Monday, June 22, 2015

PARIS AIRSHOW 2015 - The Worlds Oldest Airshow

Last week, I attended the Worlds Oldest Airshow, officially called the "Salon International de l'aéronautique et de l'espace - Le Bourget", it is often referred to as the "PARIS Airshow". 

To me the show is much more an "Aviation fair", rather than a classic airshow; it is all about the business side of aviation rather than the pure love of flying which is often seen in classic airshows... Having said that, it is still a happening and interesting event.

Top floor of the Airbus chalet

The weeklong show is held every two years (odd) at the end of June, with the first 4 days being reserved for professionals. The last three are open to the general public and have a more varied afternoon flying display. 
A350 landing, B787 ready to go

The first Paris airshow was held in 1908, only 5 years after the Wright brothers first flew. Beside a few obvious breaks during both World War I and II, the show has been held pretty much non-stop every second year and was on its 51st edition. 

Also taking place during the odd years, another similar event is held in my neck of woods; the Dubai Airshow which this year takes place between the 8th and the 12th of November and has been growing exponentially since its start in 1989.

During the even years, two similar shows are being held in both Berlin (Germany) and Farnborough (UK). 

Airbus A350 in-flight
With over 2000 exhibitors and more than 350.000 visitors, the Paris Airshow is the second largest aviation event by visitor numbers. Airventure-Oshkosh taking first place with more than half a million people on the grounds during the weeklong event. Beside, Airventure is of course a very different type of event and is rightly called; "The Worlds Greatest Aviation celebration". If all goes well, there is a good chance I'll make it back to Oshkosh (WI) this coming July!

Dassault Falcon 2000 
As stated before, it is all about the business side of Aviation in Paris; with most companies working in the Aviation field being represented, from the large manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus to the smaller companies making aviation springs, bolts and nuts; the Paris airshow has it all!

New aircraft types are frequently first shown at Paris and announcements of new project launches are often made during one of the many press conferences.

A few of these firsts this year, were the Bombardier CS300 airliner, which is still in its initial flight test phase,
CS300 prototype

the Airbus A350 Hushliner,
Airbus A350 nose section

the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner,
B787 flightdeck

and the Scorpion light attack and reconnaissance aircraft built by Cessna.
Cessna Scorpion

Airlines often officially order their new aircraft at shows like Paris and are then sometimes rewarded by the manufactures showing their new hardware at the show in the respective airline livery. This was the case for Qatar airlines which had a Boeing B-787 and both an Airbus A350 and A380 at the show. Great marketing!
Qatar dominating Paris airshow: B787, A350 and A380 tails

As the show is also a military event, a lot of the worlds governments come to Paris to check out what the latest and greatest from the aviation defence side.
NH90 preparing for demo flight

F-16 and Boeing P-8 Poseidon

A-10 nose section

Unfortunately the weather wasn't that great on the Thursday I was there, making for a "limited flying display" and some challenging photography. Having a weather resistant camera and lens (FUJIFILM X-T1 & XF50-140 lens) definitively helped!
Airbus A380 coming in to land


The Paris - Le Bourget airport, where the show has been held since 1953, is also the home of the "Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace", one of the worlds greatest Air and Space museums. A gallery with images I shot at the museum earlier this year, can be found here.

Time for a smoke

Merci Paris et au revoir,

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