Dassault Falcon Spotted in Star Wars Canyon

The tri-jet’s presence was confirmed—but the mission remains top secret for now.

Star Wars Canyon. It’s administered by nearby Edwards Air Force Base as part of the R-2508 Complex within the Panamint military operations area (MOA)—and it serves as the proving ground for military training operations conducting low-level terrain-following maneuvers since the 1940s.

On Wednesday, a local photographer tweeted about a new entrant to the long roster of aircraft that have been spotted zooming below the canyon walls: a Dassault Falcon.

Speculation as to why one of the newest large-cabin jets—albeit one with a serious pedigree in the Rafale tactical fighter class—would be captured on a photo mission in the famous canyon flew around the Twitterverse.

The aircraft, N8X, registered as a 2019 Falcon 7X but clearly marked in 8X livery, took several passes through the canyon. A Dassault Aviation company spokesman confirmed the flight to FLYING but gave no indication yet as to what the mission was for—except to say it wasn’t a Super Bowl commercial, as some have speculated on Twitter.

The spokesperson did say the purpose would be clear very soon.

About Star Wars Canyon

The Death Valley-area landmark formally known as Rainbow Canyon got its nickname based on the ombre reds and dusty pinks coloring its walls—they resemble the geology of the fictional planet Tatooine in the Star Wars movie franchise.

The canyon holds allure to pilots—both its challenges and hazards are well known. Aircraft have been clocked going through the canyon at speeds up to 300 mph.

About the Aircraft

The Dassault 8X was certificated in June 2016 as an evolution of the company’s ultralong-range 7X tri-jet. Roughly 512 of the 2000S/2000LXS/900LX/7X/8X series have been delivered as of the third quarter 2021, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

The company anticipates the certification of the newest entrant to the line—the twin-jet 6X—late this year.

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