Farnborough Air Show

Business aviation, UAVs get dedicated space on grounds

 - July 3, 2008, 5:42 AM

Underscoring the universal appeal of the Farnborough International 2008 airshow, the organizers have again dedicated space for specialty sectors or disciplines, with areas reserved for business aircraft manufacturers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It also is featuring International Youth Day on Friday, as the show week ends (see box).

The business aircraft community is very important to Farnborough, according to the show’s head of marketing, Philippa Ewart, who reported that the Business Aircraft Park (BAP) facilitated some $550 million in sales at the 2006 event.

Farnborough International is continuing its “show within a show” concept for the BAP, which was introduced as a three-day event four years ago, and its corporate hospitality area. Manufacturers have the option to keep their aircraft on display for the full seven days of the show and they may show their aircraft on the ground before providing customer demonstration flights after each day’s flying display.

Ewart said the BAP less-formal concept has proved very popular, with manufacturers or their representatives being permitted to depart the airfield site as necessary, perhaps to return to customer service. For example, the EADS Socata TBM 850 turboprop single promoted here by Biggin Hill-based UK distributor Air Touring is on show only until Wednesday.

Despite the separate identity of the BAP, some manufacturers–especially those with non-business aviation interests–are exhibiting outside the park. For example, Bombardier has established a new panoramic building (Outdoor Exhibit 20) near its traditional position in the main static aircraft line, while retaining its chalet (C1-3).
Cessna, which returned to Farnborough in 2006 after a break in participation, this year is located at the east end of the static display area (L3-7).

Farnborough’s flexibility has meant that even after all chalets were allocated, late-comers still could be accommodated. “We always try to fit everyone in,” said Ewart. Chalet Row J offers the only units with close proximity to displayed aircraft and houses the BAP corporate hospitality area, including a Gulfstream Aerospace meeting room (J1). Alongside are Hawker Beechcraft (J7-8) and Dassault Aviation (J9-11). Grob and ATR are new BAP participants. Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) occupies two aircraft pads and a chalet (K12-13) in the adjacent row, not
far from TAG Aviation/TAG Farnborough Airport (K5-6).

Visible examples of Farnborough’s continuing investment in show infrastructure include the newly constructed permanent hard-standing pads close to the BAP and an “aviation trackway” that will accommodate up to six aircraft of Airbus ACJ or Boeing BBJ size and weight. The BAP is open today for six hours starting at 10 a.m. and for eight hours tomorrow and Wednesday starting at 9:30 a.m.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has organized Farnborough International’s UAV pavilion. The group is “committed to fostering, developing and promoting unmanned systems and related technologies, along with members from
government organizations, industry and academia.” The pavilion features a number of exhibit stands within the halls, while the AUVSI has organized an unmanned-systems conference as one of FI2008’s official events.  

Sixty-Year-Old Show Stays Young at Heart

The International Youth Day, to be held here on Friday, aims to introduce school and college students to aerospace and provide an insight to the industry’s career opportunities for science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates. This year’s event has had a very strong response, with hundreds applying to attend, according to show organizer Farnborough International.

Students will enjoy events designed to offer a practical introduction to aerospace through a number of lectures highlighting various aspects of the industry. Among companies and people taking part are Virgin Galactic (talking about space tourism), BAE Systems (on 100 years of British aviation innovation) and world land-speed record holder Wing Commander Andy Green (about his flying experience).

The day’s activities include a science and technology fair in a marquee featuring interactive exhibits with opportunities for students to discover engineering. A careers fair involving at least 15 companies will take place in the airshow business center (Hall 1). The fair is intended to enhance an emerging partnership between aerospace and academia that is working toward establishing a “world-class” future workforce.

A highlight of the day is expected to be the International Youth Rocketry Challenge between British and American students, the respective team winners of the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge and the Team America Rocketry Challenge. The competing British team had to design and build a safe, stable rocket to lift (and return safely and undamaged) two raw eggs to an altitude of exactly 750 feet in a total flight duration of exactly 45 seconds. The international rocket flyoff will take place at the Rushmoor Arena, near Farnborough airfield, before the afternoon flying display.