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Paris — Dassault Aviation is the main backer for a sound and light show marking 100 years of French aviation history, dubbed Conquest of the Air, due to be staged at the Grand Palais exhibition hall, the spokesman for the aircraft builder said.

Dassault is the “exclusive partner of the show,” Stéphane Fort, communications director, told a press conference held with Amaclio, the production company.

The 53-minute documentary includes aerial pictures of frozen ponds on the battlefield of Verdun, where hundreds of thousands of soldiers died 100 years ago in World War I.

The battle of Verdun marked French and German forces flying the first “air battle,” with pilots instructed to fly in organized flight patrols rather than engage in individual dogfights, Dassault said. This marked a deadly bid for air superiority, with both sides seeking more advanced aircraft and weapons.

Dassault also celebrates its 100th anniversary this year as the company founder, Marcel Dassault, designed the Éclair propeller used on aircraft in the skies over Verdun.

The three Dassault aircraft on display at the show will be the Falcon Mystère 20 business jet, Mirage 3 and Rafale fighters, said Bruno Seillier, artistic director of Amaclio. The documentary will be told across three large screens set up inside the exhibition hall.

The French Air Force, flying demonstration team Patrouille de France, the Navy and research institute Onera are among supporters of the show, which runs April 9 to 14.

The first French air show was held at the Grand Palais in 1909, before moving to Le Bourget just outside the capital.

Email: ptran@defensenews.com

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