Falcon 6X Battles Through Supply Chain Issues

Credit: Mark Wagner/Aviation Images

GENEVA—Work is progressing on Dassault’s new Falcon 6X and Falcon 10X, chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said in an EBACE press conference, but the OEM has pushed back the Falcon 6X’s entry-into-service date to manage its workload following COVID-19-related disruptions to its supply chain and increased certification requirements from regulators.

Dassault is showcasing fully completed Falcon 6X, 8X and 2000LX on static display. The 6X is one of the first with a completed cabin. There is also a cabin and cockpit mockup of the 10X at its stand within the Palexpo Convention Center. 

The Falcon 6X will depart on a world tour in June as part of the aircraft maturation process.

The Falcon 6X is making progress in its certification program with three test flight aircraft completing more than 850 flight hrs. A fourth aircraft is on display at EBACE, while a fifth aircraft is in completion at Dassault’s center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and additional aircraft in production.

Commenting of the delay in the 6X’s certification, which has moved from 2022 to mid-2023, Trappier said that there is no issue with the aircraft.

“It’s only a matter of workload,” he said, with suppliers grappling with the impact from the pandemic. Dassault’s goal was to stay on schedule but at the same time, the company will not take risks on the program.

Progress continues on the Falcon 10X with much of the detail and design frozen. Bench testing of the Rolls-Royce Pearl X engine has completed more than 1,000 hrs. The aircraft will be capable of flying on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Certification is expected in late 2025.

Dassault had a “great” 2021, Trappier said, with robust demand for its products as buyers increasingly recognize the benefits of business aviation. The “sudden demand” for aircraft has led to low inventory of used aircraft and increased activity, which also has helped the sale of new aircraft. About 20% of Dassault’s customers are first-time buyers. That led to orders of 51 aircraft in 2021, compared to 15 in 2020.

That momentum continues around the world, in particular in North America and Europe, although demand is sluggish in China.

“At the same time, environmental concerns are continuing to trigger tax-regulatory impulses, and also the taxonomy currently being discussed with the European Commission,” Trappier warned. The trend is of particular concern at a time when Dassault has been studying new technologies to help the industry meet growing emissions constraints and support the environment.

The use of SAF is the most promising way in the short term to decarbonize aviation and meet the goal of zero emissions by 2050, he said.

It is of “utmost importance” that the industry quickly defines the international standard for SAF production and distribution and that manufacturers continue to promote its usage.

“Hopefully, this will soon help to make SAF readily available around the world,” Trappier said. 

The company and engine manufacturers are working to decrease energy consumption by developing lighter structural materials and improved aerodynamics as well as leveraging flight-planning tools to help operators plan the most fuel-efficient routes.

Trappier began his presentation at EBACE with an acknowledgement of the Ukrainian people, who are just 860 mi. away from Geneva.

“There is a war going on in their country, which also means in Europe,” Trappier said. “People are dying to preserve their families, their way of living and their freedom. To think, no one could have predicted such a disaster six months ago.”

It’s a lesson all need to remember, he said, adding: “Peace is very fragile, and we need to spare no effort to maintain it.”

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify the manufacturer of the Rolls-Royce Pearl X.

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.