has unveiled the newest member of its Falcon Jet family. And while the Model 8X is essentially an iteration of the three-engine model one digit removed, its additional cabin space and increased fuel load make it the French planemaker’s most comfortable long-ranger.
Derived from the Falcon 7X, the new model features a 42.6 ft (13 m)-long cabin, as compared to the 39.1 ft (11.9 m)-long passenger section of the earlier model. Significantly, an increase in fuel capacity combined with engine tweaks and aerodynamic refinements have upped range from the 7X’s 5,950 nm to 6,450 nm for the 8X, and that’s with three crewmembers, eight passengers, a Mach .80 cruise and NBAA IFR reserves upon arrival.
The range boost means the 8X can carry that same contingent from New York to Dubai, Sao Paulo to Moscow, Paris to Tokyo, and Beijing to London or New York. Like previous Falcons, the 8X will be able to meet the demanding approach and takeoff restrictions for operating into.
The introduction, made at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva in May, follows on the heels of the twin jet Falcon 5X’s introduction at the NBAA annual convention in Las Vegas last Fall.
Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, said this was “the first time in our history” the company has launched two new Falcon models in so short a timeframe. Nevertheless, he expressed confidence in the success of both, adding, “I’m quite sure the market is going to be very enthusiastic about the 8X.”
Although the 5X cabin has a larger cross section, Olivier Villa, senior vice president, Civil Aircraft, said the 7X dimensions were “very well accepted by the market,” a view underscored by the fact that 218 are in service, with s/n 250 nearing completion. Rather, operators wanted more range and the 8X was the response. And because it’s a derivative, it is expected to earn its certification and enter service in 2016, a year ahead of the all-new 5X.
The 8X’s 3.5 ft fuselage stretch, combined with a 3,000 lb increase in max takeoff weight to 73,000 lb (41,000 lb max zero fuel weight) were key to giving the new model its 14-hour mission endurance. Also contributing to the range boost are a 5% increase in takeoff thrust of the three Pratt & Whitney PW307 turbofans to 6725 lb thrust (@SL-ISA +17C), along with refinements of the main wing, including redesigned winglets, that shaved 600 lb from the structure.
Although the 7X and 8X have the same overall 761 sq ft (70.7 sq m) wing area, the latter’s new winglets increase the span slightly to 86 ft 3 in (26.29 m).
The cabin stretch, which increases overall length to 80 ft 3 in (24.46 m), allowed Dassault engineers to fit the fuselage with up to 16 windows per side, flooding the cabin and and galley with natural light – so much so, that the overhead skylight in the 5X’s galley was deemed unnecessary for the 8X.
The 1,765 cubic ft (48 cu m) cabin, the most voluminous Falcon yet, is typically divided into three passenger seating sections plus crew rest area and lav, galley and aft lav, but Dassault is offering more than 30 different floor plans, including one with an optional shower.
The aircraft will be certified to 51,000 feet and maintain a 3,900 ft cabin altitude at FL410.
The cockpit will feature the latest version of the Dassault’s EASy integrated flight deck, including SVS and EVS in the left seat HUD (a copilot HUD is planned), next generation FMS and digital flight control system.
Dassault is emphasizing the 8X’s operating performance and economy, noting its three-engine configuration provides better hot/high figures than the competition and allows it to serve hundreds more airports as well. Moreover, it claims the new tri-jet will be up to 35% more fuel efficient and, thanks is large measure to its MSG-3 design, will be easier and less expensive to maintain – with increased inspection periods – and should match the Falcon fleet’s 99.7% dispatch reliability rate upon service entry.
The first 8X is under construction now and first flight is expected in the first quarter of 2015. An initial production rate of three aircraft per month is planned, “and then we’ll see,” says Villa.
Dassault estimated list price for the 8X as 10% higher than that of the $52.8 million 7X, which works out to approximately $58 million.