French executive jet manufacturer Dassault is confident that its Falcon 6X prototype will make its first flight in early 2021 despite the upheaval caused by the pandemic.
In an update issued overnight, Dassault Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said development of the new long-range corporate jet was progessing in spite of sanitary precautions that needed to be taken.
"Bringing the Falcon 6X to market on schedule is a top priority for the company," Trappier said. "Our planning and production staff have been diligent and resourceful in adapting procedures to new sanitary guidelines to keep this program running smoothly.
“Our suppliers have also made extraordinary efforts to support us. We are grateful to them all.”
The first of the three pre-production 6X aircraft that will take part in flight certification has been powered up and is in ground testing. The second and third test articles are in advanced stages of assembly; the second aircraft recently had its wings mated to the fuselage and the third aircraft is in the early stages of final assembly.
The Falcon 6X will carry up to 16 passengers in a wide cabin and has a maximum range of 5500 nm at Mach 0.80 and 5100 nm at 0.85. The 6X is largely based on the Falcon 5X aerodynamics and systems, which have been optimised on the 6X to take advantage of the two 13,000-lb thrust Pratt & Whitney PW812D turbofans.
At high-speed cruise, the Falcon 6X will be capable of going Moscow to New York, Paris to Beijing, Shanghai to Melbourne and Los Angeles to London non stop.
Certification and entry into service are set for 2022, in keeping with the original timetable, which began when the project was first announced in March 2018.