At 2:45 p.m. local time today, Dassault Aviation test pilots Bruno Ferry and Fabrice Vallette pushed the throttles forward and lifted off on the first flight of Falcon 6X S/N 1 from France’s Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport. The inaugural flight launched the flight test phase of the widebody 6X, Dassault’s newest fly-by-wire flagship. Certification and entry into service are planned for 2022.
Ferry—in the left seat—and Vallette logged about two hours and 30 minutes during the flight, testing handling qualities, engine response, and key systems while climbing to 40,000 feet and reaching Mach 0.80.
“The 6X flew exactly as predicted by our models,” said Ferry. “From a pilot’s perspective, it flies like a Falcon, which is to say with perfect precise handling in all phases of flight. Fabrice and I are honored to have made the latest first flight in another fantastic Falcon.”
“Today’s flight is another milestone in Dassault history, made all the more satisfying by the remarkable efforts of the entire Dassault organization and its partners over the challenging past year,” said Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier. “We dedicate today’s achievement to Olivier Dassault, who died tragically on Sunday. Olivier was a Falcon pilot who perfectly embodied his family’s boundless passion for aviation.”
Following today’s first flight, S/N 1 will fly to Dassault’s flight test center at Istres-Le Tubé Air Base near Marseilles to continue the flight-test program. It will be joined by S/Ns 2 and 3 “in the coming months,” according to Dassault.
The twin-engine 6X is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW812D (“D” for Dassault), with each engine delivering 13,500 pounds of thrust. The PW812D features a 44-inch single-piece fan, a 4.5:1 to 5:1 bypass ratio, and the low-emissions Talon X combustor.
With a cabin a height of 78 inches (1.98 meters) and a width of 102 inches, the 6X has the largest cross-section dimensions of a purpose-built business jet. The cabin can accommodate up to 16 passengers in three lounge areas. Compared to earlier Falcons, the 6X’s aisle is five inches wider. Baggage is accommodated in a 155-cu-ft compartment inside the pressure vessel, plus there is another unpressurized compartment of 76 cu ft. Courtesy of AIN.