Business Aviation Market Intelligence

Dassault Aviation Looks to New Horizons With New Jets

Dassault Aviation Looks to New Horizons With New Jets
Dassault Aviation

On May 4, 1963, Dassault Aviation’s first business jet, the Mystère 20, took to the air. In the months that followed the aircraft would be rebranded as the Falcon 20, which the company deemed a better name for the American market where its success was essential.

That success would come quickly. Following a visit to Dassault in the early 1960s, legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh discover the aircraft and quickly informed Juan Trippe, the pioneering founder of Pan American Airlines, about the aircraft, as he knew Tripp was looking for suitable aircraft to begin a business jet division. Pan Am, as it would later be known, would go on to place a firm order for 40 Falcon 20s, and take out options on a further 120 aircraft.

The Falcon 20 set the pattern for all subsequent Dassault business jets.”

Its flight controls, systems and structures borrowed heavily from Dassault’s Ouragan jet fighter-bomber, France’s first.

That infusion of fighter DNA made the Falcon 20 lighter and stronger than other contemporary jets, and far faster, with a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.88. Thanks to powered servo flight controls and aerodynamics from the Ouragan, pilots swooned over the aircraft’s superior handling.

The aircraft was a true fusion of market driven comfort wrapped around a core of fighter technology. For six decades now, that formula has not changed. Today, Dassault is the only company that builds fighters and business jets.

While other sixties era business jet brands—Hawker Siddeley, North American Aviation, Aero Commander, even storied Learjet—have faded from the scene, Dassault continues to design and build the most advanced jets in business aviation.

Dassault’s current flagship, the Falcon 8X, can fly up to 12,000 km. The region figures heavily in the company’s long-term plans. Today, more than 1,200 business jets are based in the Asia Pacific region, with new markets such as Vietnam and Malaysia emerging.

Dassault Aviation is bracketing the 8X with two all-new ultrawidebody designs intended to make occupants feel more as if they were in their own homes than in a business jet.

The flying penthouse

The 10,200 km Falcon 6X will enter service this year. It has a cabin that is 1.98m tall by 2.58m wide, making it the largest purpose-built business jet. Dassault’s in-house Design Studio set a new standard for contemporary business jet interiors, as recognized by honors such as the prestigious Red Dot award for industrial design.

The 6X’s digital (fly-by-wire) flight controls, derived from Mirage and Rafale fighters, are the most advanced yet in a Falcon. Dassault pioneered fly-by-wire for business aircraft. The company’s digital flight controls provide full envelope protection, meaning protection against stalls, overspeeds and overstressing the airframe. They reduce pilot workload, enhance safety, and provide passengers with a smoother ride in turbulence. Test pilots say the 6X is the best handling Falcon yet.

The 6X will be followed onto the market by an even larger business jet, the Falcon 10X, with certification planned for 2025. Today, Dassault is building major structures and systems for the aircraft.

The Falcon 10X cabin is 2.03m by 2.77m cabin, larger than some regional jets. Range is 13,900 km and its top speed brushes the speed of sound at Mach 0.925.

The 10X cabin simply gives passengers more of everything. It has an extended galley with a crew rest area as an option. The passenger area has four cabin zones of equal size, each with its own climate controls, but the design is flexible as each zone can be shortened or extended to customize the layout.

The 10X will have the next generation of digital flight control. New on the 10X is a Smart Throttle—one lever controlling both engines in all conditions and tied into the flight control system. It enables an automatic recovery mode in the event of a wake turbulence upset.

Factory Service Expands in Asia

To support current and future products, Dassault Aviation has more than doubled the size of its factory service center network in recent years. Much of that growth has come through new service centers in the Asia-Pacific region. More service locations mean more GoTeams ready to dispatch to customers at a moment’s notice, more parts locally available and more capability for major inspections and upgrades.

No company today can ignore environmental concerns and Dassault is at the forefront of environmental initiatives within aviation.”

In 2022 it was listed by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s climate leaders. All Falcons can operate on a 50 percent blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) , and the Falcon10X will be 100 percent SAF capable. The use of SAF is also part of the SAF plan implemented by Dassault to reduce the carbon footprint of its aviation operations. All flights operated by company-owned Falcon aircraft, whether for testing, demos or Falcon support, are using SAF blends. Dassault offers a supply at its flagship FBO at Paris-Le Bourget.

Dassault is unique in one other way for a major aerospace company: it is still majority owned by the heirs of its founder, Marcel Dassault. The advantage, as the company sees it, is less focus on quarterly earnings and more on long-term investments and product support infrastructure.

Dassault Aviation