Dassault Unveils Falcon 5X

By Fred George fred_george@aviationweek.com
Source: Business & Commercial Aviation

On the lower sidewall step, there are storage pockets that are level with the outboard armrests of the passenger chairs. Sliding lids above the storage pockets reveal spaces to stow and plug in iPhones, iPods or PDAs. Each individual chair also has ergonomic cabin management controls with hard line select keys for frequently used functions, plus touch screen controls and a rotating knob for adjusting variables. There are plug-in ports for individual seat monitors and Wi-Fi will support using iPads or iPhones as IFE monitors. Broadband Internet connectivity will be provided by satcom and also perhaps by air-to-ground data links. It's likely that the aircraft also will have an Iridium phone, but Dassault hadn't yet released the initial specifications and description document as we closed this issue.

The mid-cabin section has the feel of an informal conference room. There are four conventional chairs arranged around a conference table, plus a credenza on the opposite side that has a long bench cushion that provides a perch for other passengers to join the conversation with those at the table.

The aft section of the cabin may configured as a private stateroom, with selective electro-chromic filters that transform bulkhead partitions into privacy curtains. Some operators may choose to fit the aft area with a single workstation chair and a pull-out divan on the opposite side. Others may opt for one divan on the left and another on the right. Still others may elect to fit one side with a pair of facing chairs and a divan on the opposite side — or any combination of those modules.

The aft lavatory is shorter than the one in the Falcon 7X, but it's actually quite roomy because of the larger cross-section. In addition, the fuselage doesn't begin to taper until aft of the internal baggage door. The lav features a vacuum toilet, vanity with hot and cold running water, and generous storage. Notably, the forward and aft lavs do not share common water and waste systems. The forward lav is available with either a conventional chemical or vacuum toilet and is not linked to the aft lavatory.

The 155-cu.-ft. aft baggage com–partment will be accessible in flight with no altitude restrictions because the engine rotor burst plane is behind the aft pressure bulkhead. The external access door translates aft of the doorway when opened so that it doesn't obstruct the opening. There is a ladder that will ease luggage loading chores for the crew.

Conventional Structure, Advanced Systems

Construction of 5X components is well underway at Dassault and its subcontractors. No surprises here. Similar to all previous Falcon Jets, Dassault will use high strength aluminum alloys for most of the primary airframe structure of the Falcon 5X. Most of the parts will be joined with conventional hardware. A few components will be fused together using friction stir welding, a first for a Falcon Jet. Composites will be used for the empennage, engine nacelles, fairings and radome, among other secondary structures.

Work share is similar to that on the Falcon 7X, with Dassault building the forward and aft fuselages, plus the wings; Daher-Socata is constructing most center fuselage parts; and Fokker is making the composite empennage with extensive use of resin transfer molding. In addition, Belgium's SABCA is building the aft, lower center fuselage section; GKN is constructing the wing's aft control surfaces; Safran's Snecma supplies the nacelles as part of the integrated powerplant package; Corsica's Corse Composite Aeronautique is building the wing to body fairing; and Potez, in southwest France, is supplying the main entry door.

The aero loft contours depart from those of previous Falcon Jets, starting with the 779-sq.-ft. clean-sheet wing, the first Dassault airfoil to have winglets as part of the initial design. It features a straight leading edge, a relatively modest 33 deg. of leading edge sweep and a 5% to 10% better lift-to-drag ratio than the airfoil of the Falcon 7X. High-altitude Mach buffet boundaries should be at least 15% better than those of legacy large-cabin Falcon Jets. And the wing weighs 500 lb. less than that of the Falcon 7X because of improved structural efficiency, in part due to the wing's straight leading edge that makes possible a wider chord, more rigid internal wing box.

The signature cruciform Falcon Jet tail design is retained, but the horizontal stabilizer has no anhedral.

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