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A STAR IS BORN
Dassault’s largest and most advanced Falcon made an on-time appearance on December 8 as the hangar doors in Bordeaux-Mérignac drew back for a livestreamed rollout viewed by thousands. Despite the onslaught of the coronavirus, progress on three 6X first production aircraft has barely paused, with engineers and technicians adopting appropriate health precautions. Suppliers across Europe and North America rallied to Dassault’s appeal to maintain delivery schedules. Now, final preparations begin for first flight in the first quarter of 2021 and certification in 2022.
> Watch the Falcon 6X rollout
TEST PILOTS PREPARE TO FLY
The 6X test pilot team, led by chief flight test pilot Philippe Duchateau, has been “flying” two flight test “benches,” similar to non-motion simulators, at corporate headquarters in St. Cloud and in Mérignac. Now, pilots are transitioning into the actual aircraft for engine runs, systems checks and taxi tests that will precede first flight.
Bruno Ferry has been a Dassault Aviation test pilot since 2014. He has accumulated 6,300 hours, including 2,500 flight test hours and 2,500 hours on fighter aircraft. Prior to joining Dassault, Ferry served as a fighter pilot and flight test pilot at the French flight test center in Istres.
Fabrice “Tom” Valette has been a Dassault Aviation test pilot since 2010 and Dassault’s Istres flight test center Chief Test Pilot since 2019. He has accumulated 6,000 hours including 1,500 hours in the Rafale and 2,700 hours in a range of Falcon models from the Falcon 10 to the 8X.
> Meet the Falcon 6X Crew
THREE AIRCRAFT FOR THE FLIGHT TEST PROGRAM
The first two development aircraft are heavily instrumented in order to accomplish all performance and systems testing. The third flight test aircraft is being outfitted with a full interior, including entertainment and communications systems to check function and reliability. The cabin will be cold soaked on flights of up to 10 hours and the cabin mapped with infrared sensors to detect any cold spots requiring more insulation for uniform, comfortable temperatures. It will also be mapped acoustically to determine where soundproofing may need to be reinforced. Falcon cabins are remarkably quiet. The 8X typically is measured at 48 dB, equivalent to a suburban living room. The 6X cabin will be equal or better.
A CABIN FOR ALL YOUR SENSES
The 6X cabin design continues to turn heads, most recently those at the prestigious Design Society, which presented Dassault the 2020 Yacht & Aviation Design Award for large jets. The award recognized Dassault’s interior design team for adopting a sensory design approach that manages air, light, sound, texture and form in unique ways to cocoon passengers on long, international flights. One elegant feature — touch controls that illuminate when a hand is near.> Visit the Falcon 6X Cabin
THE INDUSTRY’S MOST ADVANCED DIAGNOSTIC TOOL
The 6X is arguably the smartest airplane in business aviation thanks to FalconScan, which collects and analyzes the health of systems throughout the aircraft in flight. It monitors 100,000 parameters—an amazing amount of data. The system not only identifies faults, but suggests corrective procedures. FalconScan links to another onboard system, FalconBroadcast, which automatically sends data to the ground at top of descent. This information goes directly to subscribing flight departments and to Dassault, alerting ground teams to a potential in-flight event so they can respond even before an aircraft lands. FalconScan databases can be used to identify premature failure trends to help make systems more robust and reliable.
> Big data takes wing in the Falcon 6X
PRATT & WHITNEY POWERS THE 6X AHEAD
The PW812D engine that powers the 6X has shown exceptional performance during testing with more than 19,000 hours of core testing, more than 2,500 hours of engine testing, including 300 hours on a flying testbed and more than 6,000 cycles completed. Flight-testing has concluded, with the engine achieving all its critical milestones, including endurance testing and bird strike tests. Advanced PW800 common core technology is leveraged in 16 different engine applications and offers double digit improvements in fuel burn, emissions and noise. The 812D requires 40 percent less scheduled maintenance and 20 percent fewer inspections than other engines in its class.
> A powerful Partner
FalconEye, Dassault’s industry-leading combined vision system, has been a very popular option on other Falcon aircraft. It will be standard on the 6X. Through a combination of camera sensors and a digital terrain database, FalconEye provides a crisp, long-range view of terrain and adverse weather such as nighttime storm cloud formation. The result is superior safety in night or low visibility conditions and the ability to land at smaller, more challenging airports lacking precision approaches. With FalconEye, pilots can descend to within 100 feet of the runway before picking up natural vision cues.> Get the FalconEye
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