Business Aviation Market Intelligence

Falcon 6X Enters Service With Barnstorming World Tour

Sponsored Dassault Aviation
Falcon 6X Enters Service With Barnstorming World Tour
Dassault Aviation

The all-new Falcon 6X entered service at the end of 2023 and now customers and operators around the world are getting their first opportunity to take it for a whirl. Early accounts say they are excited about the newest and most advanced Falcon, both for its comfort features, reliability, and its fighter inspired handling and performance.

“Passengers love the power,” says Chief Test Pilot Philippe Duchateau, who has conducted some of the demo flights. “They invariably ask for a max performance takeoff.” He notes the 6X has the same quick acceleration as a fighter—one definitely feels the push into the seatback. Initial climb is 30 degrees. Corporate pilots know that strong climb performance enhances safety.

Big airplane, big performer

While the 6X can rocket off the runway, pilots will typically provide smooth takeoffs enhanced by the aircraft’s fly-by-wire system. In fact, the company is certificating follow-on upgrades to the autothrottle system that will provide a pre-set “soft go-around” setting that will smooth this maneuver for passengers, and ease workload for pilots in case they have to break off an approach because of ATC instructions, or because they are below minimum weather.

“By incorporating the latest digital flight control technology from our fighters and also as refinements of the systems already aboard the 8X, we improve comfort, but more importantly, enhance safety,” says Duchateau, who leads flight testing of Rafale fighters and business jets for the company.

For example, the flight control system of the 6X uses all flying surfaces, but especially new flaperons (combining the capabilities of flaps and ailerons) to damp turbulence and provide a smoother ride in a way that has been clearly noticeable to demo passengers, he says.

Moreover, speed brake deployment to help configure the aircraft for landing approach is not accompanied by the vibrations felt on other aircraft, nor is there a strong pitch change when they are deployed. The benefit is more passenger comfort in this phase of flight and easier handling for pilots who do not need to compensate for a strong pitching moment.

It should be noted here that Dassault is a leader in digital design and digital flight control technology. Its Falcon 7X, first flown in 2005, was business aviation’s first fly-by-wire jet. It drew on decades of digital flight control technology from Dassault fighters. Today, Dassault is the only company that builds fighters and business jets and the only business jet company that builds the entire digital flight control system in-house, for the best integration with the airframe.

A last word on flight handling: pilots are noticing the smooth landing qualities of the aircraft, what pilots call “greasers,” and excellent manners in strong crosswinds.

Falcon 6X takes on the world, reliably

Since December 2023, the Dassault 6X demonstration aircraft has been traveling the world to give customers their first ride in the plane. In late February it made its first appearance at the Singapore Air Show. As of this writing in late March, the aircraft has made 150 flights on the demo tour, visiting 72 airports in Europe, the U.S., and South America.

Some days, the aircraft would make four demo flights for corporate pilots and executives. There have been no cancellations, which speaks to the maturity of the design at this early stage.

Long legs across mid-Atlantic

The aircraft has also demonstrated better than book range performance. For its South American tour, it flew a positioning flight with crew only (reducing payload) from Paris to São Paulo in 12 hours, 43 minutes against unexpectedly strong headwinds. It cruised mainly at 43,000 feet at its long-range cruise setting, Mach 0.80. The 6X flew 5,646 air miles versus published range of 5,500 nm, landing with more than the required fuel reserves.

The biggest benefit of all—the cabin

Passengers, however, are the ultimate beneficiaries of Dassault’s ability to build a big airplane that is efficient and able to operate from short runways—a traditional Dassault strong suit. The 6X has the largest cabin cross section in a purpose-built business jet, with a cabin height of 1.98 m and width of 2.58 m. It’s a new level of personal space, capable of seating up to 16 comfortably.

In photos, the cabin looks big, because it is, but Dassault’s inhouse design team enhanced the feeling of spaciousness with a contemporary design including more rounded surfaces and flowing lines, accentuating spaciousness. This trendsetting design won two major industrial design awards: the Red Dot award and the International Yacht and Aviation award.

On the demo tour, passengers commented on the bright and pleasant interior illumination thanks to 30 windows, each larger than on predecessor Falcons. The cabin even has a unique skylight in the galley area, a part of the plane that usually lacks natural light.

At night, passengers can infinitely adjust the lighting color palette, even commanding simulated sunrises and sunsets through the Ambiance cabin management system.”

Ambiance is at every passenger’s fingertips through personal electronic devices or interior touch panels.

High speed WIFI is available throughout and extensive testing prior to the tour showed that multiple passengers could engage in high resolution live-stream video chats with colleagues around the world.

Lastly, passengers commented on the aircraft’s extreme quietness. The 6X follows in the footsteps of the Falcon 8X, acknowledged by many as the quietest business jet in the sky. Both have sound levels below 50 dB, equivalent to a suburban living room.

The Falcon 6X is supported throughout Asia by Dassault’s network of factory service centers, including ExecuJet MRO’s brand-new regional flagship facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ExecuJet MRO Services is a fully owned subsidiary of Dassault Aviation. The KL facility is also home to its regional sales headquarters, should anyone want to seek more information on the 6X.

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