Announced in 2018, Dassault’s once highly anticipated Falcon 6X has faded into the background with the company’s announcement of even more ambitious projects. But as its release date draws closer, the Falcon 6X is back on the industry’s radar. The 6X remains on track for a full release in 2022, and Dassault is expected to put a fourth test plane in the air before the end of this year. There’s still much to do before the Falcon 6X is fully certified, but Dassault is committed to its timeline for its latest luxurious twinjet.
A big addition to the private aviation sector
The path to market for larger aircraft can take significantly longer than their light and medium airframe counterparts. This slow progression is even more pronounced in a behemoth craft like the Falcon 6X, which simultaneously falls into the large, long-range, and ultra-widebody categories. In fact, Dassault is on record claiming the Falcon 6X is in a new heavy jet category all its own.
Measuring 84.3 feet long and 24.5 feet tall, and boasting an impressive 85.1-foot wingspan, there’s no mistaking the tremendous size of this jet. And, at 77,460 pounds of maximum takeoff weight, it’s one that requires significant power to get up in the air. Speaking of which, the Falcon 6X can get off the ground with less than 3,000 feet of runway — truly an amazing achievement for a craft of its size.
The slow path to market
Nearing four years since its initial showcase, Dassault’s Falcon 6X has faced rigorous testing on its way to market. A jet of this size requires significant airtime, and Dassault is well-known for exacting standards in refining and perfecting its aircraft. Speaking at the NBAA-BACE conference in Las Vegas in October, Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier shed light on just how far the jet has come.
According to Trappier, the company has three Falcon 6X airframes flying and a fourth expected to begin logging hours before the close of 2021. Its current jets are flying two to three times a week, and have collectively logged more than 300 hours over more than 100 flights. And there’s still more to come. “There is still considerable test activity to be completed, as in any test campaign,” said Trappier. “But we can report at this point that we are achieving milestones at a pace that our test engineers are really happy with.”
On-track for a 2022 entry-into-service date
The fourth test jet from Dassault is a significant milestone on the Falcon 6X’s march to market. It will be the first production jet to leave the runway, and with its takeoff, Dassault begins the countdown to an anticipated 2022 entry-into-service date. Barring setbacks, this fourth test jet will be the one jet-setting around the globe on a world tour.
What’s left to finalize before the Falcon 6X makes its mark on customers? Its Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D engines are in the final stages of certification. Dassault is also checking the final boxes on acoustic and thermal testing for the jet’s cabin and conducting final testing on cabin pressurization and airflow. As these finishing touches fall into place, the Falcon 6X looks more and more like the jet Dassault promised four years ago.
We’ve been musing about the “Future Falcon” from Dassault for the better part of two years. Ever since the Falcon 5X was cancelled in 2017 and reinvented as the Falcon 6X in 2020, there has been a “shadow jet” lurking within the subtext. Speculation has run high about what Dassault has kept under wraps.
Now, we know it’s a super-sophisticated luxury jet, meant to compete “at the very top of the pyramid,” according to aircraft consultant Rolland Vincent in an interview with Bloomberg. It’s an exciting prospect that we’ll soon learn more about, when it’s formally announced.
A jet to compete at the highest levels
As rumors surrounding the “Future Falcon” continue to swirl throughout the aviation industry, Dassault has been tight-lipped about their next entry in the corporate jet market. While Dassault executives have offered no concrete specifics regarding their new model, aviation insiders are starting to get a clearer picture of what to expect from this new ultra-luxury business jet. Once deliveries of the new aircraft begin in 2025, buyers can expect a jet that matches or exceeds rival models in size, speed, and range.
Gulfstream plans to deliver its latest entry in the luxury business jet market, the G700, in 2022. Expected to be the flagship of the brand, the new model will focus on corporate travel, to offer more speed, lower operating costs, and a more comfortable ride. Gulfstream has raised the bar for cabin innovation and customization — the new Dassault entry will take cues from the G700 and push the innovations further to stand out in the market.
Meanwhile, Bombardier has already distinguished itself as the industry leader when it comes to large, purpose-built business aircraft. The Global 7500 has redefined the business jet market, featuring the industry’s most advanced flight deck with enhanced and synthetic vision for increased situational awareness. On top of many safety innovations, the model boasts the longest range and the smoothest ride, making it a very attractive option for high-dollar customers looking for the ultimate in private travel luxury.
We won’t truly know what Dassault’s “Future Falcon” has to offer until the company officially unveils the new model. What’s certain is that aviation enthusiasts can expect revolutionary upgrades. Dassault has a very healthy $600M budget for R&D, expected to translate into never-before-seen innovations that will set the model apart from its rivals. The new entry won’t just be a better Falcon 6X — it’ll be a totally unique jet, expected to set the standard for the luxury business jet market.
When will wraps finally come off the “Future Falcon”? The company has repeatedly hinted at an introduction “sometime in the first half of 2021,” which means the clock is ticking on an unveiling. What’s the holdup? Reports claim that the company is pushing for a live, in-person event post-pandemic, to generate even stronger buzz behind its new jet. If that’s not possible, Dassault will take cues from virtual events, including its own highly successful Falcon 6X virtual event in late 2020.
In a world where the standard for luxury business jets is already high, Dassault is raising the bar. In December, the company rolled out the newest iteration of its popular Falcon class of jets, the 16-seat, long-range, ultrawide-body Falcon 6X. The jet borrows fighter jet technology to bring customers double-digit improvements in efficiency and performance, and improves on the Falcon’s already-impressive cabin to deliver sophistication that rachets up the luxury factor of the 6X.
A livestream announcement from Dassault
Due to pandemic concerns, the introduction of the Falcon 6X took place via YouTube on December 8, 2020. While not an in-person event, the unveiling was nonetheless accompanied by substantial fanfare and plenty of exceptional visuals. Audiences were treated to a thorough overview of the ultrawide-body craft’s design — including a history lesson from Dassault Chairman and CEO, Eric Trappier.
The event also profiled the pillars of development behind the Falcon 6X: efficiency, comfort, and safety. Midway through the event, the Falcon 6X itself is introduced, wheeled onto the floor by test pilots in all its glory. Conversation shifts to the jet’s best-in-class cabin, explained in detail by Senior Executive Vice President of Civil Aircraft at Dassault, Carlos Brana.
In addition to the largest cabin by height and width, Brana explains that, upon completion, it’ll also be “the classiest cabin in the world.” The livestream then commences a tour of the fuselage, showing the extravagant sophistication and luxury of the Falcon 6X.
The livestream continues with a virtual interview with the President of Pratt & Whitney Canada, Maria Della Posta, who discusses the tremendous innovations that have gone into making the Falcon 6X one of the most efficient craft to-date. Finally, Dassault’s presentation ends with a cockpit explanation of the state-of-the-art navigation system of the craft, inspired by its fighter jet counterparts. It’s a truly special craft, done justice by a truly inspiring virtual event.
Meet Dassault’s Falcon 6X
The Falcon 6X may be the newest iteration of the Dassault’s Falcon line of jets, but it’s in a class all its own. It features the widest cross sections of any aircraft designed specifically as a business jet, and feels as spacious as it looks. This enhanced design is made even bigger by 30 large windows, covering 5,000 square inches of visibility. The “ergonomic cocoon” of the craft’s cabin is already award-winning and is certain to embody the luxury and sophistication expected from Dassault.
Mach .90 capabilities, with max operating speed of 370 KIAS
Maximum certified altitude of 51,000 ft.
Takeoff/landing capabilities on runways of less than 3,000 ft.
There are several unseen improvements that make the Falcon 6X one of the most breathtaking jets ever designed. Continually-refreshed cabin air is exceptionally clean, while the auto-trim feature of its flight control system eliminates the need for in-flight efficiency adjustments by the pilot. Even the newly certified Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D engines sported by the craft require less maintenance and offer improved efficiency.
An instant market-leader
In many cases, when a new jet enters the market, it quickly becomes the de facto benchmark to beat. While this is the case for the Falcon 6X, it’s also true that this craft has all the makings of an untouchable leader in the ultrawide-body business jet class. It’s simply hard to imagine a craft that’s better positioned to set the standard and maintain market leadership for the foreseeable future.
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It was only a few years ago that Embraer was a minor player in the corporate jet industry with only a 3 percent share. It is making great strides recently in the business aviation industry having gained that number to nearly 20%. The company that is based in Brazil is taking the line of mid-size jets it manufactures in the Legacy 450 and 500 jets, the Phenom light jets and the Legacy 650 jets, Lineage 1000 jets to new levels that they hope will help them gain their goal of a 30% share of the business jet market.
Recently, the company opened a new final assembly facility in Melbourne, Florida, and the CEO of the company, Fred Curado indicated that he was very happy with the manufacturer’s position in the industry of business jets. In fact, he recently revealed that he hopes to expand further.
“I do see Embraer one day venturing into the ultra-long-range, large-cabin business jet segment,”he told AIN in an interview. He stated in that recorded interview, their line would compete “with the [Bombardier] Globals and the larger [Dassault] Falcons,” he said.
These are good signs of growth for the industry and it will be interesting to see if Embraer expands to the levels it seeks in the business aviation industry.
The Chinese business industry is continuing it meteoric rise and the numbers coming from China related to its business market can be staggering. This is good news for the likes of business jet sellers all over the world. The demand for business jets in the country are rising as fast as the business market itself. Recently in the world of business aviation it was announced that the trend continues. David Tang, the attorney and business aviation consultant for Minsheng Financial Leasing has announced the intention of the company to increase its fleet and its intent to purchase more jets for its fleet. At the end of the year in 2010, Minsheng Financial has placed orders of 17 business jets.
The jets that have been ordered include Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft, Cessna and Dassault Falcon. It is unclear what numbers are associated with each company however the company has already taken delivery of a Gulfstream 450. The company was formed under backing from a couple financial institutions in April 2008. The company is seeing its future rise and the needs for its business aircraft is increasing as well. This is indicative of the market in China and we will see many new companies formed and their needs for corporate jets rise throughout the coming years. My friends in China or those doing business with the country are all trying to keep up with demand. Business jet sellers and buyers might look to the country as a place to do further business.
This last week the business aviation industry gathered in Dubai at MEBA 2010 to hear all the latest in the middle east and from the jet manufacturers. Jet manufacturer from France, Dassault Falcon, imparted some good news at the gathering. Dassault reported to AIN,
“The Middle East business environment still remains challenging, but confidence levels appear to be rising,” said Dassault Falcon president and CEO John Rosanvallon. “Dassault has seen much greater demand over the last two quarters of the current financial year, with larger cabin jet sales and prices holding up better than smaller jets.”
The report goes on to states that there are about 60 Dassault Falcons based in the Middle East. The company sold 14 aircraft in the region in the last two years and has a backlog of 16 to be delivered to regional buyers by 2013 with the manufacturers delivery of its tenth this month in December.
It is also indicated that hours being flown by business jet operators in the Middle East has been increasing, while the client base is evolving beyond a small group of users to include “corporate heads, entrepreneurs and other business leaders”. Other areas of the world that are also showing signs of increasing in the business aviation industry include; India, South America and Asia.
Don’t get too excited about a quick recovery as the recovery is not set for another year according to Honeywell, the avionics, equipment and engine manufacturer. The report that Honeywell is reporting on indicates that there should be one more year of an economic slide in store for the business aviation industry in 2011, with the rebound recovery and growth occurring in 2012. Rob Wilson the President for Business and General Aviation for Honeywell states:
“I think the downturn in 2009 demonstrated for all of us that nothing is really firm in an economic calamity as we saw, but that said, we are seeing a lot less volatility in that order book, a lot more stability and more of a sense of continuity.”
The report indicates that Honeywell predicts deliveries of between 675 and 700 new business jets for this year in 2010 which happens to the the lowest total since 2004. They predict that in 2011 another year of less than 700 deliveries will be the case.
AIN reported on some of the numbers of the report:
Based on the results of the survey, Honeywell sees a slow but steady change in aircraft category demand over the next five years. Through 2015, medium to large aircraft such as the Bombardier Challenger 605, Dassault Falcon 7X, Cessna’s Citation X and Embraer’s growing Legacy family will account for 32 percent of the projected purchases, while light and medium business jets including new designs like Bombardier’s Learjet 85, the Gulfstream G250, Embraer’s Phenom 300 and Cessna’s CJ4 will make up approximately 22 percent. Long-range and ultra-long range aircraft such as the new Gulfstream G650 and Bombardier’s Global family will garner 21 percent. Those longer-range aircraft will constitute nearly 50 percent of the delivery dollar value over that same period. Very light jets will constitute the remaining 25 percent of demand but equate to only five percent of the retail shipment value. While the personal jet segment is not a part of the survey, the forecast calls for deliveries over the next 10 years of 500 to 1,000 of the aircraft such as the still-developing PiperJet and the slowly developing Cirrus Vision.
The report from Honeywell in the past has not been the most accurate and in fact that have missed the numbers considerably over the last few years, but this is some good news forecast for our industry.
I wanted to highlight the fact that we take for granted the “no frills” flights of commercial airlines and many people only dream of being able to have the best possible experience with first class flights, if they can afford what that ticket will cost them. I get a chance to see first hand some of the interiors of corporate jets and they are far above anything that even first class commercial flights can provide. I was reading recently at AirlineTrends.com that Virgin America is stepping up its game with in flight entertainment or “IFE”. The article states:
Virgin America has upgraded its ‘Red’ in-flight entertainment system with a number of innovative features, including the first ever seatback digital shopping platform, an open tab service, and Google Maps with terrain view. Already on Virgin America, passengers can use the IFE system to watch live satellite television, chat with other passengers, play 3D games such as Doom, and offset carbon emissions for their flight. Passengers can also purchase snacks, meals, and alcoholic beverages from their seats via Red. Flight attendants receive the orders via a tablet PC and bring the ordered items to the seat.
I love that commercial airlines are trying to make the experience of flying that much better for those that don’t have the use of their corporate private jets. I wonder when we will have headsets with a virtual screen where we can wear a helmet and get the feel of flying in a Gulstream or a or that Dassault Falcon while sitting in the back of the plane listening to soft music while the child behinds us screams because their ears hurt. Until that time, I will let companies like Virgin America try to keep up with the world of luxury flights.
There is a how to for just about every single industry out there. That is no different than a simple “How To Buy A Personal Jet“. One of the things that stood out to me was the basics of the “how to” section. For instance it seems pretty simple to pick out the jet you need. All you need to do is find out how many passengers will be using the jet and how far you will be traveling.:
Determine the size and flying range you’ll need. Light jets ($3 million to $8 million) can take 5 to 8 passengers roughly 2,000 miles (3,219 km); midsize executive jets ($9 million to $16 million) can take up to 9 passengers from 2,000 to 3,000 miles (3,219 to 4,828 km); and large executive jets ($17 million to $45 million) can carry 12 passengers more than 4,000 miles (6,437 km). The more popular makers and models are: Learjet, Boeing Business Jet, Cessna, Gulfstream and Dassault Falcon.
Of course there are many more variables to take into consideration when purchasing a corporate jet and we will intend to discuss some of those things here, but I like when they boil things down to the very basic levels. If you are in the market for a corporate jet, a personal use jet or are looking for more information, contact us. We can also make this a simple process, but the most simple we can make it is to allow us to handle your purchase.