The Paris Air Show restricts access to press and industry professionals from Monday through Thursday, which would seem to make it the ideal time to visit the show, assuming you could get your hands on a pass.
Gadling editor Grant Martin and I managed to attend, hoping to see some of the latest innovations for future travelers. We caught the new Boeing 787 electronic window shade on video and watched the debut flight display of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner.
Exhausted from the traveling that day, we decided to enjoy the perfect weather to catch the flying display on Wednesday. I even came back on Sunday to compare the differences in the show between the industry days and the general public weekend show.
Even though there are huge crowds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the overall mood is much more friendly, with a greater sense of excitement present. Just take a look at these two pictures of the show to see if you can sense the difference:
Shoot me if I ever attend an airshow in a suit:
There were just a few smiles during the week, but the crowd really seemed to be enjoying themselves over the weekend. No doubt the economy has been in the back of everyone’s mind in the industry, while the general public attended the show simply to be entertained.
And entertained they were. Video after the jump.
The one thing that the Paris Air Show and Farnborough in England have over the typical stateside airshow are the civil aircraft flying displays; something I was eager to see for my first time visiting the Paris Air Show.
The flying display began with an impressive BD-5 reincarnation called the LH-10 Ellipse that manages to fly at 200 knots (230 m.p.h.) while sipping just 5 gallons an hour. That’s about 40 miles per gallon.
The Eurocopter Tiger helicopter proved once again that it’s capable of an impressive array of aerobatic maneuvers, including a loop, a roll, split-S and this stunt that I’ve never seen before:
After Airbus flew the A300, A320, A340 and the A380, it was time for the aerobatic solo performances. An F-16, Mirage III, Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon flew, and on the weekend we saw the graceful French aerobatic team La Patrouille de France take over the show.
Disappointingly, Boeing had a very limited presence at the show, with just a ‘chalet’ available by appointment only. Grant and I managed to walk through the building that was located right on the flight line next to other industry heavy weights, and take in the view from upstairs, but it was set up for meetings and as a perk for important customers.
Maybe the 787 will make its public debut at Farnborough next year. If so, Gadling will hopefully be there.
Check out the rest of Gadling’s Paris Air Show coverage.