Business jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation has presented its ultra long-range Falcon 8X to the world at an unveiling ceremony in Bordeaux, France.
The Falcon 8X, which was designed to enable non-stop flights such as Sydney-Mumbai, Hong Kong-London or Beijing-Los Angeles, was unveiled to media, operators and industry figures on Wednesday (French time) at the company’s Bordeaux-Merignac facility.
The company says the flagship Falcon 8X was expected to make its first flight in the first quarter of calendar 2015, with a total of three aircraft – including one with a full cabin interior – to be used during the flight testing and certification phase.
Deliveries were due to start from the second half of 2016, Dassault said.
“We are extremely happy with progress on our new Falcon flagship,” Dassault Aviation senior vice president of civil aircraft Olivier Villa said in a statement.
“The program is right on schedule and all systems are performing exactly as designed.”
The aircraft, which was an update of Dassault’s existing Falcon 7X and launched in May at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition, was expected to undergo final assembly and testing at Dassault’s Charles Lindbergh Hall at Merignac.
Dassault said wing mating and engine installation on the first Falcon 8X were completed in July, while flight control system testing, vibration tests and fuel system testing finished in November.
The Falcon 8X trijet, which is powered by an updated version of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307 engine currently on the Falcon 7X, had its first engine run in early December.
The Falcon 7X has received about 250 orders since it launched in 2007 and Dassault Aviation chairman and chief executive Eric Trappier said he expected a “similarly bright future for the 8X”.
With a cabin length of 13 metres, the Falcon 8X was capable of flying eight passengers and three crew 6,450nm at a speed of 0.8 Mach. The cabin could be configured up to 30 different ways, including the potential to install a shower in the lavatory.
The company has built aircraft at Merignac since 1949 and the facility has produced 8,000 civil and military aircraft, including 2,300 Falcons, Dassault said.