The Farnborough International Airshow 2018 promises to be among the most innovative and interactive ever. Organizers are working hard to enhance the event against the backdrop of a clamp-down on airshow safety after a vintage Hawker Hunter crashed at Shoreham almost three years ago, on Aug. 22, 2015. The UK CAA has since then significantly tightened procedures and criteria for airshow organizers. As a result, the iconic RAF Red Arrows BAe Hawk display team has been restricted to performing only a fly-past at the show because Farnborough is a civil airfield. At the Royal International Air Tattoo, which will take place at RAF Fairford the weekend before Farnborough, the Reds can do their full display.
But since the last show the Farnborough organizers (Farnborough International Limited, FIL) have engaged with all constituents of the aerospace industry, further bolstering areas such as space and cargo and the Innovation Zone, focusing on “Aerospace 4.0”: the new industrial revolution built on robotics, cyber, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and other emerging technologies.
Meanwhile, the show site itself is undergoing a mini revolution, as AIN saw when visiting on June 11, the first day of “build-up” for the event. Taking center stage is the now-completed new Hall 1, a permanent exhibition center which FIL owner, UK aerospace association ADS, can offer for a range of events throughout the year.
Amanda Stainer, commercial director of organizer FIL, told AIN, “Aerospace 4.0 has its own dedicated [building] this time in the heart of the exhibition center. ADS [owners of FIL] has said its members are very keen to know about new technology…and going forward, it will grow more and more.” The building for Aerospace 4.0, which is sponsored by Deloitte, is where Thales used to be, opposite Hall 3 and the Innovation Zone, but Stainer says as it grows it is likely to need to be in the halls too. Thales now has a new building, as do some of the other exhibitors, such as Italy’s Leonardo, which is nearing completion in front of Hall 1.
“We’re also growing the Cargo Village,” said Stainer, “which is supported by Volga Dnepr.” So far, Volga-Dnepr is bringing an Antonov 124, its subsidiary Cargologicair is bringing a Boeing 747-8F, and there will also be a Qatar Airways freighter. This year the Cargo Village will be a “show within a show,” explained Stainer, running from Monday through Wednesday with an exhibition hall and two half-day conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday, “both supported by IATA.”
The Space Zone will this year be larger and situated at the eastern end of Hall 1, near the show site entrance. Chinese entities CASIC and OneSpace, the launch company, will be at Farnborough for the first time, said Stainer. “It’s the first time we’ve had the Chinese in the Space Zone.”
Tuesday, July 17, has been designated “Space Day” and on Wednesday there is a space conference, followed up on Thursday with a “Dragon’s Den” (“Shark Tank” in the U.S.) type competition focused on space-related start-up ideas.
Another change at the show is that Hall 1 will remain open all week, including the public weekend, July 21-22. Halls 2,3, and 4 will be closed on the weekend, but the Innovation Zone will remain open, Stainer confirmed.
Stainer said that the team is watching developments in Urban Mobility closely and although it won’t feature heavily this year, this is something that could create another special zone from the 2020 airshow.
An innovative approach to defense product promotion for exhibitors will involve performance company Crisis Cast running a Live Product Demonstration Area (LPDA) in Hall 3, opposite the Delegations Lounge. “We are building an air force command center and it will have a Jason Bourne theme, but there will also be a Lara Croft to give Jason a break,” said Stainer. The idea is to create a scenario with actors performing it while demonstrating products. The production will be filmed and displayed on screens around the show site. “Bourne” will arrive in a Leonardo AW159 Wildcat. Exhibitors signed up so far for the LPDA include Bell Helicopter, Grob, UTC, Lockheed Martin, MBDA, and Leonardo.
Also for the first time at the Farnborough Airshow the organizers have their own TV stream, Farnborough International Network News (FINN, wearefinn.com). Trialed at the Paris Air Show last year, FINN will film open-forum sessions in Halls 3 and 4 and play them on screens around the show site. There will be a timetable of events, and links will be sent out so subscribers can watch later, if they missed them live.
There will also be a new Farnborough Airshow App that will allow visitors to easily find companies by their stand numbers, and lots of information and alerts about events at the show, links to content, and so on.
Meanwhile, acting on feedback from visitors, the organizers have added many more places for people to meet away from noisy cafes, so-called networking areas.
Finally, Monday night will see an Airline Summit roundtable in one of the new Hall 1 meeting rooms. It is a closed session run by Flightglobal and will be followed by the welcome reception upstairs in Hall 1, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Business aviation will be well represented at the show also, with Bombardier, Gulfstream, Dassault, Embraer, Diamond, Piaggio, and Pilatus exhibiting aircraft. Airbus Helicopters, Bell, and Leonardo will display helicopters in the static park too. The C Series airliner is already listed under Airbus (which now owns 50.01 percent of the program with Bombardier), while two Airbus Military A400Ms will be at the show, one flying and tan RAF example in the static display.
Expected to be in the flying display each afternoon are 2Excel Aviation’s Extra 300L and its Boeing 727; a Dornier 328; a Lockheed Martin F-16; an Airbus A350-1000 and A330neo; an Antonov An-178; Cranfield University’s Jetstream 31; Embraer’s KC-390 airlifter, Embraer E2 airliner and Legacy 500; the Mitsubishi MRJ (making its show debut); Turkey’s Hurkus basic trainer and T129 ATAK helicopter; and a Boeing 737 Max 7.