Falcon 5X makes first flight

The first flight of the Falcon 5X takes off. (Dassault Aviation)
The first flight of the Falcon 5X takes off. (Dassault Aviation)

Dassault Falcon says its Falcon 5X business jet has completed its first flight ahead of the full flight test campaign that is slated to get underway in 2018.

The two-hour flight took place at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Mérignac facility with test pilots Philippe Deleume and Philippe Rebourg in the flight deck of the Falcon 5X F-WFVX.

Dassault said said in a statement on Wednesday (European time) these “advanced flight tests” were being conducted with a preliminary version of the Safran Silvercrest engines, due to delays with the engine’s development.

The flight deck of the Falcon 5X on the day of the aircraft's first flight. (Dassault Aviation)
The flight deck of the Falcon 5X on the day of the aircraft’s first flight. (Dassault Aviation)

Further, Dassault said the flights planned for the next few weeks were to “collect a certain amount of airframe and systems data that could not be generated during a ground test campaign undertaken earlier this spring”.

“We’re committed to limiting the consequences of the four-year engine development delay as much as possible and the short preliminary flight test campaign is part of this effort,” Dassault Aviation chief executive Eric Trappier said in a statement.

“We will closely monitor the validation tests on the modified Silvercrest, which are scheduled by Safran in the few coming months, as their results will be critical for meeting the 5X entry into service in 2020.”

The “full fledged flight test campaign” was scheduled to begin in 2018, Dassault said.

Dassault launched the Falcon 5X at the 2013 National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention in Las Vegas.

At the time, the airframer said it expected to achieve first flight in 2015 and certification by 2016. However, engine issues have delayed the program.

The aircraft’s rollout ceremony took place on June 2 2015 at Bordeaux-Mérignac.

Powered by two Snecma Silvercrest jet engines each with 11,450lb of thrust, the aircraft is designed to fly 5,200nm with a cabin able to seat eight passengers alongside three crew. From Sydney, that puts cities in all of Japan, as well as parts of China and India, within nonstop reach.

A 14-passenger configuration for the ultra-wide business jet cabin, which measures 11.79m long, 2.58m wide and 1.98m high according to the Dassault website, is also available.

The Falcon 5X competes in the same class as the Bombardier Global 5000, the shorter range Gulfstream 450, and the Cessna Citation Longitude.

The Dassault Falcon 5X being prepared for its first flight at Bordeaux-Mérignac. (Dassault Aviation)
The Dassault Falcon 5X being prepared for its first flight at Bordeaux-Mérignac. (Dassault Aviation)
The first flight of the Dassault Falcon 5X takes off at Bordeaux-Mérignac. (Dassault Aviation) .
The first flight of the Dassault Falcon 5X takes off at Bordeaux-Mérignac. (Dassault Aviation)

“Our customers are anxious to fly our new widebody Falcon,” Trappier said.

“Combined with the 5X’s new generation digital flight controls, the new ultra efficient wing will make it possible to blend the spaciousness and comfort of large cabin jets with the manoeuvrability, efficiency and airport capability of much smaller aircraft, establishing a new benchmark for the long range business jet market.”

The AAF YouTube account posted a video of the first flight

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