Farnborough International Air Show

Trip Start Jul 06, 2008
Trip End Aug 04, 2008

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quite a few firsts today!

I took my first Tube ride.  It was crowded and a little hectic and expensive and really hot in the tunnel.  There was an incredible rush of air as the train approached.  (Some of the stops have special barriers with sliding doors that match the ones on the train.  Nancy said that these are new and help keep people from being shoved off the platform) We took a train or two to Waterloo, then took an aboveground train from there to Farnborough.  This was a very nice train, with soft seats and a table between each facing booth.  We met with a client of Nancy's who works in aviation.  I was all dressed up:  suit jacket, my good pants, ten pound flats (my feet are still sore from them!), make-up, a pair of dangle pearl earrings borrowed from Nancy.  This was because the cut-off age to get in was 16 and we thought I should look as old as possible so they didn't bother us about it.  And I got a Cappachino, hehe.  We took a shuttle bus from the station to the fields of Farnborough; that was my first double decker bus ride.  Being in the top, in the very back, is a bit scary.  The bus sways and hits bumps pretty hard.  On the way into the event, I saw a bunch of hardcore plane spotters all geared up, sitting just outside the complex.

The Farnborough Air Show is open from the 14 - 20 of July this year, with it being open to the general public on the weekend.  I've never been to an air show before, nor an exhibition, which was attached to the event.  All companies from all around the world that deal in any sort of aviation set up booths inside one of the four halls (ranging from simple tables and a banner to multi-leveled fully functional mini offices) or chalets on the roads outside (fully working bars and restaurants and offices, many of them with porches providing a good view of the show).  It was a strange situation to be in.  If you only wanted to look at something, you had to scurry off before one of the booths workers caught you and started talking.  Funnily enough, the one time Nancy and I actually wanted to know something, the guy didn't speak English.  It was a Russian missile company and I wondered if the missiles shown were actual size (they seemed quite small to me), so Nancy went to ask the guy sitting in the desk.  But...he didn't speak English.

One of the booths played "Mr. Blue Sky" and since that point it has been stuck in my head.  There was a snake picture on one of the booths.  Blechy snake.

One section displayed all the engines and wheels.  The largest turbine there had to be at least ten feet across, and the wheels were much larger than I imagined they would be!

The show itself was awesome, and we watched from one of the chalets.  The A380 is this HUGE airbus that can apparently make very sharp turns and dives while still looking graceful.  They had a group of female parachuters.  The Red Arrows were pretty sweet; they're tiny planes that can move with quick and complicated movements.  Unfortunately, they only made one loop before landing.  Besides the A380, my favorite was the Eurofighter Typhoon.  It was incredibly loud and fast and could fly vertically up or down.  We left after that, but all the way back to the shuttle the loud planes could be heard and seen as far as the train station, and even inside the halls where we tried to escape the noise it was no better.  The ceiling was pretty much just cloth.  (While we were waiting at the station, we saw a formation of four planes shoot straight in the air trailing smoke.)

All in all, an interesting day.

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