Geneva, Beijing to San Francisco or Moscow to Singapore at long range cruise speed. It can also connect New York to Moscow, Paris to Beijing or Los Angeles to London at a cruise of Mach 0.85.
The Pratt & Whitney Canada Pure Power PW812D engine is rated at 13,000-14,000 lb of thrust, and features the core technology of Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan, which is shared by 16 different engine applications and which has amassed over 585,000 flight hours.
Here come the flaperons
The Falcon 6X is equipped with an ultra-efficient wing that minimises the impact of turbulence. It has a next generation digital flight control system – fly-by-wire – that controls all moving surfaces, including flaperons. The 6X is the first business jet to use a flaperon, a combination of aileron and flaps to control both lift and drag. It’s said to improve speed control during an approach, especially on steep descents such as into London City Airport.
The aircraft also comes with industry leading noise suppression systems, based on experience with the Falcon 8X – the current benchmark in noise comfort – and an all-new cockpit and third-generation EASy III all-digital flight deck.
Equipment includes Dassault’s FalconSphere II electronic flight bag and the FalconEye Combined Vision System – the first head-up display to combine enhanced and synthetic vision capabilities.
“There is still today a strong market need for a brand new long-range aircraft with a very large cabin. The Falcon 6X will be best value for money in the 5,000nm segment, a class all its own.” concluded Trappier.