A Falcon 8X Business Jet Just Flew Through Star Wars Canyon Like A Fighter (Updated)
After a 2019 ban on military aircraft flying through it, Star Wars Canyon was filled with jet noise once again today.
Star Wars Canyon, also known as Rainbow Canyon and figuratively by its official route name within the R-2508 aerial range complex that spans much of the Mojave Desert, the Jedi Transition, was once a Mecca for aviation photographers and low-flying military pilots alike. The thundering jet noise that once filled the picturesque crevasse along California's Highway 190 has been largely silenced since a F/A-18 Super Hornet slammed into the canyon wall, killing its pilot and injuring nearby spotters, back in 2019. Since then, an altitude restriction of 1,500 feet above ground level was placed by the military on flights over the famous canyon. Yet today the jet noise returned, even if just briefly, as a Dassault Falcon 8X long-range business jet ripped through the canyon multiple times with an L-39 'Cinejet' cameraship in tow.
Our friend and 'adventure' aviation photographer extraordinaire, Christopher McGreevy, who goes by @ohwiss on Instagram (be sure to check out our full feature on McGreevy's incredible flavor of aviation images), was on the scene and captured some amazing video of the bizarre and extremely rare spectacle:
He also took some stunning photos, previews of which can be seen below. We will update the post when he has fully processed the images.
Here is what McGreevy knows about the mission and a bit about his experience shooting it:
"It was easily 20 passes in two sessions, in the AM and PM. I was told it's going to be a promo video for the new jet. They flew the crew's families out on it and they were on top of the hill watching. The kids and wives of the pilots were there. The jet flew into Inyokern Airport near China Lake from New Jersey."
The aircraft that was the star of the mission was a Falcon 8X manufactured in 2019 and flying under the registration N8X. It is owned by the Dassault Falcon Jet Corp and registered in Little Ferry, New Jersey. This appears to be the official regional sales office for Dassault.
While military aircraft have been restricted from flying through the canyon, it appears that civilian aircraft can still do so. We have heard about small private aircraft doing it from time to time since the crash, but nothing like a long-range business jet blasting through it at high speed.
Thanks to the Cinejet, which you can read all about in this past article of ours, we will likely get the most incredible video ever taken of an aircraft flying through the canyon, and there have been some pretty wild videos already.
It is a real treat to see video and images like this again after years of nothing of the sort coming from the canyon. The fact that it will result in an unprecedented video in terms of angle and type of aircraft depicted is just icing on the cake.
A huge thanks to Christopher McGreevy for sharing his experience with him. Make sure you follow him on Instagram here.
Our friend @PaintingSurfer got some great shots of the Falcon's canyon runs as well, check them out!:
Here is the best video yet of the Falcon's time in the canyon!:
The shoot was to show off the 8X's agility for a promotional video. The aircraft is relocating to Los Angeles for demonstration flights for prospective buyers of the type. The price of a Falcon 8X is around $60M, but obviously, things can go way up from there depending on what an owner wants to do with the interior.
Author's note: Changed the Falcon's designation from 7X to 8X. The aircraft is registered as a 7X, but apparently, this 7X is a demonstrator for the 8X, which is a direct outgrowth variant of the 7X.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com