Farnborough Airshow 2008

This year is significant in aviation, marking 100 years since the UK's first sustained powered flight.


This year sees the return of the aviation industry's biggest air show at Farnborough. Aviation Business previews the event, focusing on the main attractions and aircraft displays.

What's on

This year is a significant one in aviation history, marking the 100 year anniversary of the UK's first sustained powered flight. It is also the 60th year since international airshows were launched at Farnborough.

To celebrate, event organisers are planning what they hope will be the biggest and most successful event to date. Civil and military delegates from across the globe are planning to attend the show, which includes a daily flying display, various trade exhibitions and entertainment for visitors. With more than 20 high profile sponsors and exhibition numbers at record levels, the event is expected to be at least 5% bigger than the previous show.

The grand opening

The Farnborough International Airshow's (FIA) opening ceremony and welcome reception will be held on the first night of the show. The first launch reception was introduced at the 2006 air show and has become a successful networking opportunity for FIA Exhibitors.

The 2008 festivities will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the London Hilton, Park Lane from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Monday July 14. To allow exhibitors plenty of time to prepare for this gathering, the opening hours for the air show's opening day will be from 10am to 4pm.

Flying demonstrations

With more than 20 aircraft on display, the daily flying demonstration is set to be one of the show's highlights. Lasting some four hours every afternoon, the display includes a wide selection of historic, modern, civil and military aircraft. This year, visitors can expect to see the Aero Sekur Shooting Stars, HAL Helicopter, Kestrel JP10, MiG 29 and EADS Eurofighter among others.

In addition, the static aircraft display will allow visitors to get a detailed view of the aircraft and examine special features. The new Airbus A380, currently operated by Singapore Airlines, will be one of the largest aircraft displayed at the show. Orders for the model, which has been designed to lower the aviation industry's carbon footprint, continue to rise, despite delay announcements from Airbus.

The aircraft manufacturer has 196 firm orders for the aircraft from 17 customers including Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates, which is launching its inaugural A380 flight to New York this summer.

In addition to modern commercial aircraft, the air show will have a variety of older and military aircraft. The Catalina, a 1930s American flying boat, was originally designed as a patrol bomber, an aircraft intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships at sea.

During World War II these aircraft were also deployed as convey escorts, search and rescue planes and transport vessels by the air force and navy units of many nations.

Retired from service in the 1980s, this war plane will make an appearance during Farnborough's weekend flying display. The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, commonly known as the Red Arrows, have performed more than 4000 displays across the world. They will be present at the air show on Monday, Friday and Saturday, showcasing their traditional and well known formations.

The Cody Flyer

The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) has created a stationary replica of the 53ft wingspan Cody flyer biplane, which will be exhibited at the show. The original was designed by American air navigator Samuel Cody and made history at Farnborough when it became the first powered aeroplane to fly over British soil in 1908. The replica will be showcased with the static aircraft, three months before the 100 year anniversary of the aircraft's first flight.

The business centre

A business services and meeting centre has been designed to meet the needs of visitors throughout the show. Situated on the ground floor near the Hall 1 entrance, services will include computers with internet facility, laptop connection points and e-mail access. It will also have telephone and fax, photocopying, stationery sales, courier service/collection and a full secretarial service available.

UAV Pavilion

In the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci created the concept of non-human flight. After years of research, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been successfully developed for use in TV and film, as well as the military, civil, and commercial aviation sectors.

These aircraft, which are capable of flying without a pilot, are powered by a jet engine that can control sustained level flight. The 2008 air show will host a UAV pavilion featuring several different models for public viewing.

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