Dassault is presenting its new Falcon 8X flagship aircraft for the first time at this week’s LABACE show in São Paulo. The long-range jet will enter service in Brazil during the fourth quarter of this year if certification by the country’s aviation regulator, ANAC, proceeds as expected over the next two months. The 8X received certification from the FAA and EASA in early July, after 8X Serial Number 3 completed a global proving tour in April.
The 6,450 nautical-mile 8X has the range to connect São Paulo to destinations as far afield as Moscow, which means it can also make all of Europe and the U.S. non-stop from the Brazilian city. The proving tour also showed how well the aircraft performed in different operating conditions (from extreme hot weather to extreme cold) while providing exceptional cabin comfort and connectivity. The tour consisted of 65 flights that varied in duration from 18 minutes to 14 hours, with total flying itinerary of 55,000 nm, as the aircraft visited 46 destinations in Europe, the Americas, China and Southeast Asia.
“Feedback from the operational trials--cabin comfort, air conditioning, and in particular cabin noise--was excellent, and indicate the aircraft is poised for a flawless service entry,” said Dassault senior vice president Olivier Villa. “Moreover, new innovations in aircraft insulation will allow us to further lower cabin noise compared to the Falcon 7X.”
Production of the 8X is continuing to ramp up to meet growing demand for the aircraft. Serial number 429 is currently in final assembly at Dassault’s Mérignac production plant near Bordeaux in southwest France, while a total of 15 aircraft are in the final completion phase.
John Rosanvallon, Dassault Falcon president and CEO, said the 8X “has broken new ground” in the industry. “Brazil has shown strong demand for the 8X since we first announced the program two years ago, with four of the first 20 aircraft scheduled to be delivered there. That’s a great sign of a Brazilian market that might be turning the corner for the better,” he commented.
The manufacturer believes that its Dassault Aircraft Services subsidiary in Sorocaba, an hour’s drive west of São Paulo, is “key” to Falcon success in Brazil. To meet the needs of South American customers, it recently added a further $3 million to its spares inventory there (taking the total to over $7.5 million), and has continuously added repair capabilities since 2009.
From Sorocaba, Dassault can dispatch an AOG team to support Falcon aircraft anywhere in South America, “along with the parts and tools necessary to get the aircraft flying again with minimal delay.”