Paris Airshow Preview

 - June 12, 2017, 1:00 AM

Organizers of next month’s Paris Airshow expect a busy event when the biennial aerospace salon opens next week at Le Bourget Airport in the northeast suburbs of Paris, running from June 19 to 22 for trade visitors followed by three public days (Friday, June 23, is designated for students, with a focus on skills and training).

In September last year, organizer SIAE reported that the airshow was 99 percent sold out. At a pre-show briefing last month it noted, “All the exhibition spaces in the six halls and almost all the 330 business chalets [have been] booked by exhibitors from the world over.”

The company is expecting 2,300 exhibitors, 150,000 trade visitors, 30 national pavilions and almost 300 official delegations. The 2015 event attracted 351,584 visitors (149,947 trade and the remainder public, up by 11.4 percent on 2013) and 2,303 exhibitors (up 4 percent on 2013) from 48 countries. There were 130 aircraft on static display and 30 took part in the flying display (the total was 150 aircraft participating). There were 296 official delegations from 91 countries.

International Participation

Airbus aircraft and the home-grown Dassault Rafale fighter are likely to be prominent in the flying display, although the Lockheed Martin F-35 is likely to prove the star of the show (as it was at Farnborough last year), along with various other fighters, airliners, light aerobatic aircraft and the French national display team, the Patrouille de France.

The Textron Scorpion two-seat military jet is expected to fly, as well as Pakistan’s JF-17. Historic aircraft will include the Curtiss P-40, P-51 Mustang and Fouga Magister.

The Russians missed previous airshows as a result of problems with visas, but they will be there this year, according to Russian publication Sputnik. Russian companies will showcase a range of military and civilian products, among them the Antonov An-178.

U.S. Pavilion organizer Kallman Worldwide will unveil a new USA Partnership Pavilion brand, and a celebration of “a century of French and American partnership.” This dates back to 1916 and the founding of the Escadrille Americaine, composed largely of American volunteers flying for France during World War I (it was renamed the Escadrille Lafayette later that year).

The Pavilion will cover 45,200 sq ft (4,200 sq m) in Hall 3 and Kallman is expecting 270 exhibitors, “ranging from publicly traded stalwarts such as Circor and Kaman Aerospace to SMEs with fewer than 250 employees.” Sixty Pavilion exhibitors will be first-timers at Paris, while 32 U.S. states are represented in the Pavilion (among them 19 state economic development stands).

The Pavilion organizer is “Expecting numerous distinguished U.S. government, military and political visitors. For the first time we’ll be organizing and hosting ‘The Forum,’ an information and presentation space that will feature moderated discussions, presentations and networking events throughout the week on trade and investment, innovation and business strategies, workforce and professional development, Stem and career education.”

Apollo 15 command-module pilot Col. Al Worden, USAF-Ret., will be present at the Pavilion as the goodwill ambassador for aerospace innovation and careers, participating in the forum and networking events during the trade week, and he will be a featured speaker in the Pavilion on Saturday of the public weekend.

Hands On

The Paris Air Lab (see box below) will let visitors “explore new ideas and immersive experiences using virtual reality and augmented reality.” It is also located next to The Careers Plane–Jobs & Training Forum, an area dedicated to jobs and training in the aerospace sector, with a focus on innovation and environmental responsibility. Within this the “Avion des M├ętiers” exhibition explores some 20 different occupations linked to aircraft production (such as fitters, assembly-line workers and welders). A giant aircraft cabin structure was purpose-built for the task, and there will be various presentations and workshops during the week.

The organizers hope the show will help “breathe new life” into the aerospace sector, “by offering trade visitors and the general public a truly pioneering and original exhibition space.”

A rocketry challenge will provide a venue for young people vying to succeed with mini rocket launches (the final event takes place on June 19). The rockets will have to carry two raw eggs to an altitude of 700 feet and then parachute back without breaking the eggs. According to organizers, participants are judged by the quality of their “shot,” the state of the eggs when they return and the presentation of their project to the judges.

Clean Sky

In sharp focus this year at Le Bourget will be the European Union’s Clean Sky initiative, which will be “showcasing a number of cutting-edge technologies to highlight the remarkable progress the program has made since its inception.” The Clean Sky stand will present various technology demonstrations, and Clean Sky will also have a stand in the new Air Lab Zone, which is dedicated to aerospace innovation.

Paris Air Lab

Designed in collaboration with the Hopscotch Agency, Paris Air Lab will be centered around three main areas: “Pick up your Innovation,” “Visionary Hub” and “Experimental Gates.”

“Pick up your Innovation”
Exhibition areas dedicated to innovation in the aerospace sector (both major players and start-ups). Organized into three paths that provide insight into the work of large-scale groups, research institutes and start-ups, with three themes:

• Aeronautics (aircraft of the future, sustainable aviation, propulsion and so on);

• Digital and new applications (drones, connectivity, the aerospace plant of the future and so on);

• Space (Earth observation, space agencies and so on).

This area will also host two daily events, featuring presentations from key manufacturers in the sector, introducing a themed series of “pitches” from start-ups.

 “Visionary Hub”
Short conferences for extraordinary encounters in the aerospace world of tomorrow. Iconic figures and experts from diverse backgrounds will hold discussions and debates aimed at inspiring the general public’s interest in the major evolutions of today and tomorrow.

“Experimental Gates”

Immersive and innovative experiences in the world of aeronautics and space travel using virtual and augmented reality. This area will be designed around four main themes: the cockpit, flight, space discovery and becoming an astronaut.