Hot on the heels of its high-profile roll-out in Bordeaux, Dassault’s new ultra-long range Falcon 8X has begun its flight-testing programme. Initially the jet looks similar to the 7X it will overtake as flagship of Dassault’s business jet family. It’s when you get a little closer that you understand what’s drawing all the interest.
The new $58m Falcon 8X is in demand. It will start delivering at the end of 2016, but production is already sold-out until 2018. Offering a range of 6,450nm – 500nm more than the Falcon 7X – the 8X enables eight passengers and three crew to connect Paris with Tokyo; Los Angeles with Cape Town.
Additional fuel can be carried in the center fuel tank just behind the wings enabling the improved range ability, while the Falcon 8X uses three Pratt & Whitney PW307D engines with 5% more thrust than the three PW307As used by the 7X model.
Frederic Pettit, Dassault’s VP, Falcon Programs, highlights that the Falcon 8X will offer a lower direct operating cost (DOC) compared to its competitors – including a 20% lower DOC over the Gulfstream G550, and 35% less than Bombardier’s Global 6000. “This could save the 8X operator up to $5m in operating costs over six years,” he notes.
With an impressive top-speed of 0.9 Mach there are of course other essential differences between the 8X and the 7X. The fuselage is over 3ft longer than the 7X’s, and an additional two pairs of cabin windows benefit passengers with extra daylight, although galley layout and restroom options may reduce that impact on some aircraft (the forward cabin can be configured in three possible lengths, the longest offering a larger galley and a crew rest cabin).
Moving inside the main passenger area various seating layouts are possible but most Falcon 8Xs will seat 14 in three ‘zones’. The forward zone is generally configured with four facing club seats while, continuing down the aircraft the middle passenger zone incorporates a four-place dining/meeting area with a retractable table and side credenza. Further back, the aft cabin zone contains a pair of facing divans, each seating three, and from which passengers access the restroom (offering a shower option).
Considering the Falcon 8X is capable of 14 hours’ non-stop flying, comfort is a key component for any owner, and Dassault’s design centers at Le Bourget and Teterboro will offer multiple features for customers to build the cabin environment of their choice. Fabrics and leathers for seats and soft furnishings; galley and restroom options; entertainment and connectivity facilities; even the glass and chinaware can all be selected for a customized-interior. Meanwhile, the FalconCabin HD+ cabin management system will add to passenger comfort.
The flight crew, meanwhile, benefits from a stateof- the-art panel in the Dassault EASy III flight deck, incorporating head-up display and side-stick controls.
Head of the Table
The Falcon 8X takes Dassault’s business jet line-up to five models (Falcon 8X, 7X, 900LX, 2000LXS and 2000S), but another model – the super-large category Falcon 5X – will shortly increase it to six. Announced in May 2014, work on the Falcon 8X has been swift to date, and first flight took place early in 2015 beginning the certification process in which three development
aircraft will be used.
Summarizing the Falcon 8X, Dassault Falcon Jet President & CEO, John Rosanvallon explains, “Our customer advisory panel said to us that the Falcon 7X is a great aircraft but a bit more range would be welcome. They wanted a longer cabin to give more flexibility…So, that’s what we’ve achieved with the 8X.”
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Photos: courtesy of Dassault Falcon
BY MATT HARRIS, AvBuyer