Dassault Aviation has confirmed the completion of the first test flight on its new Falcon 6X business jet, marking the official beginning of the jet’s certification process.
The 6X, serial number 01, took off from the company’s Mérignac plant near Bordeaux at 2:45pm on Wednesday, as the pilots testing the aircraft’s handling qualities, engine response and the behaviour of key aircraft systems
The aircraft reportedly topped out at 40,000 feet and reached a speed of Mach 0.8 before returning to its base.
According to test pilots Bruno Ferry and Fabrice Valette, the Falcon 6X flew “exactly as predicted” during its two-and-a-half hour maiden flight.
“From a pilot’s perspective, it flies like a Falcon, which is to say with perfect precise handling in all phases of flight,” said Ferry.
“Fabrice and I are honoured to have made the latest first flight in another fantastic Falcon.”
One of the biggest bizjet launches in years, the 6X’s cabin is the tallest and widest in business aviation, yet has a 5,500 nautical mile range, long enough to fly non-stop between London to Hong Kong or LA to Moscow.
Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier said the Falcon 6X test flight marks “another milestone in Dassault history”, before dedicating the day’s achievement to the late Olivier Dassault, a descendant of the founding family of the aerospace company, who passed away in a helicopter crash on Sunday, aged 69.
“Olivier was a Falcon pilot who perfectly embodied his family’s boundless passion for aviation,” he added.
Trappier also noted: “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.”
Falcon 6X 01 is now set to complete the next steps of its intensive testing program at the Dassault flight test centre near Marseilles.
Falcon 6X 02 and 03 are both scheduled to take their own maiden flights over the next coming months.
Earlier in the week, Trappier teased that the 6X would be making its maiden journey within days.
At that time, he also indicated the aircraft is on course to be delivered to clients in 2022, while hinting yet another new Falcon could be unveiled in “months, or even weeks”.