Dassault Aviation launches longest Falcon yet

Newest Falcon jet extends range, fuel efficiency and cabin customization, while Dassault considers using more composites on future models.

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Dassault Aviation has launched the Falcon 8X, offering an ultra long range of 6,450 nm (11,945 km) non-stop at Mach 0.8 and the longest cabin of any Falcon.  Combined with an ultra-efficient wing featuring optimized leading edge profile and winglets, the new Pratt and Whitney Canada PW307 engine will reportedly make the Falcon 8X up to 35 percent more fuel efficient than any other aircraft in the ultra-long range segment. It will also reduce noise levels and NOx emissions.

According to Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO, Eric Trappier, “The Falcon 8X will be the longest cabin of any Falcon.  But, more importantly, it will feature the highest level of customization of any large cabin business jet on the market.” More than 30 cabin configurations will be available, including an extensive selection of passenger seating areas of varying lengths that can support different lavatory layouts, including a lavatory with shower. Three galley sizes, two with a crew-rest option, are also available.

First flight is expected in early 2015 with certification in the middle of 2016 and initial deliveries before the end of 2016. The Falcon 8X is already at an advanced stage of production with the first airframe expected to be assembled at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Merignac, France facility in the coming months. An extensive expansion project at Dassault’s Little Rock, Arkansas, USA facility will break ground shortly, enabling it to accommodate completion of the two new aircraft in development: the 8X and 5X.

Meanwhile, Aviation International News (AIN) reported earlier in May that Dassault is considering using a large proportion of composite materials on the next generation of Falcons, including perhaps a full composite wing within a decade, according to a Dassault executive. The driver is fuel efficiency resulting from weight savings vs. current aluminum alloy construction.

AIN reported that Dassault has been using a variety of composite production techniques that it could apply to major airframe components in the future including automated fiber placement, which it is using on the Falcon 5X tail cone and resin transfer molding, which was selected for winglets. Reportedly, a Falcon 20 flew in 1985 with a wing largely made of composites, but did not progress beyond the prototype stage.