- Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 10X is the latest ultra-long-range private jet, going up against Gulfstream and Bombardier.
- While late to the scene and comparable in range to the Bombardier Global 7500 and Gulfstream G700, the Falcon 10X offers unbeatable cabin enhancements.
- Smaller airports will also be easier to access and with more capability than other aircraft.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Dassault Aviation is the latest entrant into the ultra-long-range realm of private jets and going up against long-time rivals Bombardier and Gulfstream with its latest Falcon 10X.
Debuted in May, the $75 million Falcon 10X – with a top speed of Mach .925 and range of 7,500 nautical miles – appears to offer a similar value proposition to Bombardier and Gulfstream’s flagships, which boast similar capabilities in range and speed.
But while comparable in its ability, the real differences will be found in the Falcon 10X’s cabin, which will be the largest in its class.
Philip Rushton, president of aircraft sales and acquisition firm Aviatrade, has transacted billions of dollars in sales to some of the industry’s most discerning clients. He’s seen, sold, and flown on some of the industry’s best aircraft but came away particularly impressed with the Falcon 10X.
“Just what I’m seeing on paper, and knowing Falcon Jet and their history, [Dassault is] going to come up with a real game-changer,” Rushton told Insider. Dassault’s next flagship is scheduled to debut in 2025 but may have no trouble catching up with the competition.
Here’s why Rushton is excited about the plane.
Late to the party but making up for lost time
The Falcon 10X isn’t the first of its category to arrive on the scene but Rushton says there’s no harm in it being last behind giants Bombardier and Gulfstream, as it can build off of what the competition started.
Bombardier has the lead on both Gulfstream and Dassault with its Global 7500 that’s been flying customers since December 2018. Gulfstream’s G700 is currently in flight testing and hasn’t yet had the chance to prove itself flying real-world clients.
Dassault’s next flagship aircraft is still years away from leaving the ground but Rushton has no doubts about the French manufacturer’s ability to deliver. “The Falcon 10X is more theoretical than the Gulfstream G700 but [Dassault has] the background to do it,” Rushton said, noting that Dassault has a strong track record of business jets and often uses its fighter jet know-how in its business jets to give them a competitive edge.
In this case, fighter jet technology can be found in the Falcon 10X cockpit as its two engines are controlled by a single throttle lever to prevent accidents and maximize engine efficiency.
“Falcon has come up with this idiot-proof system called ‘smart throttle,’ which means that you cannot shut down the wrong engine,” Rushton, a former UK Royal Air Force SEPECAT Jaguar pilot, said. “They don’t describe it as that in the new literature, but that’s what it essentially means and it comes from the Rafale fighter jet.”
Other high-tech aspects of the cockpit include a feature where all pilots have to do is press a button and the aircraft will return to straight and level flight. Display screens will also offer multi-touch capabilities so both pilots can work independently on the same screen.
“Cabin, cabin, cabin, cabin, and cabin”
The Falcon 10X’s cabin is its greatest asset and beats any jet from Gulfstream and Bombardier in size. The G700’s cabin tops out at six feet and three inches tall by eight feet and two inches wide while the Global 7500 has a comparable six feet and two inches tall by an eight feet cabin.
Dassault, with its six feet and eight inches tall by nine feet and one-inch wide cabin, will give customers move room to stretch out and greater design flexibility without making them pay up for a Boeing or Airbus private jet. “The Falcon definitely has more flexibility and of course, the volume is enormous,” Rushton said.
The excess cabin width allows for a greater feeling of openness in the aircraft, as well as room for some unique touches. Tray tables are stored horizontally in the cabin wall for easy access and all the chairs around the dining room table can swivel for direct aisle access.
In the back of the plane, a large private bedroom with a queen-size bed and shower is one option available from which customers can choose. “They’re touting the full-size queen bed as opposed to the truncated essentially twin bed you’ll get in Global 7500 or G700,” Rushton said.
A desk and chair setup can also be installed to complete the idea of a private in-flight hideaway without cramping the room.
The Falcon 10X may also beat out its competitors in terms of natural light in the cabin as Rushton counted 38 windows on the aircraft compared to the G700’s 20 and the Global 7500’s 28. “Everyone’s going for natural light and viewability for the cabin,” Rushton said.
A rearrangeable cabin that won’t break the bank
Dassault’s interior design team has constructed the cabin to be modular and easily interchangeable. Owners can reconfigure their cabins easier and cheaper than with competing planes.
“Let’s say after two years of operation, you decide you want to replace your dining group with a couple of couches, for some strange reason. You can do it without wrecking the entire configuration and costing yourself a million dollars, which we actually know it costs to do,” Rushton said.
The flexibility in the cabin won’t just allow the owner to keep things fresh, it will allow future owners to craft the aircraft how they want it without having to spend extra. Rushton noted that buyers of different national backgrounds have their own interior preferences, and take them into consideration when purchasing second-hand aircraft.
Almost as close to the ground as a penthouse apartment with many of the same amenities
An unseen enhancement of the Falcon 10X is its cabin altitude, which the altitude at which the passengers perceive in the cabin compared to the actual height of the aircraft, achieved through the use of pressurization systems.
When flying at 12,496.80m, it will feel to passengers as if they are at 914.40m. Lower cabin altitudes offer additional humidity which can have positive effects on mitigating jet lag and dehydration.
The Falcon 10X will also have the option for a shower to be installed, completing the feeling of a flying apartment or hotel room when coupled with a bed in the aircraft. Business travelers using the jet, for example, can get off a long-haul flight and go right to meetings well-rested, showered, and feeling reduced side effects from the flight.
More consistent access to the world’s trickiest airports
Falcon aircraft are known to have superior performance when it comes to accessing smaller airports, largely due to their unique aerodynamic capabilities. But while the Falcon 10X will only have two engines, Rushton says its ability to access smaller and trickier airports will remain.
London’s City Airport in the UK, Santa Monica Airport in California, and Samedan Airport in Switzerland are three that are notoriously tricky to access. The Falcon 10X likely won’t be able to use its full range of 7,500 nautical miles when departing these airports because of fuel restrictions but Rushton says it will have more capability than competitors when operating to and from those kinds of airports.
Some advances in the cockpit may be a drawback
One of the Falcon 10X’s most important developments is in the cockpit where increased automation is making it easier than ever for pilots to handle adverse conditions, such as severe weather, and see through the clouds. The cockpit is so automated that Dassault is designing it for single-pilot operations during cruise flight.
Single-pilot jet aircraft aren’t uncommon in aviation – there’s an entire subsection of “personal private jets” that are designed for one pilot – but not for the size of the Falcon 10X. Dassault’s idea would only have one alert pilot monitoring the aircraft while the other rests using the fully lie-flat seats in the cockpit.
It’s the latest step towards self-flying planes that experts are convinced will come sooner rather than later. But private jets are more personal than commercial airlines and the ultra-wealthy might not be as open to the idea of one pilot flying their multi-million dollar aircraft, Rushton says.
“In my flying career, [the principal flyers] want to know that there are two people sitting in that cockpit, alert, at all times,” Rushton said, even though it could save slightly on pilot expenses.