At NBAA-BACE 2022, Dassault Aviation provided updates for the new Falcon 6X extra-widebody twin and the Falcon 10X ultra-long-range business jet.
The Falcon 6X is entering the final phase of its certification flight test campaign with EASA and the FAA, setting the stage for the aircraft to enter service in mid-2023. “The 6X has distinguished itself as an extremely remarkable aircraft, sailing through its certification campaign and consistently wowing pilots and engineers with its flawless performance,” said Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO at Dassault Aviation. “It will soon be impressing customers, too.”
In August 2022, the aircraft’s 13,500 lb-thrust Pratt & Whitney 812D engine received EASA certification. FAA approval is pending. Late July 2022, the first production 6X touched down after a round-the-world demonstration tour intended to show the full maturity and reliability of aircraft systems. The campaign included 50 flights over five continents and covered 50,000 nautical miles.
“The tour was a rigorous real-world test to ensure Dassault can deliver a mature product with full operational readiness of all systems from day one,” said Trappier. “Pilots gave all systems, including new features of the EASy IV flight deck, high marks and assessed performance as ‘spot on’.”
Connectivity during the demonstration flight was reported to be excellent, even in the most remote legs of the tour. Inflight, measurements and passenger reactions confirmed that the 6X will be the quietest Falcon yet.
The 19th Falcon 6X is currently on the final assembly line and three customer aircraft are in completion at the Dassault interior facility in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Meanwhile, with parts manufacture now in full swing, Dassault Aviation is gearing up to produce initial subassemblies for the Falcon 10X. “All the elements for another great Falcon are literally coming together in our various production facilities,” said Trappier. “This new aircraft, the largest purpose-built business jet on the market, will embody the latest technology and set a new benchmark for passenger experience.”
The first long-lead items, including the landing gear, have been manufactured and are ready for assembly. A first fully representative composite wing is also being prepared for static and fatigue testing.
Dassault said development of the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce Pearl 10X is progressing well, too. To date, Rolls-Royce has logged over 1,000 test hours on the 18,000 lb-plus thrust engine, including runs on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Rolls-Royce recently broke ground on a new production support facility adjacent to the aircraft final assembly line in Bordeaux-Mérignac, France. The flight test campaign for the Pearl 10X will take place on a Rolls-Royce flying test bed, scheduled to begin in 2023.
With the Falcon 10X, Dassault is taking a new approach to ground testing, to demonstrate the maturity of all systems well before flight. Two multisystem test benches at Dassault’s Istres, France, flight test centre will be utilised for the extensive ground test campaign. The benches are nearly identical and each is equipped with a full flight deck and subsystems computer suites representative of those used on the actual aircraft. These test benches will verify proper functioning of avionics, engine controls, flight controls, hydraulics, electrical distribution, braking, fire protection and other aircraft systems. A third test bench, at Dassault Aviation headquarters in Saint-Cloud, outside Paris, replicates the flight deck and flight control system.
In another announcement at the show, Dassault Aviation introduced the fourth generation of the award-winning EASy flight deck, with more vivid displays, more processing power, new capabilities and additional safety features.
Based on a Honeywell Primus Epic-based system, EASy IV will be standard on the Falcon 6X, due to enter service by mid-2023, and, beginning in 2023, on all new-build Falcon 8X aircraft. It will also be available as an upgrade on earlier Falcon 7X and 8X aircraft.