In Flight Presentations 
Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Bruno Ghils & Pierre Taquet

Although it looks like an airshow, the flight demonstrations at le Bourget are the dynamic show case of the manufacturers. One have to admit that the number of aircraft presented in flight this year was significantly lower than the previous editions. As we mentioned in our introduction, certain groups were absent, results of the crisis despite a measurable rise (absence of Finemecanica Italy) or due to international tensions such as with Russia and Vladimir Putin.

What to withold from these flight demonstration ?

First of all the E FAN which is still getting on with its trials and development and will soon be put into production. The NH-90'Caiman', flagship of the military helicopters of the Airbus group, becoming operational in various countries.

The Dassault Aviation Rafale, masterfully flown by Cpt. Benoit "Tao" Planche, on a successful background of contracts signed with 24 aircraft for Qatar, 36 for India (out of 126 initially planned due to a trade dispute regarding the after-sale services - taking only the aircraft build in France) and finally 24 for Egypt.

The military star of this Salon was undoubtebly the JF-17 "Thunder", a product designed in collaboration by Chengdu Aircraft Industries (CAC) - Popular Republic of China, the Pakistan Air Force and the Pakistan aeronautical industry. An industrial première : if the aircraft is developed and produced jointly with China, the aircraft will be directly manufactured by the Pakistan Air Force, that way becoming the first air force to manufacture its own fighter aircraft. This also implies a close partnership between engineers and pilots. It is a very capable and affordable aircraft. At a price of only a third of its contenders, about 40 million dollars. Simple and light, it fits into the "empty weight" category of 6 tonnes, the equivalent of the Saab Gripen. The maximum take-off weight is 12,4 tonnes and its combat weight, with fuel and ammunition is 9 tonnes... lighter than a Rafale's... empty weight... Despite its small size, the JF-17 "Thunder" is designed as a multirole aircraft, not only capable of air superiority misions with the ability of firing medium range missiles but also ground attack missions through bombs and guided missiles even air-sea. The aircraft can also carry an observation and laser designation pod. Although powered by the Russian engine Klimov RD93 (the same brand as the Mig-29) and carrying an English ejection seat Martin Baker, the plane is entirely indigenious. The center section of the fuselage is manufactured by AVIC from China, where the remaining parts are manufactured in Pakistan. This latter country assembling its own fighters in parallel with the production line of the FC1, the Chinese JF-17 equivalent. There were some rumours in the media regarding the possible integration of foreign systems like the RC400 from Thales and air-air missiles MICA, but, even if these rumours were presumptive, today they are not anymore. General Ali has been quite clear on this subject. Actually the aircraft is equipped with equivalent functionalities to all its contenders and the goal is to find a new market, maybe a potential rival of the Gripen. But these two aircraft do not belong to the same influence spheres and their captive markets are very distinctive, apart from some non-aligned countries where the possession of an air force equipped with fighter aircraft depends mostly of economical logics. Although not as modern or competitive as other airplanes on the market, the JF-17 "Thunder" offers a good alternative for countries which have to choose between having fighter aircraft or not or with restricted budgets, allowing them to rely on a low cost fighter and equilibrate forces in certain regions, such as in Africa. A new potential market...

The Bombardier "C Series" performed every day allowing to show its capabilities. The aircraft is elegant with a reduced noise signature thanks to new generation technologies. A beautiful plane which will have its place in the "100 seats" liner markets.

The juggernaut of the skies, the Airbus A380, was also present at le Bourget. Already a real commercial success as we could see numerous A380 from various companies flying into Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. Well known but always impressive to see this massive aircraft cleave the skies with a rare elegance.

Despite a catastrophy which was on the front page of the newspapers, the Airbus A400M was also present and this huge tactical transport aircraft showed its capabilities and swiftness in flight. Deliveries are due and as everyone knows, Belgium and Luxemburg are awaiting their aircraft between 2018 and 2020.

The match, or the game as it was called by Julien Lepers... between Europe and America was certainly one of the headlines of this Salon. The match between the Airbus A350 XWB and the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner". The presence of the A350 XWB was a première at the Salon 2015. Its maiden flight was on June 14, 2013 at Toulouse Blagnac and during Le Bourget 2013 it made some shy fly-by's. The first certification by AESA was granted on September 30, 2014. It received, a first in aviation history, the ETOPS370 certification before the first delivery on October 15, 2014. At last, the FAA granted its certification on November 12, 2014, following which the first aircraft was delivered to Qatar Airways on December 18, 2014. Named the A350 as the aircraft is a derivative of the A330 and A340, the aircraft was modified, following multiple remarks from airline companies, receiving a wider body hence its name A350 XWB eXtra Wide Body. This late modification together with the introduction of more composite materials increased significantly the development costs and delayed its entry in service from 2011 to 2014.

The direct contender the Boeing 787 caused a stir at Le Bourget, particularly after a big media campagne showing the training flights towards the Salon of Paris. The "Dreamliner" is a long range aircraft officially launched on April 26, 2004 with a projected in service date of May 2008. The maiden flight was on December 15, 2009 with certification on August 26, 2011. First delivery took place on September 26, 2011 to the airline company All Nippon Airways. This aircraft can transport between 210 and 330 passengers depending on the version and or configuration and is more economical regarding fuel consumption : according to Boeing initial specifications, the 787 uses up to 20% less fuel than the Airbus A330 or Boeing 777. Three versions were initially foreseen, the 787-3, 787-8 and 787-9, but in December 2010, lacking orders, the smaller model (787-3) was cancelled. After some major technical problems which compelled Boeing to ground the 787, it seems that the aircraft has now reached its cruising speed and one can see the Dreamliner on various airports around the world. The commercial match has well and truly started !

Besides the manufacturers presentations, the Salon also offered some other demonstrations such as the aerobativs by Ms Catherine Maunoury on her Extra, the fume curls of Trescal's Starduster 300 or the characteristic whistle of the Fouga Magister of the Patrouille Tranchant.

The public show of the week-end gave a different program as the Bombardier C Series and the Boeing 787 already had set bound to North America and Canada but the airshow was highlighted by a panel of warbirds and a Canadair of the Sécurité Civile.

Airbus Group E-Fan
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Airbus Helicopter NH90 « CAIMAN »
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
Dassault Aviation Rafale C
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)

(Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Chengdu JF-17 "Thunder"
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Pierre Taquet) (Serge Van Heertum)
Bombardier "CSeries" CS300
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Pierre Taquet) (Serge Van Heertum)
Airbus Group A380 (MSN 001)
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) (Pierre Taquet)
(Pierre Taquet) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Airbus Military A400M "Atlas"
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Pierre Taquet) (Serge Van Heertum)
Airbus Group A350 XWB
vs
Boeing B787-9













(Serge Van Heertum)
Other presentations...
De Havilland Mosquito (Scale 3/4)  (Pierre Taquet) Curtiss P-40N Warhawk  (Pierre Taquet)
North American P-51D Mustang  (Pierre Taquet) Douglas AD-4N Skyraider  (Pierre Taquet)
Canadair CL-415T  (Pierre Taquet) Douglas DC-3  (Pierre Taquet)
Cessna 195  (Pierre Taquet) Sa300 Starduster from Trescal  (Serge Van Heertum)
Extra 330SC in hand of Mrs Catherine Maunoury  (Serge Van Heertum) Poter CM-170 Fouga Magister  (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum)

Reports Menu - Homepage