At the National Championship Air Races in Reno, spectators get to watch low-altitude wingtip-to-wingtip racing action around a set racecourse. That's the main event, but the 200,000 onlookers are also treated to fantastic military and civilian aerial demonstrations. When a group of highly modified WWII aircraft or high-performance kit-built airplanes aren't furiously circling the course, a series of stunt pilots and aerobatic performers put on a show. This year, though, attendees got to see something a little different.
Each day at noon, French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Falcon flew a solo lap around the circuit in its flagship Falcon 7X trijet. The flight was for exhibition only; the plane did not officially compete in the races. But with a top speed pushing 600 mph and impressive maneuverability, the 7X would make for fine competition among the other fast movers in the Jet Class. Not bad for a business jet. The 7X was born from technology found in the company's military fighter aircraft like the Rafale. That includes becoming the first business jet with a digital fly-by-wire flight control system. Since certification in 2007, Falcons have become known known for their robust design, unparalleled flying qualities, and spacious quiet cabins.
A 50-year tradition, the National Championship Air Race is held every September at the airfield just north of Reno with the intention of sustaining a one-of-a-kind air racing experience. Although the event requires a small full-time staff, more than 2,500 volunteers dedicate their personal time in a multitude of capacities including course safety, air traffic control and race timing and scoring.