I don't know much about falconry, but it is part of a strong cultural tradition here that is still practiced by the very wealthy.
My friend in Khartoum said that he boarded an Emirates Air flight to Dubai and the man in line in front of him carried two hooded falcons onto the plane; they rode on his arm for the whole flight.
I've also heard that trained falcons are used to hunt wild oryx, a relative of the antelope. The falcon will scratch out the oryx's eyes which allows the hunter to come in on horseback and finish the kill.
Here is a falcon that I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time with, he was incredibly calm even without a hood. As you can see, they are beautiful birds.