Aircraft Overview: Dassault Falcon 8X
Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 8X is a three-engine business jet that is produced by the French manufacturer. Although it has a different commercial designation, the 8X is a Falcon 7X airframe that incorporates certain modifications. According to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certificate data sheet for the 7X type, Falcon 7X airframes that incorporate modifications M1000 and M1254—which stretch the fuselage and incorporate EASy III avionics, respectively—use the Falcon 8X commercial designation. Dassault launched the Falcon 8X program on May 19, 2014, with the airframe subsequently making its first flight on Feb. 6, 2015, and receiving certification in June 2016.
Although the fuselage of the Falcon 8X is 3.6 ft. longer than that of the 7X—allowing it to have the longest cabin of any Falcon—both airframes share the same 19-passenger maximum seating capacity. The 8X’s 80.3-ft.-long fuselage yields a cabin that has a length of 42.8 ft. and a total volume of 1,695 ft.3—in comparison to the 7X’s respective figures of 39.07 ft. and 1,552 ft.3—with those figures excluding the baggage space and cockpit.
When compared to the other current Falcon airframes, the 8X has both the greatest range and the longest fuselage. The 8X’s range noted below exceeds that of the Falcon 7X (5,950 nm), 900LX (4,750 nm), 2000LXS (4,000 nm) and 2000S (3,350 nm), as well as the predicted range of the in-development 6X (5,500 nm).
From a performance perspective, the 8X is limited to a maximum operating Mach number (MMO) of 0.90 Mach between 28,000 ft. and 51,000 ft., with that latter altitude also representing the airframe’s maximum operating altitude. Other performance figures released by Dassault include a takeoff distance—assuming the airframe’s maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), standard conditions and sea-level altitude—of 5,880 ft., as well as an approach speed at the “typical landing weight” of 107 kt. indicated airspeed (KIAS).
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The Falcon 8X is powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines that have takeoff and maximum continuous static thrust limits—in standard conditions and at sea level—of 6,725 lb., an increase in comparison to the 6,405-lb. limitation of the 7X’s PW307A engines.
Another area where the 8X improves on the specifications of the 7X is in terms of maximum weight, with the 8X’s 73,000-lb. MTOW representing a 3,000 lb. increase over the 7X’s 70,000-lb. limitation. The fact that the maximum landing weight (62,400 lb.) is 85% of the MTOW is also promoted as being a benefit to operators, allowing for the operation of a short flight ahead of a much longer one without the need to refuel.
Falcon 8X operators are virtually unanimous in saying that the Dassault flagship is a substantial improvement over the smaller Falcon 7X. It flies higher, farther and more fuel efficiently. It’s more spacious inside and even quieter. It can be optionally equipped with high-speed Ka-band satcom connectivity, a larger, more functional galley and a full-length crew rest area. And its third-generation EASy III flight deck, FalconEye HUD/EVS/SVS and refined digital flight controls reduce pilot workload and improve situational awareness.
Overall though, Falcon 8X operators say their airplane is tough to beat. It has the lightest weight and the highest structural efficiency in its class. And even though it’s not the highest flying, fastest cruising or farthest flying large-cabin business jet, Brad Tousignant, who flies for a private owner in Colorado, notes, “It’s the only one with three-engine redundancy, plus it has the lowest fuel burn and great runway performance.”