In December Dassault Aviation rolled out its ultra-long-range Falcon 8X, the company’s latest addition to its Falcon business jet family.
Unveiled at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Merignac the 8X will offer the greatest range and the longest cabin in the Falcon line, along with the most extensive selection of cabin configurations.
Announced in May 2014 at EBACE, the Falcon 8X builds on the performance and technologies of the 7X long-range trijet, the fastest selling Falcon ever. The 8X will offer a range of 6450 nmi at M .8 and a cabin 3.5 ft longer than the 7X while affording the same low operating economics and remarkable operating flexibility, according to the company.
“More than 250 [Falcon 7X] aircraft have been built in the seven years since service introduction, and demand remains strong. We anticipate a similarly bright future for the 8X.” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
Final assembly and testing of the 8X will take place at the state-of-the-art Charles Lindbergh hall at Mérignac. The facility was built to handle production of the Falcon 7X, and the 8X will draw on the same advanced digital design and manufacturing techniques pioneered with the 7X.
More than 8000 Dassault civil and military aircraft, including 2300 Falcons, have taken to the air from Mérignac since it opened in 1949.
Wing mating and engine installation on the first Falcon 8X were completed in July 2014 and first power up occurred shortly after. Ground tests, including flight-control system testing, vibration tests, and fuel system testing, concluded in November. The first engine run up took place in early December and the aircraft is on track for a maiden flight in the first quarter of 2015.
A total of three aircraft, including one fully outfitted with a cabin interior, will be used in the flight test and certification campaign. Deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2016.
The Falcon 8X cabin will be 6 ft 2 in high, 7 ft 8 in (2.34 m) wide, and 42 ft 8 in long. More than 30 configurations will be available. Customers will be able to choose from three galley sizes—two with a crew-rest option—and lounges of varying lengths capable of supporting a range of lavatory layouts, including a lavatory with shower.
With eight passengers and three crew, the Falcon 8X will be powered by an improved version of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307 engine that equips the Falcon 7X. Combined with improvements to wing design, the new powerplant will make the 8X up to 35% more fuel efficient than other aircraft in the ultra-long-range segment, affording a corresponding savings in operating costs.
The 8X will be equipped with a variety of innovative onboard systems largely proven on the 7X, including an enhanced version of the 7X’s digital flight-control system. It will also come with a redesigned cockpit featuring an optional combined synthetic/enhanced vision head-up display.
Like the 7X, the Falcon 8X will be capable of approaches up to 6°, allowing it to serve challenging airports such as London City Airport and Lugano, Switzerland that are normally not accessible to large cabin aircraft. The aircraft will have a balanced field length of about 6000 ft and an approach speed at typical landing weight of 107 knot.
The company cites that some typical Falcon 8X city pairs (eight passengers, three crew, M .80, 85% Boeing Annual Winds, and NBAA Reserves) will include Beijing–Los Angeles, Hong Kong–London, Mumbai–Sydney, Sao Paulo–Los Angeles, Moscow–Los Angeles, and New York–Tel Aviv.
The 8X will also be able to perform an extensive list of one-leg missions, including Beijing–New York, Hong Kong–Seattle, and New York–Dubai.