In a happy turn of events, orders for new aircraft, while not flooding in, brightened the outlook at the 2017 International Paris Air Show to the tune of billions of dollars of commitments gladly received by the likes of Airbus, ATR, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Bombardier, Boom, Embraer, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin and more. Lockheed Martin even advanced its hybrid airship program with a letter of intent for up to 12 such ships from startup company Hybrid Air Freighters.
The almost extreme heat that warmed the Le Bourget Airport ramps during the first four days of the show seemed not to diminish the crowds. One side benefit of the heat was far more crowded exhibit halls and chalets, where grateful visitors cooled off in the air-conditioning and spent more time at the exhibits and in hopefully fruitful meetings.
Outside, the 130 aircraft on static display provided plenty of hardware for ogling until the flying displays started. Then every shady spot at the Paris Salon was filled with eager crowds watching the graceful balletic dance of the A380 or the air-ripping conversion of jet fuel to pure power as the F35A’s afterburners kicked in with a burst of orange flames. (See AIN’s YouTube channel for plenty of eye-popping videos from the show, including the F35A’s display, the Mitsubishi MRJ’s Paris debut and many other spectacular fliers.)
The Paris Air Show remains one of the most significant events on the airshow circuit, and despite the heat and the long lines at security and show restaurants, this year’s event will undoubtedly be one to remember.