Falcon 6X

Falcon 6X Debuts in Virtual Rollout Ceremony

Dassault Aviation celebrated the rollout of the super-midsize jet, a milestone on its path to first flight early next year.

Inside Charles Lindbergh Hall at Dassault Aviation’s Bordeaux-Mérignac final-assembly facility in France, Dassault faced the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic head-on and rolled out the super-midsize Falcon 6X during an online ceremony broadcast live on YouTube—a first for a business jet program. Pilot and broadcasting veteran Miles O’Brien hosted the event, which featured Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier. 

“Instead of violins and Versailles, the virus has put us in the virtual world,” O’Brien said. “But that in no way diminishes the excitement we have for the accomplishment we herald today. Mérignac is a special, magical place. This is where Falcons come together and first take flight.” More than 10,000 Dassault aircraft, both military and civil, have been manufactured here, including 2,600 Falcons. “In this corner of Bordeaux,” he said, “the beautiful, bold vintages never stop improving. The Falcon 6X is just the latest baby, the best and brightest, of course, to hatch from this high-tech nest.”

Today’s rollout is a significant achievement,” Trappier said. “I am very pleased to present the addition of an all-new aircraft design within the Falcon family, the ultra widebody Falcon 6X.” 

He explained the key goals of the program, first being efficiency. “Number two is comfort. It’s something which is important for us. The 6X is going to be 5,500-nautical-mile range, L.A. to Moscow...but what is great with the 6X is the roomy fuselage; it gives this cabin great comfort. By keeping the flexibility of all our Falcons, that is very important for our customers. Safety is something which is over everything. Thanks to the flight control system, we have a very safe aircraft. Thanks also to the flight control system, we have a very smooth flight, and that is also good for the passengers.” 

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The 6X program remains on track for first flight—which will be hull number three, the one rolled out December 8—in early 2021, and certification and entry into service will follow in 2022. Next steps for the 6X are ground testing and systems checks before the first flight. 

During the rollout ceremony, Trappier shared some thoughts about the late Serge Dassault, who passed away in 2018. “This is the first rollout since we lost him. He would have liked and would have been proud to assist with this event. He was very fond of development of new programs, and the 6X progress and success would have been very important for him."

Addressing the test pilots, who stood near the 6X during the rollout ceremony, Trappier said, “Now the bird is yours.” 

Falcon 6X: Longer Legs

When Dassault engineers were tasked with designing a new airplane to replace the canceled 5X, one challenge was how to manage the greater weight of the newly selected Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW812D engines. The basic dimensions of the cabin didn’t change, but the engineers added 20 inches to the cabin length to balance the increased weight. This not only enabled retention of the unique skylight in the galley area but also the 30 larger windows as well as more room in the forward galley or crew rest area or more space in the aft lounge.

Both the 5X and 6X cabin feature the largest cross-section dimensions of a purpose-built business jet—Dassault calls it an “ultra widebody”—with a height of 78 inches (1.98 meters) and width of 102 inches. By comparison, the flagships of competitors Bombardier (Global 7500) and Gulfstream (G700) have smaller cabin dimensions, although they are much longer. The Global 7500 cabin measures 74 inches high and 96 inches wide. The G700 cabin is 75 inches high and 98 inches wide. Baggage is accommodated in a 155-cubic-foot compartment inside the pressure vessel, plus there is another unpressurized compartment of 76 cubic feet. 

Up to 16 passengers can fly on the 6X in three lounge areas. With the increased cabin width, the aisle is five inches wider than on earlier Falcon models.

The 6X carries more fuel than was planned for the 5X and thus can achieve a maximum range of 5,500 nautical miles at Mach .80 or 5,100 nautical miles at Mach .85 with eight passengers and three crew. One significant difference is that the 6X is Dassault’s first business jet with a nitrogen-based fuel pressurization system to lower the risk of fuel tank ignition (although earlier Falcons do have pressurized fuel tanks). 

The 6X’s maximum operating Mach number is Mach 0.90 and the ceiling is 51,000 feet. Powered back to Mach 0.85, the 6X can link Los Angeles and London, New York and Moscow, or Paris and Beijing while maintaining a 3,900-foot cabin altitude at 41,000 feet.

Maximum landing weight is 85 percent of the 77,460-pound maximum takeoff weight, making possible short flights followed by longer unrefueled legs. Takeoff distance at sea level and mtow is 5,480 feet. Approach speed at typical landing weights (eight passengers and three crew) is a low 109 kias, and coupled with steep approach capability to 6 degrees, landing can be safely done at smaller airports such as London City, Lugano, and Saint-Tropez.

Product Support for Dassault Falcon 6X

Dassault’s product-support teams have been working alongside engineers since the beginning of the program to prepare the 6X for entry into service and normal operations. There are more than 60 Dassault service centers, 16 regional spares distribution depots, and more than 100 field representatives worldwide to support Falcon jets.

A new feature on the 6X is the FalconScan onboard integrated maintenance system. FalconScan monitors more than 100,000 parameters and Dassault experts have designed algorithms to facilitate fault detection and troubleshooting, as well as trends across the 6X fleet.