Aircraft Spotlight: Dassault Falcon 8X
DASSAULT AVIATION’S FALCON 8X ENTERED INTO SERVICE IN OCTOBER 2016 AND IS ALREADY PROVING TO BE POPULAR WITH CUSTOMERS THROUGHOUT ASIA PACIFIC. THE 8X IS THE FLAGSHIP OF DASSAULT AVIATION’S BUSINESS JET LINE-UP. IT HAS THE LONGEST RANGE AND IS THE LARGEST DASSAULT AIRCRAFT IN PRODUCTION.
Buyers in this region tend to gravitate towards larger, longer-range aircraft and the 8X was developed specially to cater to their needs. Its cabin is 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 meters) high, 7 feet 8 inches (2.34m) wide and 42 feet 8 inches (13 meters) long. The spacious interior cabin sets new standards in passenger comfort for an ultra-long-range aircraft and, as always, provides customers with a high level of customization. The 8X truly lives up to its claim of ‘your office and home in the sky’.
The Falcon 8X can fly at 51,000 feet – well above the weather – but passengers can always stay connected to the ground thanks to FalconConnect, a system that makes use of the advances in satellite technology, so you can use your personal devices on board the aircraft for phone calls, messaging, video streaming and more.
The 8X has a 6,450nm/11,945km range – long enough to fly non-stop from Beijing to Los Angeles, Shanghai to Seattle and Hong Kong to London. This incredible range is powered Pratt &Whitney Canada PW307Ds. And, improvements to the design of the wings makes this three-engine aircraft up to 30% more fuel-efficient than any other aircraft in the ultra-long-range segment. The greater fuel efficiency can also be attributed to a much lower maximum take-off weight (MTOW) than its competitors. The 8X’s MTOW is 73,000lb compared to around 100,000lb for similar existing models.
Another key benefit of having three engines is that the 8X is less constrained by the rules pertaining to extended twin-engine operations (ETOPs). For example, a three-engine aircraft flying from Sydney to Santiago, Chile is permitted to have a flight path that is 1,000nm shorter than what a twin-engine aircraft is permitted to fly.
The 8X, like the 7X, has tremendous short take-off and landing capabilities and can operate in ‘hot and high’ flying conditions. In addition, it is capable of steep approaches up to six degrees, allowing it to serve challenging airports such as London City Airport and Lugano, Switzerland.
The Falcon 8X cockpit features a new Enhanced Avionics System (EASy), jointly developed by Dassault Aviation and Honeywell. It also includes Honeywell’s next generation 3D color weather radar system with enhanced turbulence detection capability.
Additionally, FalconEye is available on the 8X. This is the world’s first civil certified head up vision system (HUD) that combines synthetic vision – data-base terrain mapping – with enhanced vision. This combined vision system (CVS) gives pilots better situational awareness in poor weather - such as fog, mist and snow — during the day and night. In October, the European Aviation Safety Agency and US FAA certified the 8X to use FalconEye for poor visibility approaches down to 100ft. This new capability greatly expands the number of airports the aircraft can serve in bad weather conditions. Dassault is also aiming to achieve certification in 2020 for a dual-HUD option that allows pilots to land the aircraft without using natural vision to see the runway.
Dassault Aviation aircraft are also backed by a comprehensive customer support network around the globe. The network comprises of both Dassault-owned and authorized third party maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centers. The French aircraft-maker recently acquired the MRO businesses of ExecuJet and TAG Aviation, two big names in the industry. Acquiring TAG Aviation’s MRO network expands Dassault Aviation’s already strong customer service network in Europe. The acquisition of ExecuJet’s MRO centers, meanwhile, expands the Dassault-owned network of service centers into the Middle East, Africa as well as Asia Pacific, namely: Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Perth, Wellington and Sydney.
Dassault also has spare parts pools in Asia Pacific and across the globe and a team of over one hundred Dassault field service representatives, with service engineers and experts available 24/7. Providing even further support is Falcon Broadcast, a system that transmits data in real time via satcom from the aircraft to maintenance personnel on the ground. This allows maintenance teams to troubleshoot issues while the aircraft is airborne and be ready with the right spare part as soon as it touches down.
The 8X’s extensive support system, combined with its cockpit and onboard technology, as well as its extended range, has led Dassault Aviation to designate the aircraft as ‘the aircraft of choice’ in Asia Pacific for those business jet owners looking to step up to something bigger and better.