Luxury Enhanced With Fighter DNA
Big airplanes tend to land at big airports — they need the runway length. And little airplanes are generally suited to little airports in out-of-the-way places. But the Dassault Falcon 6X is a big business jet with a big cabin that lands almost everywhere
“The 6X is scheduled to make its maiden flight in early 2021, with certification and entry into service in 2022.”
“Our advanced military technologies have many practical applications for civil aircraft.”
The Dassault Falcon 6X has the largest cross-section of any purpose-built business jet. It is 1.98m tall and 2.58m wide. Passing a fellow passenger in the aisle doesn’t require an awkward ballet, as in smaller jets. The conference and dining table doesn’t have you knocking elbows. There is more than enough personal space for everyone.
The cabin length, excluding the cockpit and baggage area, is 12.30m. This provides ample space for three large living areas as well as a kitchen galley forward and a lavatory aft. Customers can opt to have a second lavatory and crew rest area up front, which is better for the crew’s privacy but can also be used by passengers.
And yet, this big, comfortable airplane can slip into, and power out of, smaller 4,000-foot runways with ease. That opens up a wider world of potential airport destinations in more interesting places — both out of the way spots on remote islands or in the heart of downtowns like London City.
Covering the Distance
The 6X is the latest in the Falcon line, benefiting from Dassault’s latest technological advances. It is scheduled to make its maiden flight in early 2021, with certification and entry into service in 2022.
“Many aircraft owners in Asia want larger aircraft with more room for their entire family or peers. Unlike aircraft owners in North America and Europe, they are generally flying longer distances due to the vastness of Asia Pacific,”says Carlos Brana, Executive Vice President at Dassault Aviation.
The 6X’s 5,500 nm (10,186km) range allows a direct flight from Southeast Asia, including from Singapore and Jakarta, to anywhere in Asia, Australasia and the Middle East. It can also fly nonstop from Tokyo to Los Angeles or Beijing to London.
The fuel efficiency of the 6X’s Pratt & Whitney PW812D engines helps in achieving that long-range performance with the added benefit of low emissions. This D (for Dassault) variant is a 13,000-14,000 lb thrust turbofan optimized for the fast, high-flying 6X. The aircraft can operate as high as 51,000 ft and has a maximum speed of Mach 0.9, nearly approaching the speed of sound.
Dassault has invested heavily to keep passengers in the quietest of environments, using sensitive noise-testing labs to identify and isolate even minor sources of noise. Current aircraft are achieving remarkable noise levels as low as 48 dB SIL, about what you would find in a suburban living room. Dassault achieves this by reducing airframe vibration from the engines and by placing noise cancellation materials between the outer skin of the aircraft and the cabin shell.
The cabin has plenty of mood-enhancing natural light thanks to the 30 large-size passenger windows. The 6X is also the first jet in business aviation to have a skylight located in the galley. This brings more natural light to a part of the cabin that usually suffers a lack of it.
“The air inside the cabin remains fresh and clean, thanks to an advanced air purification system,” adds Brana.
For entertainment during long flights, passengers can enjoy TV programmes and movies on large-screen monitors. The 6X is also equipped with satellite communications so passengers are constantly connected by phone or Internet. Wide bandwidth even allows live video streaming.
A flight attendant is able to prepare elaborate meals in the large galley, which has a chiller, oven, microwave, ample surface space and plenty of storage.
On a more technical level, the 6X also excels.
All Falcons are known for their short-field capabilities, through its advanced wing design, and the 6X is no exception. Its extendable leading-edge slats and trailing-edge flaps enable approach speeds as low as 109 knots indicated air speed (202 km/h)—about 10 knots slower than competitors, which is critical for landing, as well as take-off, performance.
“When you arrive at an airport with a short runway, you naturally want to descend as slowly as possible for a more controlled landing with maximum safety,” says Brana.
A new addition to the 6X wings are high-lift devices called flaperons that enhance this capability. With such an ideally balanced wing design and features, the 6X can easily operate at such challenging, short-field and steep approach airports as London City or Lugano, Switzerland.
“This is extremely useful, as many airports in Asia – particularly in the Pacific islands, the Indian subcontinent, Papua New Guinea, Japan and Southeast Asia – have short runways,” says Brana.
Some airports in Asia – particularly in western China, Nepal, Bhutan and northern India – are challenging because those runways are in mountainous high-altitude areas where high-lift devices like the 6X’s provide better performance in the thinner and hot air.
More Than Skin-Deep
Day or night, in poor weather conditions, the 6X provides pilots with maximum situational awareness thanks to FalconEye, a head-up display (HUD) combining enhanced vision with synthetic vision. Dassault is the first business jet maker to develop a HUD with this unique technology. FalconEye features a fourth-generation multi-sensor camera whose six sensors present top quality images in both the visible and infrared spectrums. These images are combined with worldwide synthetic vision databases that map terrain, obstacles, navigation, and airport and runway data.
FalconEye is derived from a military technology that Dassault Aviation has applied to its civil aircraft. “What makes Dassault Aviation unique is that we are the only business jet-maker that also makes fighter jets. In fact, both are designed by the same engineers and manufactured at the same facilities,” says Brana.
“Our advanced military technologies have many practical applications for civil aircraft. This is how we stay ahead of our competitors and offer customers the most technologically advanced, most capable business jets in the world.
“When people walk through the 6X mock-up for the first time, they are impressed by its beauty. But with Dassault aircraft, beauty is more than skin deep,” Brana adds.