THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Dassault Falcon’s longer-than-standard 8X impressed everyone when it was first introduced. Now, the French aircraft manufacturer is banking on the wide-bodied 6X to up the ante even more. Here’s an update from the brand.
By Terrie V Gutierrez
Sexy jets are always a crowd- drawer and nowhere was this more apparent than at the recently concluded Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) show and exhibition last December 2018. The aviation conference attracted its fair share of eye-catching business jets, including flagship Falcon 8X and the new 6X, which were highlighted which were highlighted by French manufacturer Dassault Falcon during the show.
According to the manufacturer, the large-cabin Falcons, to which the 8X belong, account for almost half of new deliveries. This trend is likely to continue, especially with the ultra-widebody Falcon 6X, which is expected to have a bigger cabin volume than any business jet in its category. There has been a significant interest in the 6X, which is now in its detail design phase with initial deliveries slated for 2022.
The new long-range standard
Entering its second year of service as the company’s flagship, the 8X is a versatile jet. With its 6,450 nautical miles (nm)/11,945 km range and all the advanced technological features of the popular 7X, the 8X is able to perform an extensive list of one-leg missions, including Beijing to New York, Hong Kong to Seattle, Paris to Singapore and Sao Paulo to Moscow while also being able to easily access short runway airports like Cannes or London City, where big business jets could not land.
A big selling point for the 8X is that it has the longest cabin in the Falcon line – longer by 3.5 feet to be exact – along with more than 30 standard cabin configurations, including a VIP lounge that could be converted to a crew rest on very long flights. It also has the brightest and quietest cabin among business jets. When the 8X was designed, it was discovered that the longer cabin needed more light, especially at the front, to avoid claustrophic sensations. Engineers solved the problem by adding two new windows per side, allowing more natural light to come in. Cabin altitude is set at 3,900 feet while cruising at 43,000 feet, which means reduced fatigue and less jet lag on arrival. Noise levels are at a whisper-quiet 52 decibels.
As for state-of-the-art tech options, the 8X has them in spades, including Dassault’s industry-leading FalconEye Combined Vision System, which combines synthetic and enhanced vision capabilities and the FalconConnect, which integrates all cockpit and cabin ground and satellite communications, making onboard connectivity systems more convenient to use and control.
As the newest of the Falcon lineup, the highly anticipated Falcon 6X benefits from advantages of its predecessors. It has the best features from the company’s business and fighter aircraft expertise and promises unparalleled passenger comfort, maximum mission flexibility and the most advanced cockpit technologies available.
As the virtual reality demonstration of the 6X cabin at the MEBAA shows, it’s looking like the new plane is going to be the most spacious, advanced and versatile twinjet in the long-range business jet segment.
With a cabin height of 1.98 metres, 2.58 metres wide, and a length of 12.30 metres, the 6X offers the most interior space in its class. It can comfortably accommodate 12-16 passengers in three separate lounge areas and like the 8X, offers multiple layout configurations, most of which feature a large entryway, a crew rest area and a spacious rear lounge. All these translate to greater privacy and comfort, especially on long overnight flights.
The manufacturer’s in-house Design Studio completely rethought and restyled the cabin interior, based on feedback from customers. The result is a cabin with flowing and uninterrupted lines that add to the feeling of spaciousness.
The wider body of the 6X allows for a wider aisle compared to previous Falcons and more elbow room. It also makes it easier for people to move from one part of the cabin to the other. The plane also has large windows and an industry-first skylight. The plane’s 30 large windows provide unprecedented views and lots of natural light, while a skylight in the galley area adds some much-needed natural light to the normally dim galley area.
While passenger comfort is paramount, the 6X’s impressive redesign includes a new ultra-efficient wing, more space in the cockpit and a Digital Flight Control System (DCFS) that will help reduce pilot workload and enhance performance. The cockpit has more headroom than any other aircraft and 30 percent more window space for greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground. The pilot seats recline to 130 degrees, and the broader cockpit allows entry and egress without climbing across the center console. Dassault’s FalconSphere II electronic flight bags are integrated into the console. There’s also more storage space for the flight crew.
The 6X will also be equipped with the FalconEye, which will come standard with the aircraft.
Whatever it takes
In support of its aircraft worldwide, Dassault Aviation has 50 service centres on six continents, plus 16 regional spares distribution depots and more than 100 field representatives.
The company also deploys expedited go-teams called FalconResponse, which is a comprehensive portfolio of Aircraft on Ground (AOG) services. This means that if a plane needs emergency repair, a call to the global 24/7 Falcon Command Center, activates a dedicated go-team of experts who will service the aircraft and return it to flying conditions as quickly as possible. If necessary, a support aircraft is put on standby to bring the aircraft to a repair facility. Another industry first, alternative lift flights, are also given to passengers.