The first three pre-production Falcon 6Xs are taking shape at Dassault Aviation's facility in Bordeaux-Merignac, France, and the program is on track to achieve first flight early next year, the company announced yesterday. In tandem, Pratt & Whitney and its sister company Collins Aerospace ramping up production of the 6X’s PW812D engines and nacelles, respectively, with the first podded engines delivered last week to Dassault.
“Bringing the Falcon 6X to market on schedule is a top priority for the company. Our planning and production staff have been diligent and resourceful in adapting procedures to new [Covid-19] sanitary guidelines to keep this program running smoothly,” said Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier. “Our suppliers have also made extraordinary efforts to support us.”
The first flight-test 6X has been powered up and is now in ground testing. Aircraft numbers two and three are in advanced stages of assembly, and long-cycle parts production for serialized production has already begun. The second aircraft recently had its wings mated to the fuselage and the third aircraft is in the early stages of final assembly.
Aircraft number three will also be outfitted with a full interior to evaluate systems functionality, acoustics, airflow, comfort, and other factors. Interior furnishings, environmental systems, electronics, and other equipment are currently being tested in a ground test rig before installation on the aircraft.
Electric, hydraulic, and fuel system tests have been completed, and testing of the Falcon 6X’s advanced digital flight control system have begun. Ground fatigue and damage tolerance testing are also underway.
Meanwhile, the new Falcon’s PW812D engine completed an initial airborne test campaign earlier this year aboard Pratt & Whitney’s Boeing 747 testbed and a second series of flight tests are scheduled for this summer. To date, the PW812D has accumulated more than 200 flight hours and some 1,600 hours on the ground. It has also completed initial certification tests, including bird strike, ice ingestion, and blade-off tests
Falcon 6X certification and entry into service are still planned for 2022, Dassault’s original timetable. The company said its flight test team is currently coordinating with EASA and the FAA to finalize the flight test and validation program.