2014 Event Review

Farnborough International 2014 – July 14-20, 2014
Location: Farnborough , UK
Admission: £22 per adult for public on the weekend 45£
Parking: Free on-site, with shuttles to the flightline
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 10
Display by the Italians
Alenia Aermacchi M345

The biannual held Farnborough International Airshow (FIAS) proved to be a huge success for the organizer as well as for the exhibitors and their customers. The total amount of exhibitors was, compared to the last event in 2012, more or less the same, regardless the sales have exceeded the record breaking benchmark of 210 Billion USD within the five trade days

There were plenty of highlights and innovations to be seen at Farnborough, nevertheless the much anticipated first appearance of the Lockheed Martin F-35 LIGHTENING II in Europe did not take place due to an engine failure of one of the test aircraft, which resulted in the grounding of the whole fleet. The many disappointed aviation enthusiasts on site have to wait a bit longer to see the future NATO´s fighter/bomber on display. Instead one could see (again) only the wooden mockup of the F-35, still there was a good chance to chat with the F-35´s Lead Test Pilot, Peter "Wizzer" Wilson, the F-35 communication manager, Eric W. Schnaible or the representative from BAe Systems, Laurie A. Tortorello. When we asked Laurie about when the public will probably see the F-35 the very first time her reply was: 'I have not heard any discussions at this time about the first European appearance of the F-35 in the future.  The decision to make the trans-Atlantic flight is made by the U.S. government and the military. I am sure there will be a news release when the time comes.'

The brand new Boeing P-8 POSEIDON long range reconnaissance aircraft took already part in the Joint Warrior 14-1 exercise, held in Scotland this year, nevertheless it was one of THE highlights in Farnborough. The P-8 on display was armed with two CATM-84D Harpoon (Captive Air Training Missile). This configuration was used also during the flying display. The smaller brother of the POSEIDON, the MSA (Maritime Surveillance Aircraft) had its debut on the 2014 FIAS. Based on the Business Jet Bombardier Challenger 605 the MSA is equipped with similar electronic & surveillance systems like the P-8. The MSA can fulfill a wide range of tasks, like sea & land surveillance, search & rescue missions, anti-piracy policing. This modern aircraft is a perfect alternative for customers who can not afford a sophisticated high end system like the P-8.

One of the biggest players on the civilian market, the Boeing company was very well represented at Farnborough. Their newest product, the 787-9 DREAMLINER painted in the colours of Quatar Airways was shown on the daily flying routine together with the 737-800 NEXT GENERATION. On the military sector the Boeing F/A-18 E/F SUPER HORNET was displayed by Lt. Brad Williams and Lt. Chris Gavieers, unfortunately not in the same spectacular way like in the past, where Boeings chief test pilot Riccardo Traven showed the capabilities of this 4+ generation jet in a remarkable way.

With the executive jets none of the big players is to be missed, like DASSAULT, CESSNA, GULFSTREAM or EMBRAER, just to name a few. The newest kid on the block, the EMBRAER company, is extremely successful with their E-190 and E-195 aircraft series. The latest model of this company, the cargo aircraft KC-390, was put on the market by using huge posters. The Russian Sukhoi company was also on site with their Super Jet 100 painted in the colours of one of its customer, the Mexican airline INTERJET.

The AIRBUS Group was well represented on the daily flying displays with their A 380. It is always a pleasure to see the agility as well as the slow flight characteristics of this magnificent airliner. Additionally the brand new A 350 XWB was on display for the very first time for the public. This particular aircraft flew already in the colours of its first customer, QUATAR Airways. The AIRBUS Group is not only designing huge airliners but is also involved in the development of UAV´s. Built by the company´s sub division CASSIDIAN, the REAL ATLANTE UAS was on static display. For the very first time one could see the E-Fan technology demonstrator in the flying display, which is propelled by two electrical fan engines. This aircraft achieves a top speed of 220 km/h (cruising speed: 160 km/h) and is able to fly for 45 minutes with fully charged batteries. The military part of the AIRBUS Group was well represented with the A 400M and two different types of the CASA C-295.

In case of rotary aircraft there was a whole slew of helicopters on display on Farnborough’s impressive show ground. The Italian FINMECCANICA group showed the newest acquisition of the Italian Navy, the AW-101 CSAR from Agusta Westland. The very first AW-101 CSAR is supposed to be commissioned on an Italian Frigate at the end of 2014, Also in (future) service with the Italian Air Force and Navy is the NHIndustries NH-90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter).The NH-90 NFH is already commissioned with the Dutch Navy. The NH-90 NFH was equipped with two MBDA Marte ER ( Extended Range) anti-ship missiles, which has a range of more than 100 km´s. Both types of helicopter are very versatile and can be converted into different roles within a very short time. Beside the already mentioned aircraft one could also see an Agusta Westland AW 109 TREKKER as well as the AW 189 medium size helicopter Also belonging to the Finmeccanica Group is the company ALENIA which presented their LEAD-in Trainer Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and the smaller basic trainer M-345 together with the newest addition of the highly successful C-27 family, the MC-27L Gunship. This armed version of the SPARTAN cargo lifter is armed with a 30mm Gatling gun and a special launcher system for GBU-44 VIPER E smart bombs!

The Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) surprised many visitors with their first official display of the T129 ATAK combat helicopter (outside Turkey), which is actually based on the Agusta A-129. TAI announced, that they will produce 60 aircraft in total, all of them locally built in Turkey. Additionally one could see TAI´s brand new UAV called ANKA. This UAV is being produced in two different versions: the type A for reconnaissance and the type B for combat with weaponry.

The Swiss RUAG company, which is on a road to success with their new edition of the Do-228 NG, displayed an upgraded version of the Super Puma helicopter. All Super Pumas in service with the Swiss Air Force will receive the TH 06 ISR Super Puma Upgrade until the end of FY 2014. This modernization program includes avionics, electrical systems, the interior equipment as well as the helicopters super structure and its performance. With this upgrade the Super Puma will fulfill the Swiss Air Forces requirement for, at least, the next 20 years!

There is life in the old dog yet – this saying can be used for the VIKING AIR company, which is specialized on the former DeHavilland company`s Twin Otter aircraft. They bought DH´s old production plant, modified the fuselage´s super structure, implemented new avionics as well as new type of engines! How successfully this concept is, one can see in the sales! Orders for more than 100 aircraft have been placed until today, 50 planes have already been delivered to the customers. The aircraft on display in Farnborough is painted in the magnificent colours of Air Seychelles. A big surprise was definitely the very first appearance of the Textron AirLand SCORPION. Originally designed by CESSNA in Wichita, Kansas, this low-cost fighter is now manufactured in cooperation between the company TEXTRON and the company Air Land. The advertised price for one aircraft is some 20 Million USD, the cost for one flight hour shall not exceed 3000 USD. In times where budget cuts in the military are daily routine, this aircraft has the potential to become highly successful. At least full scale production shall start in 2016!
Military surveillance is more and more covered by UAV´s as well as by smaller (and cheaper to operate) aircraft types. One of this sophisticated, but affordable types is the SAAB 340 MSA (Maritime Surveillance Aircraft). The Austrian company DIAMOND AIRCRAFT, which is well known for their high performance civilian light aircraft equipped one of their Diamond 42 aircraft with QinetiQ´s ASX airborne communications surveillance system. The German GROB company presented their G520T EGRETT. This aircraft was already developed in the 1980ies (maiden flight was in 1987), only some 6 aircraft in total were built (due to a corruption scandal an order of the German LUFTWAFFE was cancelled) and the company went bankruptcy. The new owner announced at FIAS 2014 that the production and the development of the EGRETT will resume!
Traditionally the public could attend the show over the weekend with it’s spectacular flying program and a very well presented static display. The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the RED ARROWS are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2014 with an extremely dynamic show. Another highlight was the RAF´s Eurofighter Typhoon display. The Typhoon is painted with the so-called Normandy stripes to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy/France. Plenty of historic aircraft were on display, like a Gloster Meteor, a DeHavilland Vampire or an English Electric Canberra operated by Midair Squadron, just to mention a few. One major attraction, not only for the British audience, was the formation fly-by of the AVRO Vulcan together with the RED ARROWS.
The latest types of helicopters and passenger jets showed their capabilities as well as a very special (and rare) guest from Spain: an AV-8B MATADOR VTOL aircraft (the AV-8B is a modified and license produced version of the BAe Harrier built by McDonnell Douglas) Seeing the latest achievements in aviation is definitely thrilling, still there was one aircraft on the show which quickened the interest of enthusiasts and, especially, of many pilots. We are talking about the Old Lady, the venerable Lockheed L-1049 SUPER CONSTELLATION sponsored by the Swiss Breitling company. To fly at least once with this remarkable aircraft is still the dream of many pilots, who normally are on the controls of such aircraft like a Boeing 747, 777 or Airbus A 340/380 etc. Well, this is at least what they told us in many interviews.
This article is just a short overview about this event, where one could clearly see the path into the future. We want to say thank you to everybody who gave us such an incredible support in Farnborough, like the people from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, the Airbus Group, Patrick Brunet from NHIndustries, Barbara Cruciani from Finmeccanica and of course the whole FIAS press team – we are looking forward to see you again at FIAS 2016!
Flying Display Program (Monday to Friday)
Airbus A380
Airbus A350
Airbus A400M
Red Devils
Boeing 787-9
Boeing P-8-A Poseidon
Eurofighter Typhoon
Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet
TAI T129 ATAK Black Shape BS100
Alenia Aermacchi M345 and 346
Report co-written by Wolfgang Jarisch, Peter Thivessen and Robert Kysela for

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Airbus A380
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