On May 4, 1963 the first flight of the Mystere 20 took place at Bordeaux-Merignac airport. 50 years on, Dassault marked the occasion with a celebratory event in France. Aviation Week's Business & Commercial Aviation's editor-in-chief, Bill Garvey, and I were invited to join in the celebrations.
Three Falcons took off from Paris Le Bourget airport on Wednesday 24 April: a 7X, 900LX and 2000S. At around 16,000ft., in the skies above southwest France, the Falcons were 'intercepted' by a French Air Force Rafale C, accompanied by a privately-owned L-39C. Renowned aviation photographer Katsuhiko Tokunaga captured the formation from aboard the L-39C. Here are a handful of photos.
The brand new 2000S entered service with this special flight (credit Katsuhiko Tokunaga).
View over Paris shortly after take off (credit Rupa Haria).
Our view of the Rafale and L-39C from the 7X (credit Rupa Haria).
Dassault's legendary chief test pilot, Philippe Deleume, was in the right seat of the 7X (Rupa Haria).
And here are some more of Katsuhiko Tokunaga's photos: