- 01 Nov 2019
- Mike Chase
- Jets Comparison
As the Dassault Falcon 6X development program moves towards flight testing and eventual certification, how are the French OEM’s original claims about its spacious new jet holding up? Matt Harris reviews…Back to Articles
When it announced the Falcon 6X in February 2018, Dassault Falcon promised a twin-engine jet offering “best-in-class comfort and performance”; an aircraft that would set a new standard in the long-range, large-cabin business jet segment.
More than two years later, as the model approaches the start of a rigorous testing campaign scheduled for 2021, Dassault continues to assert its earlier claims. And now it can begin to point to some hard evidence to substantiate them.
Despite the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, progress has continued on the development of the Falcon 6X and getting it to market on time for deliveries to begin in 2022 ranks among the company’s leading priorities.
To help with that goal, the first of three aircraft built to take part in the certification process has already been powered up and is undergoing ground testing. Aircraft #2 and #3 are in advanced stages of assembly.
Each of the test aircraft will be heavily instrumented and capable of performing aerodynamic, performance and systems testing. The third aircraft will also receive a fully finished interior to evaluate systems functionality, acoustics, airflow, comfort and other factors.
As referenced, comfort will be one of the stand-out features on the Falcon 6X when it comes to market.
Maximizing Space for Comfort
Right from the beginning, Dassault gave itself a substantial canvas from which to optimize passenger and crew comfort. The Falcon 6X offers huge cabin dimensions, including 6ft 6ins height, 8ft 6ins width, and 40ft 4ins length.
Such are the Falcon 6X’s cabin measurements that Dassault categorizes it as an ‘ultra-widebody twin’ aircraft. The cabin is designed to seat between 12 and 16 passengers in three separate cabin zones, ample space to ensure optimal comfort on journeys up to 5,500 nautical miles.
But there’s far more to comfort than sheer volume. Allowing natural light to flow into the cabin, the Falcon 6X design incorporates 30 extra-large windows, and an overhead skylight (a first in Business Aviation) will illuminate the usually dim galley area.
Beyond the physical dimensions of the cabin and the natural lighting afforded by its windows, significant thought has gone in to how to optimize every inch of the space — specifically with the selection of materials, textures and finishes, the furniture and furnishings, and the way the interior lighting, color schemes and cabin contours blend together.
According to Dassault, sensory design played the leading role in finding the best cabin balance.
Sensory design seeks to achieve innovative management of air, light and sound in a way that maximizes the health and wellness of those utilizing a space.
In the case of the Falcon 6X, the upholstered areas throughout the cabin will utilize micro-perforated fabrics, woven textiles and 3D fabrics, which, according to Dassault’s design engineers, offer protection from microbes and absorb sound. All of the materials and finishings are also optimized to absorb or reflect light, with the aim of providing passengers a soothing travel environment.
Further consideration has gone into the cabin lighting (an area of rapidly growing sophistication in today’s Business Aviation industry). The Falcon 6X will incorporate smart-control mood lighting that varies color patterns depending on the type of activity, time of day and season.
Ultimately, the lighting can be adjusted to enhance productivity, relaxation and sleep as necessary, with the result that passengers arrive at their destination fresh and ready for action wherever they fly to in the world.
Passengers will also enjoy a high-speed connectivity system that ensures seamless in-flight communications and high-speed access to the internet, and all electronic functions are designed to be within easy reach. Recessed controls light up when a hand is near and dim when not in use.
The OEM is already receiving accolades for the painstaking and pioneering efforts of its design studio.
In September, the Falcon 6X won the International Yacht and Aviation Award for interior design, an award reflecting “the innovative manner in which our in-house Design Studio conceived the Falcon 6X cabin,” according to Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO, Dassault Aviation.
“Those efforts entailed going well beyond simply improving the aircraft’s interior decoration,” he added.
Pilot Comfort Not Overlooked
The same focus on providing Falcon 6X cabin occupants with advanced comfort, has also been placed on increasing pilot comfort. The cockpit provides more headroom than competing jets, and offers 30% more window space to maximize situational awareness.
Meanwhile, the pilot seats can recline to 130 degrees, while a wider cockpit allows entry without the need to climb across the center console, says Dassault.
The state-of-the-art, third-generation EASy III avionics system, optimized situational awareness, and enhanced safety by design will combine to minimize pilot stress and fatigue, reducing workload and offering greater peace of mind.
When it arrives on the market, the Falcon 6X is expected to offer several other advantages, according to the OEM. Among those is the aircraft’s short-field capabilities, synonymous with the company’s other business jets.
And, Dassault says the Falcon 6X will also be able to land with more fuel than competing aircraft — ideal for making a short flight to an interim airport, picking up passengers, then continuing overseas to its destination without needing to refuel.
Low-noise, low-vibration Pratt & Whitney PW812D engines are expected to deliver double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency, which Dassault says will set a new ‘green’ engine standard while saving on operating costs for operators.
All-in-all, as the Falcon 6X gears up for flight tests, operators can look forward to seeing a well thought-out, well-balanced business jet that does all of the things Dassault promised it would — and perhaps even more.
More information from www.falcon6x.com