• Dassault's Falcon 6X on its maiden flight. (Dassault Aviation / V. Almansa)
    Dassault's Falcon 6X on its maiden flight. (Dassault Aviation / V. Almansa)

Dassault Aviation yesterday completed the first flight of the Falcon 6X widebody corporate jet, opening the test program that will ultimately lead to certification.

With test pilots Bruno Ferry and Fabrice Valette at the controls, the aircraft S/N 01 launched from Bordeaux Merignac airport and reached a speed of 0.8 Mach and an altitude of 40,000 feet.

"The 6X flew exactly as predicted by our models," Ferry said afterwards. "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 honoured to have made the latest first flight in another fantastic Falcon."

Dassault Aviation Chairman Eric Trappier was effusive about the new 6X and at the same time honoured company legend Olivier Dassault, who died in a helicopter crash last Sunday.

"Today's flight is another milestone in Dassault history," Trappier said, "made all the more satisfying by the remarkable efforts of the entire Dassault organisation and its partners over the challenging past year.

"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.

“The 6X is the latest example of the fusion of military know-how and business aviation expertise for which Dassault Aviation is so respected. The new capabilities in efficiency, performance and safety it offers will set a new benchmark in the long-range segment.

"This airplane will also set a new standard in terms of cabin comfort and spaciousness, as demanded by our customers.”

Dassault's Falcon 6X is a widebody corporate jet with a range of 5500 nm. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW812D engines, it has a maximum speed of Mach 0.9 and will carry up to eight passengers and three crew.

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