• Dassault's three 6X development airframes along a Rafale fighter. (Dassault Aviation)
    Dassault's three 6X development airframes along a Rafale fighter. (Dassault Aviation)

French manufacturer Dassault Aviation this week said that the new Falcon 6X program is on track for certification late next year.

The new long-range wide-body corporate jet first flew in March this year and the development program now has three aircraft in flight and a fourth on the cusp of flying.

Dassault Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier briefed the National Business Aviation Association conference in Las Vegas, saying the test pilots are very impressed with the aircraft so far.

"Our test pilots have given the 6X high marks for its excellent handling," Trappier said. "In fact, they say it handles better than any previous Falcon – quite a compliment, considering the legendary flying qualities of Falcon aircraft.

"What I can tell you as an engineer is that the 6X is equipped with the most advanced version of our industry leading digital flight control system, and this helps explain why it handles so well.

"The 6X engine, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D, is also sailing through its test program and certification is expected very soon. We are extremely pleased with the way Pratt & Whitney has performed in this demanding campaign."

The 6X is a widebody corporate jet with a range of 5500 nm. It has a maximum speed of Mach 0.9 and will carry up to eight passengers and three crew.

Dassault also announced a new Falcon 10X long-range jet in May despite the general industry down-turn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. With signs of industry recovery, Trappier said he was optimisic about the future of business aviation and the corporate jet market.

"The COVID crisis has reduced heavily the activity and therefore the orders but now overall flying activity is back to a level higher than two years ago, before the epidemic struck.

"Demand for pre-owned aircraft has continued to be sustained throughout the past year, and second hand inventory is now at historically low levels.

"This is why I strongly believe in the future of business aviation."

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