Dassault has brought its flagship Falcon 8X to LABACE as it continues to focus on developing the 6X super-midsize jet. In its latest update, the company said it is on track to complete assembly of the first example in early 2020, with first flight scheduled for 2021 and the start of deliveries to customers starting in 2022.
Dassault said it will be “leveraging LABACE to promote the Falcon 6X,” and stated it is confident that the market in Brazil and South America in general is recovering. The company said the 5,500 nm Falcon 6X will “be the most spacious, modern, and versatile twin in its class and will draw on many of the advanced features of the Falcon 8X, including an ultra-quiet cabin and unrivaled airport capabilities.”
Gearing Up For 6X Manufacturing
Dassault froze the 6X design in May and shifted into high gear to prepare for manufacturing. “Work is going full throttle at the Biarritz facility, where the aft section of the 6X fuselage is assembled,” said the company. “Later this fall, the complete fuselage will be delivered to Bordeaux-Mérignac for final assembly.”
Fuselage-panel production is at Dassault’s facility in Argenteuil, France, while wing-panel manufacturing is at Seclin. At some production sites, including final assembly in Mérignac and cabin completions in Little Rock, Arkansas, “engineers and manufacturing teams are currently working together in satellite plateaus anticipating work in subsequent production and testing phases,” the company said.
Meanwhile, the Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW812D engine that will power the 6X has accumulated more than 1,000 hours on a P&WC test cell in Montreal using five development engines. “The PW812D engine program continues to achieve milestones in line with the initial program plan,” noted Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier.
Falcon Family Values
Alongside the 8X at LABACE, in a slightly smaller show static park this year, is a Falcon 2000LXS. Both Falcons were towed into the São Paulo Conghonas show area on Monday morning, past what was the previous show static area that has been taken for a new retail development.
“Operators appreciate the unparalleled safety, state-of-the-art technology, and cabin comfort—particularly the smooth, quiet flight and seamless in-flight connectivity—offered by our Falcon line," said Trappier. "With the business environment in South America, and Brazil in particular, rapidly improving we are bullish about Falcon prospects [here].
“South America has emerged as one of the strongest markets for the Falcon 8X,” he added. With eight passengers and three crew, the 6,450nm aircraft can connect São Paulo with San Francisco and Moscow, Hong Kong with London, and Shanghai with Los Angeles.
“The unrivaled airport performance and flying comfort offered by the Falcon 8X, particularly the ultra-low noise levels in the cabin—the lowest in the industry—have made the big new trijet especially popular in Brazil and other Latin American markets,” claimed Dassault.
The 8X features a cabin 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) high, 2.34 m wide and 13 m long and offers customers the most innovative selection of cabin layouts on the market including a shower option and a large entryway with a certified crew rest for very long flights.
The 8X recently set a new coast-to-coast speed record in the U.S., flying from Santa Monica, California, to Teterboro, New Jersey, in 4 hours and 28 minutes. “What makes this performance particularly remarkable is the combination of range and speed realized during the flight and the challenge posed by Santa Monica’s short 3,500-foot runway and strict noise abatement departure procedure,” said the company.
“The 8X’s industry-leading digital flight control system offers exceptionally smooth flying comfort and features the latest in high-speed connectivity, including Dassault’s FalconConnect option, a new inflight broadband service that integrates all cockpit and cabin ground-based and satellite communications into a single bundled offering, making onboard connectivity systems easy to use and consumption simple to manage and control,” continued Dassault.
The Falcon 2000LXS, and its shorter range sibling, the Falcon 2000S, offer “short-field capability and low fuel burn comparable to smaller midsize business jet models but with a range and comfort level far better than those aircraft,” Dassault said. These models are equipped with the company’s EASy flight deck and FalconCabin HD+ cabin management system.
Enhancing Product Support
Dassault is also at LABACE highlighting its recent investment in product support, “aimed at expanding [our] factory owned maintenance, repair, and overhaul network and ensuring worldwide spare parts availability.” For example, the company over the past year purchased the MRO activities of ExecuJet, TAG Aviation, and Ruag and opened a big new spares facility near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to “further boost” parts service in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
In São Paulo, Brazil, Dassault has continued to invest in the Dassault Aircraft Services Sorocaba support facility, which recently celebrated its 10th year in operation. “Over the past year, Sorocaba has added new tooling that allows it to perform ‘B’ level checks for Brazilian registered Falcon 7X and Falcon 2000 family aircraft,” noted the company.
Last but not least, Dassault’s LABACE chalet also features a “virtual representation” of the new FalconEye Combined Vision System (CVS), which combines synthetic and enhanced vision for pilots.
“As well as ensuring superior situational awareness in all conditions of operation, day and night, FalconEye makes it possible to reduce minima in low visibility landing conditions, providing a substantial operational benefit,” said Dassault.
FalconEye was recently approved for low visibility approaches with 100 ft minima. Dassault noted that FalconEye is available as an option on the Falcon 8X, Falcon 2000S/LXS models, and the Falcon 900LX trijet.