Today at EBACE 2014, Dassault took the wraps off the Falcon 8X–a 7X derivative with a 3.6-foot-longer fuselage (at 42.6 feet) and 500 nm more range (at 6,450 nm). The flagship 8X, priced at approximately $58 million (10 percent more than the Falcon 7X), is expected to fly in the first quarter of next year. Certification is expected in mid-2016, with deliveries beginning in the second half of that year.
Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation’s chairman and CEO, said late in April that he found the business jet market “a little bit slow.” He would like to see a more active market, especially in the U.S.“But step-by-step we are back on the right track, in terms of orders,” he added. AIN understands that Falcon salespeople have found the first four months of 2014 tougher than expected.
Only seven months after having unveiled the Falcon 5X, a cleansheet design, Dassault Aviation (Booth 7090) is here taking the wraps off the Falcon 8X, a significant upgrade over the existing Falcon 7X. A longer cabin will offer more layout possibilities, while a greater range, at 6,450 nm (a 500-nm increase), is making more city pairs possible between Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Dassault is planning to roll out several improvements for the Falcon 7X this year, both as retrofit and for new-production aircraft. One of these upgrades includes the fuel system, which is being modified to cut refueling time.
To increase operational availability, Falcon 7X maintenance intervals are being increased. The basic check, which used to take place every two months, is now being rescheduled for every 300 flight hours. Moreover, the time between two A-checks will be extended sometime next year.
The Dassault Falcon 7X set a new transatlantic speed record on May 2, flying the 3,465-nm trip between Teterboro, N.J., and London City Airport in 5 hours 54 minutes. Falcon 7X S/N 208 flew at an average speed of Mach 0.88 on the record jaunt, the company said. Test pilot Philippe Deleume and Dassault operational pilot Olivier Froment were at the controls, and three passengers were on board. The flight information has been sent to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in Switzerland for recognition as an official world record.
Dassault is considering using a large proportion of composite materials on the next generation of Falcons. “Hopefully we will have a full composite wing 10 years from now,” an executive at the company’s Biarritz factory, which has expertise in composites manufacturing, told AIN.
The rationale is that the expected weight reduction will provide fuel savings. Another executive at the Bordeaux Martignas plant, which specializes in wings–so far made of aluminum alloys–confirmed the new path.
Dassault Aviation rolled out the 250th Falcon 7X this week at the aircraft manufacturer’s Charles Lindbergh Hall in Mérignac near Bordeaux, France.
The milestone trijet entered final assembly earlier this year and will fly to the Falcon completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June. It will be delivered to its customer before year-end.
Although Dassault Falcon Jet’s current line of business jets satisfies the needs of buyers who want large, wide cabins, there is no Falcon Jet that flies as far as the ultra-long range Gulfstream G650 or upcoming Bombardier Global jets. But that should soon change, as the Falcon family is slated to see an announcement about a new member at the EBACE show in Geneva next month.
As already reported by AIN, Dassault Aviation will launch a new Falcon business jet at May’s EBACE show in Geneva. At a press conference in Paris on Thursday to announce its annual financial results, the French group’s CEO, Eric Trappier, confirmed its intention to introduce an aircraft currently being developed under the name “M 1000” but declined to give any other details.
Dassault Aviation delivered nine Falcon business jets to operators in the Middle East last year, pushing the Falcon fleet in the region to almost 70 aircraft. “We are on a trend to increase our fleet by 10 percent. That is what we managed to do last year,” said Renauld Cloatre, Dassault’s Dubai-based Falcon sales director, speaking at the Air Expo show in Abu Dhabi today.