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Dassault Falcon 6X
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Fri, 05/17/2019 – 21:17

 

The Falcon 6X is a twin-engine business jet currently being development by French manufacturer Dassault Aviation. Launched on Feb. 28, 2018 and promoted as “setting a new standard in the long-range, large-cabin segment,” the Falcon 6X was Dassault’s replacement for the Falcon 5X, following the December 2017 cancellation of the latter airframe in light of issues with its Safran Silvercrest engines. In contrast to the 5X, the Falcon 6X will be powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PurePower PW800 engines, an engine series that first entered service in 2018 on Gulfstream’s G500. Despite that and other differences from the 5X, “the 6X is largely based on the Falcon 5X aerodynamics and system features which were validated during the 5X preliminary flight-test program.” In addition to retaining that work done on the 5X, the 6X airframe has “been optimized to take advantage of the Pratt & Whitney Canada engine, offering greater range and a longer cabin.” According to Dassault, the first flight of this latest Falcon airframe is scheduled for early 2021, with deliveries set to begin in 2022.

 

 

 

Up to 19 passengers will be accommodated on the Falcon 6X in a cabin that has a height of 6 ft., 6 in., width of 8 ft., 6 in.–dimensions that are promoted as representing “the highest and widest cross section in a purpose-built business jet”–length of 40 ft., 3 in., and a total volume (excluding the cockpit and baggage areas) of 1,843 ft.3. Despite Dassault’s intention to certify the 6X to accommodate up to 19 passengers, the standardized floor plans for the cabin will include 12, 13 and 14-seat configurations. The cabin itself can be divided into “three distinct lounge areas,” a feature that provides “room for multiple configurations including a large entry way/crew-rest area and a spacious rear lounge.” Regardless of which configuration option is selected, the standard features of the cabin will include a four-chair club section in the forward portion of the cabin, a “four-seat conference grouping on the left, flanked by an occasional-use bench seat on the right” in the mid-cabin and the previously mentioned aft stateroom. The size of the main seating area of the cabin will vary based on the size of the galley that is installed–a galley is a standard feature of all floor plans–with the length of that seating area being either “about” 27.5 ft. or 26.3 ft. with the standard and extended galleys, respectively. Further aft, “three stateroom configurations will be offered, each featuring a single, three-place sofa sleeper,” with the 12-seat configuration also including “a single executive chair and a worktable flanking the sofa.” When configured for 13 seats, the cabin includes a pair of “facing chairs across from the sofa,” while the 14-seat layout “features a second, three-place sofa sleeper in the aft cabin.” Overall, Dassault notes that “there’s more space for individual seating, and greater privacy when desired, especially in the aft cabin during overnight flights.”

 

 

 

The 6X’s 30 windows are touted by Dassault as having “unbeatable luminosity,” with their close spacing giving passengers “true panoramic views.” In comparison to the windows fitted to the other in-production Falcon airframes–the Falcon 7X, 8X, 900LX and 2000LXS–the 6X’s windows “have 10% more area than those” installed on the former two airframes, and 30% more area than the windows found on the latter two Falcon jets. Furthermore, the forward portion of the cabin also incorporates a business-airplane first: a skylight that provides “valuable light to the normally dark entrance and galley areas.” Passengers will be able to control the cabin’s systems using Dassault’s cabin system, which gives passengers that control through their personal devices. Also contributing to the comfort of the 6X’s passengers is the cabin altitude of the airframe, which, at 41,000 ft. actual altitude, is 3,900 ft. Dassault also promotes the “unique” air-filtration and circulation system, which fully refreshes cabin air “in as little as two to three minutes.” Finally, beyond the space available in the cabin, storage space for baggage and other items is also available in a pair of baggage compartments; one of which is pressurized, one of which is not. The former baggage compartment located “aft of the rear lavatory,” contains 155 ft.3 of space that passengers “have full-time access” to. The second baggage area, which is unpressurized and located “aft of the pressure vessel,” will provide another 76 ft.3 of storage space.

 

 

 

Described as being “equipped with the industry’s most advanced digital flight controls and cockpit technologies,” the Falcon 6X will be operated by flight crews using Dassault’s third-generation EASy III all-digital flight deck, which is based on Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics. When deliveries of the 6X begin, it will “be delivered with a full package of equipment” that includes Dassault’s FalconEye Combined Vision System, a technology that Dassault promotes as providing “unprecedented situational awareness for flight crews.” Further noted as being derived from military technology, the FalconEye system “is the first HUD head-up display to combine synthetic, database-driven terrain mapping and actual thermal and low-light camera images into a single view.” The hardware that comprises the FalconEye includes “a fourth-generation multi-sensor camera that generates very-high-definition images,” with a HUD being a standard feature for the left-seat pilot and an option for the right-seat pilot. When operating in synthetic-vision mode, that camera “displays a 40-deg. horizontal by 30-deg. vertical field of view with 1280 X 1024 resolution,” a range that that is described as being “the widest angles on any HUD, ensuring full coverage of the viewing area with no tunnel-vision effects.” Additional FalconEye hardware includes “six different sensors that present the best images from both the near-visible and infrared spectrums,” while the other aspect of the 6X’s combined vision system is its “three dedicated worldwide databases that are uploaded to the HUD computer.” The contents of those databases–terrain, obstacle and navigation– “provide a full view of obstacles, airport and runway data,” which are then “seamlessly combined to images in the visible spectrum.” Another aspect of the Falcon 6X’s EASy III flight deck is the FalconSphere II integrated electronic flight bag (EFB), a technology that is described as embedding “operationally efficient applications to support pilots on the ground and in flight.” The EFB devices, which will be installed to the left and right of the system’s main displays, will, among other features, “interface with tablet devices for flight-plan uploading and data downloading.”

 

 

 

Beyond the FalconEye and FalconSphere, the 6X will also feature a “next-generation FMS flight management system,” Honeywell’s IntuVue RDR-4000 weather radar system–which is one of Honeywell’s advanced weather radar systems and “automatically scans the sky at 17 tilt angles”–and “one-engine-inoperative autothrottles.” The airplane’s flight-control system, dubbed the Digital Flight Control System (DFCS), is a “three-axis, fly-by-wire system” that “commands all flight-control surfaces,” including the flaps, slats and nosewheel steering. The DFCS’s control of the latter function is promoted as “allowing faster and smoother reactions to side gusts on the ground, and more precise tracking of the runway centerline.” Additionally, each of those control surfaces serves multiple functions “to ensure peak performance and efficiency at all times.” Another benefit of the 6X’s DFCS is that it will be “significantly more advanced than on earlier Falcon jets,” including flight-envelope protections that will prevent the airframe from exceeding its structural speed limitations, as well as the wing from stalling. Those protective features enable pilots to “command maximum performance quickly and decisively without exceeding tolerances,” while coping with hazards such as “sudden traffic avoidance maneuvers,” go-arounds in the traffic pattern and wind-shear is made both easier and safer. Operations with DFCS-equipped Falcons are promoted as being “not only easier, but safer” when the airplane is hand-flown, in part because the system imposes “a far lower workload on the pilot.” The ways that the DFCS reduces pilot workload include automatically trimming the airplane, with “no pilot action required.” A further benefit of the DFCS is its ability to make control of the airplane smoother by “harmonizing control inputs around the aircraft’s three axes, augmenting pitch and roll damping, as well as yaw stability.” Dassault notes that, “on autopilot, the DFCS is constantly working to smooth control response as the aircraft encounters turbulence.” Overall, the DFCS that will be featured on the 6X is promoted as being “a harmonious integration of all control surfaces, yielding a smoother, more precise flight.”

 

 

 

The flight controls are another area where the 6X will introduce a first, with the airframe representing the “first purpose-built business aircraft to be fitted with trailing-edge flaperons,” control surfaces that combine “the functions of flaps with ailerons in one control surface.” Further described as “active, high-speed-deflection control surfaces similar to ailerons,” and combining “the lift and draft-producing effects of flaps with the roll-control authority of ailerons,” Dassault’s experience with these devices includes their use on the company’s Rafale fighter. They note that while the surfaces are “always active, enhancing roll authority,” the benefits derived from them “are most apparent on approach, especially those where a steep descent profile is required.” During that phase of flight, the DFCS-controlled flaperons “permit a drag increase on approach while maintaining a high lift coefficient,” allowing flight crews to “fly a steep approach angle without” a corresponding increase in airspeed. The 6X’s flaperons also provide assistance when performing approaches with normal glideslopes, as they can “augment handling all the way down to touchdown.” Among large-cabin Falcons, the 6X will also be the first that does not include “the center section of the triple airbrakes” on the upper surface of each wing. The functions that were formerly performed by that section of airbrakes will instead be taken care of by the outboard ailerons, which will “move up,” while “flaperons deflect down.” Additionally, the airframe’s “large, powerful rudder” allows the 6X to have “responsive control” when taking off and landing in gusty and/or crosswind conditions.  

 

 

 

Mission and Performance

 

 

 

As noted above, the Falcon 6X is described as serving the large-cabin, long-range segment of business aviation, while, according to Dassault, also creating an entirely new category: the ultra-widebody business jet. In terms of range and cost, the 6X sits in between Gulfstream’s G500 and G600, airframes that are also powered by PW800-series engines. The 6X’s range falls in between the 5,200-nm range of the G500 and the 6,500-nm capability of the G600. The same holds true for the cost of these competing airframes, with the 6X’s $47 million price falling in between the $43 million and $56 million respective costs of the G500 and G600. Although the Falcon 6X’s 1,843 ft.3 cabin volume is technically bracketed by those of the Gulfstream airframes, it offers considerably more space than the 1,715 ft.3 found in the G500, while it has essentially the same space as the 1,884 ft.3 available in the G600. Where these Dassault and Gulfstream airplanes do differ more significantly is in terms of performance, with the G500 and G600 having a higher maximum operating Mach (MMO), as well as high-speed and long-range cruise speeds, than the 6X. Despite these differences, one limitation that will be common to all three airframes is a 19-passenger maximum certified capacity.      

 

 

 

The operating limitations of this Falcon-series airframe include a planned maximum-operating altitude of 51,000 ft., as well as an MMO of 0.90 Mach. In addition to the airframe’s planned MMO, it is anticipated that the high-speed and long-range cruise speeds will be 0.85 and 0.80 Mach, respectively. At that high-speed cruise, the range of the 6X will be 5,100 nm–enabling it to connect city pairs such as Moscow-New York, Paris-Beijing and Los Angeles-London–while the maximum range is noted as being 5,500 nm. With a wing that is promoted as being “optimized for both high and low-speed performance,” the takeoff balanced-field length (BFL)– at the 6X’s maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), in standard conditions and at sea level–is predicted to be 5,480 ft., while the landing distance “at a typical landing weight” for a flight conducted under FAA part 135 regulations is expected to be 2,480 ft. In addition to that landing distance, the airplane’s approach speed at the typical landing weight is expected to be 109 kt. indicated airspeed, an airspeed that is touted by Dassault as being “up to 10 kt. slower than most jets with comparable range, and nearly the approach speed of some short-field turboprops.” That airspeed is further noted as ensuring “greater safety margins on takeoffs and landings,” with the 6X able to access restricted airports such as Lugano, Switzerland and London City, both of which require steep approaches. Additionally, when carrying a partial fuel load, “it can operate at airports with runways of less than 3,000 ft.”

 

 

 

Variants

 

 

 

Falcon 6X Specifications

Wingspan (ft.)

Length (ft.)

Height (ft.)

85.1

84.3

24.5

Engines

Thrust (lb.)

(Sea Level/Standard Conditions)

Fuel Capacity (lb.)

2X Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D

13,000-14,000

33,790

Maximum Zero Fuel Weight (ZFW) (lb.)

Max. Takeoff Weight (MTOW) (lb.)

Max. Landing Weight (lb.)

45,920

77,460

66,190

 

 

 

The PW812D engines–described by Dassault as setting “new standards in aircraft performance and fuel efficiency in the heavy business jet market”–which replaced the Silvercrest engines that powered the Falcon 5X, will produce 13,000-14,000 lb. of thrust. From a design perspective, the PW812D shares the core technology of Pratt & Whitney’s geared-turbofan PurePower engine variants; however, it does not include that engine series’ fan-drive gear system. With reference to the PW812D’s commonalities with the PurePower commercial engines, the former engine is “based on the smaller core of the PW1200G series that was developed for the Mitsubishi MRJ airliner.” In comparison to the PW814GA and PW815GA– which power the G500 and G600, respectively–the 6X’s PW812D engine, beyond having a reduced-thrust capability, will have a fan that is 6 in. smaller (at 44 in.) than that of the PW815GA, a two-stage low-pressure turbine (LPT) instead of a three-stage LPT and “be at least 200 lb. lighter than the PW815GA, but heavier than the Silvercrest” engine.

 

 

 

Beyond replacing the Silvercrest engines with the PW812D, other differences between the Falcon 5X and 6X include structural modifications such as a “reinforced wing structure and a 20-in. forward fuselage stretch to balance the center of gravity.” With respect to the 20-in. stretch in the fuselage, it will be used to “increase the size of the aft stateroom.” The inclusion of “new forward and aft belly fuel tanks will increase fuel capacity by 5,590 lb.,” to a maximum fuel capacity of 33,790 lb., the result of which is that the 6X will have a range that is 6% greater than what was planned for the 5X. That increase in fuel capacity is accommodated in the new forward and far aft tanks, with the remaining 28,200 lb. of fuel is contained in the “integral wing fuel tanks,” as well as the aft belly tank. The characteristics of the 6X’s wing–which is promoted as an “all-new, fast and ultra-efficient wing”–include the fact that it is the “largest airfoil ever fitted to a Falcon Jet,” a leading-edge wing sweep of 33 deg., an “innovative curved trailing edge” and high buffet margins “at high-altitude and high cruise speeds,” with the latter “allowing for fast and safe cruise speeds.” Other improvements provided by the airfoil include lift-drag characteristics that are 5-10% better “than the airfoils of the Falcons 7X/8X.” Indeed, the 6X’s wing is noted as having “the highest lift/drag ratio of any Falcon wing, a key for improving fuel efficiency.” The “constant and subtle wing contour changes control airflow at high speed”–the result of which is increased passenger comfort–while the wing’s “unique” winglets are described as being “perfectly integrated with the wing.”  

 

 

 

Supplementing those aerodynamics improvements and optimization of the wing, the Falcon 6X’s fuselage is also planned to feature improvements to aerodynamics, including to the airplane’s nose, which will be “shaped so as not to disrupt airflow.” Also at the forward part of the fuselage, the FalconEye camera “is mounted flush in the nose to reduce one small source of drag.” The 6X’s aforementioned windows are described as being “smoothly faired into the forward fuselage section as it arcs toward the cabin,” while the areas around the wing and fuselage incorporate composite fairings that “keep air flowing smoothly around the airframe, minimizing drag.” Further aft, the airframe’s tail surfaces “are sized and shaped for minimal drag, while providing powerful yaw control thanks to the” DFCS. Finally, between the engine nacelles and the airframe–an area that has “some of the most complex airflow interactions as air speeds” through that area–the concept of “area ruling” was used “to keep localized airflow from reaching extreme velocities that lead to high drag.” The concept of area ruling itself involves the fuselage of the airframe tapering inward.

 

 

 

Program Status/Operators

 

 

 

The Falcon 6X will be produced alongside the other in-production Dassault Aviation business jets at the company’s manufacturing facilities in Bordeaux-Merignac, France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Channel
Business Aviation

Market Indicator Code
Commercial

Category

Article page size
10

Profile page size
10

Program Profile ID
462337

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