FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIRSHOW

August 27, 2016


I do not know if you have a “bucket list” but as you get older you probably will.  At the tender age of seventy-four my list seems to grow and grow as the years go by.  One thing on that list is a visit to the bi-annual Farnborough International Airshow held in the United Kingdom. As you probably know, I’m a card-carrying aviation enthusiast.  I took my check ride when I was fifteen and had to wait one year to receive my pilot’s license.  I LOVE heavier-than-air-devices and make every effort to keep up with the technology both commercial and military.

This marvelous event is a week-long extravaganza that combines major trade exhibitions for the aerospace and defense industries with a public airshow. The event is held in mid-July in even-numbered years at Farnborough Airport in HampshireEngland. The first four days (Monday to Thursday) are dedicated exclusively to trade, with the final three days open to the public.

The airshow is an important event in the international aerospace and defense industry calendar, providing an opportunity to demonstrate civilian and military aircraft to potential customers and investors. The show is also used for the announcement of new developments and orders, and to attract media coverage.  It’s a great show that details potential mergers and acquisitions as well as rumors relative to pending developments in the aircraft industry, both commercial and military.  The UK show is organized by Farnborough International Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ADS Group Limited (ADS).

HISTORY:

The Farnborough Airshow has its origins in the annual RAF Airshow at Hendon from 1920 to 1937. On 27 June 1932, the Society of British Aircraft Constructors held an exhibition of thirty-five (35) aircraft by sixteen (16) companies as a showpiece for the British aircraft industry. After World War II, the show recommenced at Radlett (the site of Handley Page‘s airfield) in 1946 and was held there until 1948, when the show moved to its present location of Farnborough, Hampshire, home of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, about thirty (30) miles south-west of central London.

In 1952, thirty-one (31) people were killed (twenty nine spectators, one pilot and one navigator) when a DH.110 jet fighter disintegrated in flight and crashed into the crowd.

At the 1958 show, the Black Arrows executed a 22-plane formation loop which was a world record for the greatest number of aircraft looped in formation, and remains unbroken to this day.

Initially an annual event, the show has been biennial since 1962. It has become an international event that attracts exhibitors from all over the world — with the exception, during the Cold War, of countries behind the Iron Curtain.

From 1996 the show has had its own official radio station operated by the staff and students of nearby Farnborough College of Technology, although it did not operate in 2012.

2016 STATISTICS:

Let’s now take a very quick look at the “stats” for the air show this past July.

Airshow(1)

As you can see, there were a tremendous number of exhibitions for the air show representing fifty-two countries. Seventy-one (71%) of the exhibitors are international. $124 billion US dollars in aircraft ordered by various countries and companies.  This show was deemed a remarkable success just by the sheer numbers of orders taken.

Airshow(2)

Once again, the interest shown demonstrates how successful Farnborough was this past July.

Now, the great success was the number of individuals in attendance at the show.  These are people just like you and me, in other words, non-military or commercial.  Let’s now take a look at the fly-bys and the static demonstrations.

THE SITE

Farnborough Site

This is an aerial view of the Farnborough site itself.  You can see the demonstration aircraft parked by the airstrip.

Aircraft--Closer Look

This is a closer look at the aircraft and how they are aligned along the taxi ways of the airport.

THE AIRCRAFT ON DISPLAY—STATIC AND AIRBORNE:

F-22 RAPTOR

Everyone by now must recognize the F-22 Raptor.  One of the most remarkable air planes our country has ever designed and produced.

British Red Arrows Team

This is the British Red Arrows aerobatic team—equivalent to our Blue Angles or Air Force Thunderbird teams.

AIRBUS A 380

Airbus and the new A 380.  One of the largest commercial passenger planes ever built.  On display and looking good.

FRENCH

The country of France demonstrated their fighter aircraft as well.

GULFSTREAM

You might expect Gulfstream to have a major exhibit at Farnborough.

Chopper

There were several helicopters demonstrated at Farnborough also.

FUN

The entire event was about having fun and looking at the latest in aviation hardware.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hope you enjoyed this one.  I certainly hope to be at Farnborough two years from now to witness the latest in aviation.  As always, I love hearing from you.

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