5X, Dassault’s newest and largest Falcon yet, is taking on full form. The twin jet’s fuselage sections were recently mated and done so more quickly than anticipated at the French planemaker’s Biarritz facility on the Atlantic coast.
Meanwhile, the wings, which will span 85 feet and a soupcon more, are near completion at the Martignas plant to the north in Bordeaux.
Those units will be shipped within a month to the Merignac plant, also in Bordeaux, for joining and where Serial Number 1 – not a prototype since it’s being constructed with production tooling – will be fitted with two 11,450 lb/thrust Snecma Silvercrest turbofans and undergo first flight, now planned for the first quarter of 2015.
Two additional aircraft will eventually participate in the flight test program.
An up close view of the aircraft by Aviation Week Editors William Garvey and Rupa Haria this week immediately confirmed its formidable bulk, with its chromate green flanks stretching 82.6 ft from nosecone to tail, and the thing rising 24.5 feet from ground level to the top of its fin.
Step into the cabin, now an empty cavern padded with insulation and bundles of wires, and the appeal of its broad and tall interior – 78 inches from flat floor to ceiling, 102 inches across and nearly 40 feet from cockpit bulkhead to the rear of the lav – is obvious. Space and windows everywhere, the interior will feature three seating zones, typically accommodating 12-14 passengers.
The copious cockpit will be fitted with the super large screens and state-of-the-art software comprising the next generation EASy system, including a new Honeywell FMS, RDR 4000 weather radar, Elbit HUD that combines SVS and EVA; a copilot HUD is optional.
With an expected range of 5200 nm at .80 Mach (MMO should be .90 Mach), the grande $45 million Falcon is drawing attention and orders, according to the company, though it declines to offer specifics. Certification is anticipated in the last quarter of 2016, with deliveries to begin six months later – time enough for the manufacturer to smooth out any production, system or support kinks.
(All photos: Dassault Falcon)