Farnborough review

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Farnborough 2012 is quickly receding into memory, but forever it vanishes forever, I’d like offer a brief retrospective using a couple of my shots. The show began under cloudy, rain-swept skies with the forecast offering few chances of sunshine to look forward to. Unseasonably wet weather, even for the U.K, dominated the week as the jet stream carried depression after depression well to the south of the usual summer track over the North Atlantic.

An Omega Air KDC-10 tanker helped ferry two F/A-18 Super Hornets across the Atlantic to Farnborough and was itself on static display to advertize the availability of a contract air refueling service. The aircraft is a rare bird, having been converted from a former Japan Airlines DC-10-40.

 

This faithful replica of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo provided a rare close up view of how the vehicle is configured in its feather mode for re-entry from sub-orbital space.

 

A typical media scrum down followed Virgin founder Richard Branson’s appearance at the show and the announcement of plans to develop the LauncherOne low-cost small sat launch system.

  

The show was also used on 11 July to mark the official delivery of the AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat multi-role helicopter to the UK Ministry of Defence. The first example of the type for the British Army was accepted in April, with a further delivered since then. Some 62 Lynx Wildcats are on order: 34 for the Army and 28 for the Royal Navy. Initial operating capability with the Army is set for 2014 and with the RN in 2015. Interesting place for a nose-mounted flag pole!

 

As Airbus and Boeing squared off in the news rooms and chalets over the battle for marketshare with the NEO and MAX, a brand new Korean Air 737-900ER (complete with the Sky Interior) added a splash of color to the static park.

 

Diamond Executive Aviation, Diamond Airborne Sensing and 3SDL exhibited the appropriately registered DA42 G-DSPY which transmitted live video from its nose-mounted Wescam MX15 high-def full motion video camera during the show.

 

Airbus used the show to mark the public debut of its Sharklet winglet modification – a feature that will be standard on the re-engined A320Neo.

 

A last minute engine glitch with the TP400M prevented the newly-named A400M ‘Atlas’ from flying at the show.

 

Malaysia Airlines’ second A380 performed daily for the crowds until the end of the week when replaced by a GP7200-powered development A380 from Airbus.

 

As if making up for lost time having not flown an aircraft at Farnborough for almost 30 years, Boeing put on a spectacular flying display with a 787 destined for Qatar. The display included 70 deg angle of bank turns. Boeing said they wished the direction of the routine could be reversed so the name Qatar – written on the belly – could be the right way up!

 

A rare splash of sunlight as the Qatar-liveried 787 nears the end of its routine.

 

 

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