Text & Pictures: Alexander Vandenbohede © sbap 2014

From 14 to 17 July Farnborough was home of the well-known biennial trade show. During the following weekend, from 18 to 20 July, the traditional Farnborough Air Show took place. It provides an opportunity for the lesser beings among us to take a glimpse of what is new and hot in the aviation industry.  Traditionally, some of this new and hot stuff had already long gone, did not move an inch  or was not able to cross the ocean in time for the public days but the organizers at Farnborough put together a good and varied air show. The gorgeous weather during the Saturday afternoon willingly contributed to that.

Theme of the show was " Celebrating 100 years of Aviation History" and the organizers promised the visitors to "witness a hearty selection of the great and the good, stemming back from WW1 and spanning through to modern day technology". The modern day technology definitely didn't balance the historic airframes present but that is, to be honest, not such a bad news. The displays of different classic British Jets such as the Vampire, Meteor, Canberra, Vulcan and Harrier were just awesome. This is, I imagine, how a Farnborough show also looked in the golden 60s. It is good when things come full circle.


What better way to open the show than with a formation fly past of this Gloster Meteor T.7 and this De Havilland Vampire T55. The Vampire is an ex-Swiss air force example whereas the Meteor had an active RAF career. Now, both aircraft are part of the flying history collection operated by Classic Air Force.
And let us continue with these beautiful jets, the English Electric Canberra PR.9. XH134 active service ended "only" in 2006, days before the disbandment of its operator, 39 (1 PRU) Squadron RAF. This beauty is now operated by Midair Squadron. The all-over silver paint scheme, complete with tri-colour roundels and fin-flash and large black ‘XH134’ markings under each wing, represents the markings worn when the type entered service.


Vulcan XH558 remains a remarkable sight in the sky.
Especially the sound and sight when she takes off
and the pilots put her in a sharp bank away
from the public leaves you breathless.
On the other hand, I'm not sure if it is sensible
to spent the huge amounts of money to keep here airworthy...


  Although still in active service, the Harrier deserves its place in the list of classic British jets. In Europe, only Spain and Italy keep on using the Harrier and seeing one in action has become rare. The Harrier that was present at the show, is operated by the Spanish Navy where the type is known as AV-8S Matador. Recently, it became known that the Spanish Navy has been promised 70.3 million euro for extending the lifespan of its Harriers beyond 2025. So, hope to see more of this!  

The Boeing F-18F and Eurofighter Typhoon provided two fast-jets display. With the A380 and A400 they represent the 'modern day technology' aspect of the display.


The Breitling Super Constellation and the Royal Navy Historic Flight Hawker Sea Fury T20 showed elegance and raw power, respectively.


Back in time again. Avro XIX G-AHKX was restored by BAe apprentices at Woodford and now flies from Old Warden. D-Day was remembered by a neat display by three C-47s.


The Great War was remembered by the Great War Display Team flying a mix of replicas of German and British airplanes. They reenacted how dogfights took place along the Western front, nearly 100 years ago. Great flying, although the still dark clouds, and especially the large extent of the display line didn't do these small airplanes the justice they deserve.


And let end this small report with the Red Arrows who are always one of the star attractions at any air show. They performed against a crystal blue sky, the Hawks beautifully sunlit. Just brilliant! 


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