““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
Swingin' Soirie: Great Food, Pro Tennis and Fast Cars
Set loose a pack of Maserati sport sedans on an empty runway, throw in an exhibition tennis match between two of the sport's greatest players and add a spread of gourmet catering. That was the recipe for a late July event for customers of charter provider Talon Air, a company that clearly knows how to liven up a Thursday afternoon.
Highlighting the well-attended soirйe inside Talon's hangar at Republic Airport on Long Island was a private match between former world number-one tennis pros Pete Sampras and Jim Courier. The pair signed autographs and mingled with the crowd after their friendly game, held on a regulation court in the hangar just feet from the noses of some Talon Air jets.
Earlier in the day, sponsor Maserati handed over the keys to a dozen or so high-performance Quattroporte sedans to guests. Airport managers graciously allowed the transformation of the Republic's Runway 32 for temporary autocross use in exchange for a few hot laps of their own.
Talon Air is one of the few charter providers in the U.S. that owns its fleet of airplanes. In fact, the company is the largest private owner of Beechjet and Hawker business jets and it will soon become the first commercial Part 135 operator to put the new Hawker 4000 super-midsize jet into service.
Last year, Talon Air hosted a similar event with Porsche, and company founder Adam Katz said he's already making plans for next year.