A Look At Dassault Aviation Falcon Business Jets Through The Years

Dassault Aviation’s first business jet, the Mystère 20, first flew on May 4th, 1963, with Charles Lindbergh (center) on hand. Pan Am ordered 40 units of the jet and established Pan Am Business Jets, which would eventually become a new business unit named Dassault Falcon Jet that still distributes Falcon jets in the U.S. and points west today. (Photo courtesy of Dassault Aviation.)

Later this year, French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation expects to enter its all-new, 16-passenger Falcon 6X into service as the first extra-wide-body business jet. In 2025, the aerospace firm plans to begin deliveries of its flagship Falcon 10X ultra-long-range business jet, complete with the biggest, most comfortable cabin in its class. Both jets are part of a storied history that dates to 1963 with the maiden flight of Dassault’s first business jet, the Mystère 20.

Founded in 1929 by Marcel Dassault, Dassault Aviation is a subsidiary of the Dassault Group that also manufactures military aircraft like the twin-engine Rafale multirole fighter, from which Falcons have borrowed numerous innovations and features through the years.

Dassault also offers customers special-mission Falcons for maritime surveillance, intelligence, and medical evacuation applications. There are more than 2,130 Falcons in operation worldwide, and Dassault supports and services them with a network of more than 60 Falcon service centers.

The following provides a historical look at Falcon aircraft through the decades, as well as a glimpse into Dassault’s future.

The Falcon 50 trijet, shown at the top above as a prototype along with a Falcon 200 and Falcon 10, was introduced in 1976. (Photo courtesy of Dassault Aviation.)

The Past

When the Mystère 20 made its first flight in Mérignac, France, none other than Charles Lindbergh was visiting Dassault Aviation on behalf of Pan Am. Based on Lindbergh’s recommendation, the airline immediately ordered 40 units of the jet, which Dassault later rebranded the Falcon 20.

About a decade later, FedEx launched its business with more than 30 Falcon 20s equipped with a large cargo door. FedEx pilot Larry Tubor described the Falcon 20 as “just like a little sports car—so responsive and a lot of fun to fly—but also one of the most solid airplanes I’ve ever flown.” Dassault eventually built nearly 500 Falcon 20-series aircraft.

The 1970s saw Dassault introduce the Falcon 10 and Falcon 50. The Falcon 50 trijet could complete transcontinental and transoceanic treks and was the first civil aircraft with a supercritical wing. It also kick-started the company’s leadership in computer-aided design (CAD), Dassault says.

A Falcon 10 business jet is shown here in front of Dassault Aviation’s facility in Mérignac, France. (Photo courtesy of Dassault Aviation.)

At the 1983 Paris Air Show, Dassault launched the Falcon 900, its first business jet designed using 3D digital models. The jet also included the first cockpit with electronic flight instruments. A decade later, Dassault unveiled the Falcon 2000, the first civilian aircraft with a head-up display (HUD).

The Falcon 7X was introduced in 2001 and entered service in 2007, bringing digital fly-by-wire functionality, the EASy flight deck, and construction with composite materials to business aviation. In 2012, Dassault launched the large-cabin Falcon 2000LXS equipped with an EASy II cockpit.

The 16-passenger Falcon 8X followed in 2014, complete with the FalconEye Combined Vision System, giving flight crews enhanced situational awareness in all weather conditions, day or night. In 2021, Dassault simultaneously launched the Falcon 6X and 10X programs.

Dassault expects to begin deliveries of the Falcon 10X in 2025. The jet will seat up to 19 passengers in what the company says will be the largest cabin of any purpose-built business jet. (Photo courtesy of Dassault Aviation.)

The Present

Current in-flight Falcon aircraft include the twin-engine 2000LXS from Dassault’s best-selling 2000 series and the trijet 900LX and long-range 8X. Powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines, the 8X has a 6,450-nautical-mile (11,945-kilometer) range. Dassault says the aircraft is 30% more fuel-efficient than its ultra-long-range competitors and has the segment’s quietest cabin.

The jet’s proprietary Digital Flight Control System (DFCS), which is derived from Rafale fighter jet systems, is designed to reduce pilots’ workload. The 8X is also available with the Falcon Privacy Suite, a patented concept unveiled in 2022 that affords passengers more personal space and peace and quiet, which in turn lead to restful sleep on long flights. The suite is also available for the Falcon 6X.

Expected to enter service this year, the Falcon 6X will boast 30 windows and a skylight in what Dassault says is the tallest (6.5 feet; 1.98 meters) and widest (8.5 ft.; 2.58 m) cabin in business aviation. (Photo courtesy of Dassault Aviation.)

Dassault has delivered about 700 Falcon 2000-series units to date, including 40 of the 10-passenger 2000LXS, which combines short-field performance with a 4,000-nm (7,410-km) range. It’s equipped with High Mach Blended Winglets that Dassault says enhance lift while reducing drag by up to 7%. By comparison, the jet’s nearest competitor uses 20% more fuel and needs 20% more runway for landings, Dassault claims.

Nearly 555 Falcon 900-series aircraft have been delivered. The Falcon 900LX was launched in 2008, offering 7% greater range and 10% better climbing performance than the Falcon 900EX. In 2016, Dassault released a modernized version of the 900LX with a redesigned cabin that boasts advanced acoustic technology and three individual lounge areas for working, eating, and sleeping.

The Future

Dassault says the twin-engine Falcon 6X will enter service with the quietest, widest (8.5 feet; 2.59 meters), and tallest (6.5 ft; 1.98 m) cabin of any business jet flying, with the most advanced cabin filtration and circulation systems in the class. The cabin’s design garnered the jet a 2021 Red Dot: Best of the Best award as well as a 2020 International Yacht & Aviation Award.

The 6X will also be the first Falcon to include the FalconScan advanced diagnostics system, which can monitor and report on 100,000 maintenance parameters.

Dassault’s patented Falcon Privacy Suite concept is available for the Falcon 6X and 8X and includes a seat that reclines to create an 80-inch-long bed. (Photo courtesy of Dassault Aviation.)

The Falcon 10X, winner of a 2022 Good Design Award and a 2022 Red Dot Award, will provide the industry’s most comfortable and biggest cabin, Dassault says. Measuring 6.7 ft (2.04 m) high by 9.1 ft (2.77 m) wide by 53.8 ft (16.4 m) long, the cabin has 38 windows, adding up to the most window area in the industry.

Use of advanced noise reduction technologies will also make for extremely quiet travel. The jet is powered by dual Rolls-Royce Pearl engines and has wings featuring carbon-fiber-composite construction and advanced, retractable high-lift devices that Dassault says enable superior maneuverability at low-approach speeds.

The 10X’s DFCS has a new single-button recovery mode and a Smart Throttle that connects the engines to the DFCS, which will automatically manage each engine’s power according to various flight scenarios.

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Posted On: 6/14/2023 10:24:43 AM