Lines, Curves and Clouds ~ Farnborough International Airshow

As we were heading for our departure gate at Heathrow yesterday and watching the rain on the airport windows, my husband remarked: “There won’t be too many planes flying at Farnborough today.”  True.  Pretty miserable weather for standing out of doors and peering up into the grey clouds!  How lucky we had been to be there the day before (Wednesday, July 21, 2010), under beautiful sunny blue skies watching more than twenty aircraft of various shapes and sizes put on a dazzling spectacle.

It’s been a busy week, and I was going to post some photos from the Rodin Museum in Paris, but the sculptures have been there for about a 100 years, so I’m sure they’ll wait another week or so!  The Farnborough International Airshow (FIA), on the other hand, only happens once every two years, alternating with the Paris Airshow.

It was an exciting experience for me, because, lets face it, flying IS thrilling.  I’ve been in quite a few small planes over the years, but could probably still tell you stories about each individual flight, they are so vividly etched in my memory.  For example, there was the time in the twelve seater Fokker Friendship over the Barrier Reef when we all got worried because the pilot pulled out a map!  Then there are the views from the seaplanes over the Georgia Straight to my mother’s house in Canada…   Or the views of the Himalayas from the front seat of a helicopter… Or there was the time in the Cessna over the Prairies when I got to handle the controls….   and so on…   The whole concept of being in the sky with the birds has fascinated people for all of recorded time.

Welcome to Farnborough! It’s a bright sunny day, perfect for flying…

Farnborough (click for the official site) is primarily a trade show: lots of men and women in suits and shiny shoes representing countries and corporations, trading business cards and placing billions of dollars in orders. Official photographers were carrying their equipment around in small trucks, so knowing almost nothing about airplanes, and not enough about photography, in the morning I set myself the task of trying to take some ‘pretty’ pictures of ‘shiny things’ at the static displays.

Reflections: Boeing 777-300ER

Jet from a Canadian Airforce Boeing 737-53A

Swiss PC-21 Trainer

US Airforce F18 Cowling

The Bio-Fuel Powered Way of the Future: DA42 (EADS)

The World at my Nose: PC-12NG

Of course, people love talking about their favourite things, so there was no shortage of knowledgeable people willing to explain their equipment and show participants around.

The highlight of the day, however, was the three hours of flying displays.  This provided me with a new challenge in tracking moving objects with the camera… Moving? The jets are routinely doing 170mph when they touch down!! If you are scrolling through the photos, be sure to look at the wonderful flying machines in action at the end.  If you want to see more, I’ll be uploading more samples into my Flickr Farnborough set.

US Marines’ Gunner Scott and his UH-1Y.

Everyone was Enthusiastic to Share their Knowledge

US AirForce Personnel – at your Service.

The four-propellored A400M can turn summer-saults in spite of it’s bulk!

Airbus A380: manoeuvrable in spite of being the world’s largest commercial airliner.

Puffs of smoke and Union Flags…

… came drifting in…

… for a stunning three-point Red Devil landing.

Next came the Blades, who twisted and looped and ducked and dove for over fifteen minutes.

The elegant but deadly F-18 Hornet drops her Michelins to come in for a 170mph landing!

Another clunky-looking military transport, the C27J was doing peanut rolls in the sky!

The Aermacchi M346 Advanced Jet Trainer was moving so fast, my camera lost it in the cloud vapour a few times. Photography buffs: panning shot! 🙂

The 50 year old AVRO Vulcan can keep up with the youngsters any day. Note the camouflage and the open bomb bays.

Bone crushing noise on departure, wings everywhere… the BAe Typhoon.

Leaving a mirage from the heat of the jet exhaust, the F16 Fighting Falcon brings it all home safely.

  • Larry Oien - July 26, 2010 - 6:00 am

    What an incredible experience! Great photos… thanks so much for sharing. This has brought back memories of my own flying experiences…it is such a thrill to be up there among the clouds. I haven’t flown in a small aircraft for many years now but I always request a window seat on my flights back and forth from Australia.
    Take care, travel safely..


    • Ursula - July 26, 2010 - 6:08 am

      Hi Larry,
      Glad you liked the pictures. There’s nothing like being in the clouds, is there? 🙂ReplyCancel

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