But when world financial markets tanked in 2008, demand fizzled for SMS and smaller aircraft. Soon, it became apparent that those markets, and particularly the lighter jets, might not fully recover for a decade or more. The large-cabin market, however, began to rebound as soon as the first green shoots of economic recovery sprouted in 2009.
So, Dassault engineers went back to their CATIA screens and completely revamped the SMS design. By the end of 2009, the SMS had become a much different aircraft. Indeed, it would become the largest and most-advanced Falcon Jet yet built, requiring an investment of well over $1 billion. As such, the Falcon 5X will provide the basis for larger and longer range Falcon Jets into the future.
Dassault’s Most Commodious Cabin Yet
The Falcon 5X's circular fuselage has a diameter that is 8 in. larger than any previous Falcon Jet. Overall cabin length only is 5 in. shorter than that of the Falcon 7X, thus the Falcon 5X's cabin volume is 14% greater than that of its trijet sibling. The increased cross section affords 4 in. more headroom and 10 in. more floor width than the Falcon 7X, thereby allowing the use of wider seats while still increasing available aisle width by 5 to 6 in. in most areas of the cabin. Noise will be sopped up by an acoustical insulation package similar to that used aboard the Falcon 7X, assuring interior noise levels at or below those of any current production Falcon Jet.
Similar to most other long-range, large-cabin business aircraft, the heart of the cabin is divided into three sections. The 25.3-ft.-long main seating area has a forward, four-chair club section, a mid-cabin four-seat conference grouping flanked by a credenza with occasional bench seating and a separate aft lounge that can be configured several ways, including with two three-place divans. The three lounges will berth six passengers on overnight missions.
Up front, there's a 7-ft.-long vestibule with crew lavatory, galley and storage that is longer and has about 25% more volume than the vestibule of the Falcon 7X. The galley area also is considerably larger than those of the G450 and Global 5000. The galley has more usable storage space and better ergonomics than the one in the Falcon 7X.
Overhead in the vestibule is business aviation's first large skylight (the HondaJet has a pair of small skylights in its lav) because there's almost never too much ambient light available in the galley area. When the sun is too bright, electro-chromic filters will dim the skylight, as well as all cabin side windows.
As there is 5 in. more floor width in the galley area and the cabinetry has gentle convex curves, passengers won't feel as though they're squeezing through a tunnel as they walk through the forward vestibule area. The galley was designed with extensive input from flight attendants who work aboard current generation Falcon Jets.
Dassault customers said they wanted more ambient light in the cabin, so the Falcon 5X will be fitted with 28 of the largest cabin windows ever used on a Falcon Jet. They're 1 in. taller than the transparencies used on the Falcon 7X. They indeed provide as much window area per cubic foot of cabin volume as the 16 wide oval cabin windows of the G650, so no business aircraft will have more ambient light.
The cabin has several new design features. The chairs, for example, have a more contemporary look with hollowed out armrests and cocoon-like, wraparound seat bases and backs. The cocoon chairs make passengers feel as though they occupy a space that's dedicated solely to them, not unlike belting into the front seat of a luxury automobile. The side rails are split-level affairs. The foldout worktables extend so that the top surfaces are flush with the side rail upper ledges, effectively increasing their usable width to the cabin sidewalls.