Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Farnborough - the event

Last Sat along with a large number of the public I went to watch the Farnborough air show.

There are buses laid on from the station, but they get stuck in the same traffic jams as everyone else, so walking was the order of the day. We turned out like a bunch of ants following the one ahead on the assumption that someone must know where they are going !
First impressions were of the Russians wanting to make their presence felt. They had the brightest displays, with many models on show, even if it is hard to believe anyone wants to buy into a phobos sample return mission.

There's a big push on Mig 29's this year, which have been upgraded to NATO spec.

But somehow the show seemed a little hollow this year. The Americans have turned up - to try to remind everyone not to buy until they've seen what Boeing and McDonald Douglas have to offer. The Italians have a large display with the word Westland just where the "Mobile", "Amaco" or "Ernest Young" used to be on companies that subsumed them.

Gone are the stickers for kids and free large amounts of literature that used to get dumped ont he public at the end of the week. You have to search to find British Aerospace hidden away in a corner.

The French didn't even really bother with anything other than the A380.

You get the fealing that aviation is less of a feature of British industry than it once was.

Perhaps that's why Mrs Thatcher left after the Vulcan bomber finished its display.Its just an impression, and perhaps it mistaken. But over the decades I've occasionally visited the Franborough airshow, being brought along by my Father when he was in the RAF. And things seem flat.

The organisation by contrast was good, friendly and efficient. Security is a bigger issue; its the first time I've seen armed policemen and also large numbers of other people watching the crowd rather than the aircraft.

But apart from the Typhoon, and the wings on the Airbus, there's not much to show at the home of British Aviation this year.

Perhaps its in part a product of the wars we are fighting and the military over stretch. There were two Tornado ADV's on hard standing at one end, but they didn't even merit fencing all the way round, and looked very sorry for themselves ( as well as very worn ). Of course they may not be there just for the show.

A more upbeat assessment of the airshow in the next post ....

1 comment:

Gallimaufry said...

Her's a link to a youtube clip about the 1950 SBAC show when it was still only for British manufacturers and it was still an annual event.
A Golden Age.