Participation by more than 200 American companies at the U.S. International Pavilion here at the Farnborough airshow underscores the strong resurgence of the North American aerospace industry after two years of economic turmoil, organizers and delegates said.
The U.S. Aerospace Industries Association and pavilion organizer Kallman Worldwide have created a global exhibit in Hall 4 showcasing the capabilities of a diverse range of American companies. A highlight is the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), an FAA and industry effort announced in 2006 to develop alternative aviation fuels using everything from grass clippings to mangrove forests and even garbage.
“CAAFI represents a seismic change in how we will think about jet fuel in the future,” said Tom Kallman, president and CEO of Kallman Worldwide. “Millionaires will be made from this emerging initiative, and officials from the U.S. government are here listening to ideas” about alternative fuels.
The U.S. Air Force has announced a goal of increasing its use of biofuels fleetwide to 50 percent by 2016. On April 22 an U.S. Navy F-18 dubbed the “Green Hornet” flew using a 50/50 blend of a biofuel made from corn oil and jet fuel. Several airlines have announced similar initiatives to switch to biofuel/kerosene-blended fuels. “We welcome inquiries and look forward to discussing ideas [here] about securing a sustainable aviation fuel supply for aviation’s future growth,” said Richard Altman, executive director of the CAAFI program.
In addition to participation by U.S. companies, several states also have a presence in the U.S. International Pavilion at this year’s show. Alabama Governor Bob Riley and Georgia Governor Sony Perdue have traveled to the show to wave the flags of their respective states. They have formed an aerospace alliance with Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida aimed at attracting aerospace projects and jobs to the Gulf Coast region. A representative for the Florida delegation noted that 18 companies from the state are exhibiting in the U.S. Pavilion, where officials from 11 U.S. states have joined the trade contingent.
Reserving booth space inside the U.S. Pavilion costs more than going it alone, but companies that participate benefit from the use of offices and a lounge within the U.S. International Pavilion as well as a two-story chalet that features meeting rooms, an elegant dining area and a deck overlooking the Farnborough flight line. Kallman designed the chalet layout and provides design services for participating companies, which are located in U.S. International Pavilion space in Halls 2, 3 and 4.
“The U.S. International Pavilion came to Farnborough for the first time in 1996,” recalled Kallman. “We started with a small presence in Hall 2 and now we have spaces the size of football fields in three halls.”
Mind you, those are American football fields, not European football pitches, but the pace of growth is impressive nonetheless. The U.S. International Pavilion had its largest ever presence at a Farnborough show two years ago. Despite the economic havoc since then, 25 new companies are part of the contingent at this year’s show.
Former U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin was on hand yesterday morning to host the opening of the U.S. International Pavilion in Hall 3.