Launched on Feb. 28, 2018, as a replacement for the abandoned 5X, the $47 million Falcon 6X prototype’s fuselage is nearing completion at the company’s Biarritz facility, and will be joined to the wing built at Bordeaux. Maiden flight is due in 2021, with service entry the following year. It will also fly quietly, on a pair of 13,460-lb.-thrust PW812D turbofans that Pratt & Whitney Canada expects to be 15 EPNdB below Stage 4 noise limits. It has “the tallest, widest cabin in business aviation” – 40 ft. 4 in. long, 6 ft. 6 in. high and 7 ft. 2 in. wide at the floor (8 ft. 6 in. maximum), not including cockpit and baggage.
Three standard floor plans are offered, accommodating up to 14 passengers, while air-conditioning is zoned into the cockpit, galley, and forward and aft cabin. Equivalent altitude is 3,900 ft. at FL 410, falling to a still-comfortable 6,000 ft. at the FL 510 limit.
EASy III avionics, including RDR4000 weather radar and FalconEye HUD and EVS to Land, ease the pilots’ workload. The 6X will be capable of steep approaches, like that at London City Airport, and able to operate from 3,000-ft. runways with reduced load. NBAA IFR ranges are 5,500 nm with eight passengers at Mach 0.80, or 5,100 nm at Mach 0.85.
Bombardier Global 8000
“Ultra-long-range” is supposed to refer to the aircraft’s traverse of the globe, not its prospects of coming to market. However, despite many other recent distractions, Bombardier insists the 8000 project is still flying – only there are hints that the company realizes that a simple, sawn-off 7500 is no longer good enough. Retention of the two 16,500-lb.-thrust GE Passport 20 turbofans in the new 8000 would appear certain; and the big brother’s Mach 0.85 transonic wing a probability. The rest of the airplane’s features might be more fluid at this stage.
The former Bombardier CSeries has long been expected to offer a business jet derivative. Current Airbus documents show that two A220-300s (list price $92 million) have been ordered by “government, executive or private” operators but are yet to be delivered. They do not aspire to an ACJ designation and are believed to be earmarked for VIP charter flights by a contractor associated with the French postal service. Range of the standard -300 airliner is 3,350 nm.
Launched in May 2017 at Geneva’s EBACE, the private version of the second-generation A330 airliner (-800 and -900) offers 9,400-nm range with 25 passengers in the latest style, Harmony cabin, Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and Sharklet wingtips. Price $260 million to $300 million. No orders are recorded.
Just one of the original eight orders for this derivation from an airliner (a -900; list price $317 million) has survived, intended for an undisclosed business operator, who has yet to take delivery. However, in May, three more -900s were ordered by the German government for VIP transport. The Luftwaffe is paying $230 million per bare airframe; plus $103 million each for outfitting; plus $82 million each for defensive aids. Range with 25 passengers is 10,800 nm.
COMAC Business Jet
A “CBJ” version of the 90-seat ARJ21-700 Xiangfeng airliner was formally launched at ABACE in Shanghai this April, when it was renamed from ARJ21-BIZ. The first purchase was, in fact, in 2014, since which time at least four have been ordered, for the government of Congo (one) and two Chinese companies. Air testing of the prototype began on Nov. 22, 2017.
In true decadent, capitalistic style, the CBJ offers wide-cabin comfort, augmented by flexible interior layout and advanced entertainment systems. Seating is variable between 12 and 29 and there are 125 cu. ft. of cabin storage volume. A published floor plan comprises private, en-suite bedroom; four-seat lounge; eight-seat table; and rear refreshment area and lavatory. Cabin noise is advertised as 55 dB.
With two General Electric CF34-10A turbofans, the CBJ will cruise at up to Mach 0.78 and 39,000 ft. Standard range is 1,800 nm, increasing to 3,130 nm if the option is taken to add extra fuel tanks, reducing underfloor baggage space to 710 cu. ft.
In June, COMAC offered a related version, the medical emergency service ARJ21 MES, which has a quick-change cabin that can be equipped with beds and life-support equipment.
Our roundup of midsize to very large business jets about to enter the market.