Dassault Falcon 6X On Course For Early 2021 First Flight
Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 6X large, long-range business jet remains on schedule, despite challenges from the novel coronavirus pandemic, with first flight planned for early 2021, the company says.
“Bringing the Falcon 6X to market on schedule is a top priority for the company,” said Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO. “Our planning and production staff have been diligent and resourceful in adapting procedures to new sanitary guidelines to keep this program running smoothly. Suppliers have made “extraordinary efforts” to support the program as well.
Certification and entry-into-service for the Falcon 6X is expected in 2022. The flight test team is coordinating with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA to finalize the flight test and validation program.
The first of three flight test aircraft has entered ground testing. The other two are in advanced stages of assembly and long cycle parts production for serialized production has begun.
The wings have been mated to the fuselage on the second aircraft and the third aircraft is in the early stages of assembly, Dassault says. Each will be heavily instrumented and capable of performing aerodynamic, performance and systems testing. Aircraft three will receive a full interior to evaluate systems functionality, acoustics, airflow, comfort and other factors. Interior furnishings, environmental systems, electronics and other equipment are now being tested in a ground test rig before installation on the aircraft.
Dassault is assembling the aircraft at its facilities at the Bordeaux-Merignac Airport in France.
In addition, assembly of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D engines and nacelles is ramping up in parallel with aircraft production, Dassault says. The engine completed an initial airborne test campaign earlier in 2020 on board Pratt & Whitney’s Boeing 747 testbed aircraft. A second series of flight tests are scheduled for this summer. The engine has completed more than 200 hr. in the air and more than 1,600 hr. on the ground and has completed initial certification tests, including bird strike, ice ingestion and blade-off testing.
Dassault’s Falcon 6X began life as the 5X, but the program ended after the company abandoned Safran’s Silvercrest engines because of ongoing technical problems. In its place, Dassault launched the larger 6X in early 2018 with the same fuselage cross section, Pratt & Whitney engines and a 5,500-mi. range and maximum speed of Mach 0.90. Its cabin’s size measures 6 ft. 6 in. tall and 8 ft. 6 in. wide and offers the largest cross section of any purpose-built business jet, it says.
Analysts expect Dassault to launch a larger and longer-range variant of the 6X to compete with Bombardier’s Global 7500 and Gulfstream’s G650ER. Some have speculated the announcement would be made at the National Business Association Aviation Conference & Exhibition in October. The show was recently canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.