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Talking point: Farnborough - how was it for you?

Tell us what you thought of this year’s Farnborough International Airshow, held over the week of July 19 to 25.

26-Jul-2010


Tails at Farnborough 2010. All images Key - Gary Parsons

Farnborough 2010's trade week was full of new aircraft types and had some good flying displays, definitely an improvement on recent years. Airbus Military's A400M, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, Sukhoi's Superjet and Antonov's An-158 graced the skies and CATIC's JF-17, Boeing's 737 Wedgetail and many other new types were parked in the static areas.

However, many left before the public displays at the weekend, which were mainly full of aircraft readily seen elsewhere across the UK.

What do you think? Is it value for money? What could be done to improve it for 2012? Tell us below!

Tails from Farnborough

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40 Comments

Bert Keim said on the 8-Jan-2010 at 09:17

For years now I attend the big airshows in Paris , Berlin and Farnborough. This year it has become quite clear that manufacturers don't care a thing about the general public with all the much advertised Highlights long gone when the public days arrived. Of course some will say tests have to go on but will a few days longer at the show really save their day? Show organizers who ask for quite a bit of entrance fee should put pressure on the manufacturers to leave their products at the show until the very last day (or make rents for stands cheaper)
Bert Keim

peter bryant said on the 8-Jan-2010 at 12:36

Looking at the comments people have made it should make the organises aware of what Joe Public thinks. However I doubt if they will really care. As long as there are public days then the general public will attend. Personally I will not bother next time.

As for aircraft parking. Where they parked the Vulcan and then had to move the crowd to get it out, showed the lack of thought or care to the public. I can remember when flying display aircraft were parked the runway side of the barriers

Pete Bryant

Lawrence Pickup said on the 9-Feb-2010 at 14:50

A relatively good turnout of companies and aircraft, especially given the current downturn across the industry. My one complaint is that even on 'trade' days (Tuesday in my case) visitors were kept too far away from the aircraft on display. However, Farnborough should remain a business led event with displays from aircraft in development or production. Displays from the Red Arrows, Battle of Britain flight etc should be left to Duxford, Biggin Hill, etc or displayed only on the public days; though are these really necessary?

R Hall said on the 8-May-2010 at 20:06

Farnborough 2010 was an utter disaster mainly for the bad management at the end of the show on Saturday. When i arrived at the bus stop no one was supervising the queues , so people were pushing in and we were told that no buses were available at that time despite the fact that lots were parked up doing nothing. Once back at the car park there was only one exit until much later, i didn't get out of the car park until 7.45.
The show itself was hugely disappointing. I went to see the F-22 and the A-400. Both were supposed to be there. They had gone home! The flying displays seemed much shorter than usual and apart from the C-27 and A-380 very ordinary. Another complaint was the very unfriendly attitude of the security and stewards. The Police weren't much better.
It will take something very special to get me to attend this airshow again and hopefully they can convince the stars to stay for the public days.

Mr Knight said on the 8-Jul-2010 at 17:50

Having read the editorial in AFM, it would appear that there were two Farnborough Airshows this year!!!

Frank Winkler said on the 9-Jul-2010 at 13:08

I was at Farnborough some years ago (1996 or 1998) on a visit in the UK and the flying display was something to remember for years. Now living in Austria for nearly 10 years I visited the (free of admission!) Air Power in Zeltweg in 2005 and told everyone that Farnborough is expensive but worth every pound: more jets, no gaps between the displays, all planes concentrated on a 3 or 3,5 hours flying display...

This year I decided to come back to the UK for some holidays in Wales and England and to see Farnborough Airshow once again. Of course it must be the so called "Enthusiast's Day" - because that would include an "extended flying display", a souvenir programm and free entry to the grand stand. What did I get for lots of money? A souvenir programm that consists of the standard programm that was sold everywhere for some pounds and the entry to the grand stand was free for everyone... Two things that wouldn't be mentionable if the flying display would be as extended as promised. But there wasn't any extension - far from it there was no A400, no F22 - only three jets (F16, F18, Typhoon) I've already seen years ago. There was a plane flying around for minutes to climb to 4000 meters to let a parachute team jump. After long minutes of waiting there was no jump... and so on...

So, comparing Farnborough 2010 to Farnborough 1998 (or 1996) or Air Power Zeltweg 2005 I must say that Farnborough 2010 was the poorest flying display I've ever seen. And to advertise an "Enthusiast's day" with an extended flying display to sell more expensive tickets and than showing a flying display that is really smaller as it was on the days before is a little bit fraudulent. I'm still really disappointed - and I think that was my last visit at Farnborough Airshow. Visiting the Air Power in Zeltweg I will definitely get more flying display for less (to be exact for NO!) money.

Tom said on the 26-Jul-2010 at 19:52

I attended the Show on the Friday for the first time in a number of years. It was billed as an enthusiasts day but I suspect that most enthusiasts like myself were quiet frankly very disappointed with the show that was put on. A400M, F-22, Gripen NG, 787 had all left for home. Only three fighter types performed at the show, all of which I had seen many times before. On a previous occation I recall there were that many French fighters alone in the sky. While I appreciate that all of the above, with the exception of the F-22, have tight test procedures to go through, the public should have been advised that these planes would not be available for any of the public days. I do not consider that it was good value for money and do not intend to go again anytime in the near future.

Matthew Lynch said on the 26-Jul-2010 at 22:32

I was also very disappointed at what I saw on Friday I think that the Farnborough web site was misleading in saying that there was an extended display on the Friday but we ended up seeing less than on any other day of the show. It was not until the last minute that they announced that the 787 was leaving on the Tuesday and the A400M on the Thursday which I think should have been publish much earlier. I can’t help but think that the enthusiast’s day was an afterthought and was always intended to be a money raiser for them at the end of the show when most of the trade people had left. I don’t think that it was good value for money especially as I had paid significantly more for the privilege of seeing less.

Mick Britton said on the 27-Jul-2010 at 13:54

As a first -timer at Farnborough I can only agree with the views already expressed. Having gone in the expectation of seeing the A400M perform there it was disappointing to see nothing of it but the painted pawmarks. Also disappointing were the number of vacated places in the static and the large number of trade pavilions which had shut up shop. It was also frustrating to see aircraft like the Gripen leaving. The actual display was not only short but lacked continuity. There was a 15min break at one point! Whilst enjoying a few displays such as the A380, C-130J and Typhoon and picking up more freebies than I could comfortably carry I got the distinct impression that the show was closing down around us and with the real business having been done everyone involved just wanted to be off home. From a female perspective my wife hated it and expressed the view that both the flying and static displays were poor and not a patch on Waddington! Whilst giving me leave to re-visit in the future she is firmly resolved not to accompany me.

Paul Devine said on the 27-Jul-2010 at 13:58

Having attended the majority of shows since 1968, I must also add 'disappointment' to the above comments. I attended on the Friday and, while appreciating the smaller number of spectators and queue free motoring in and out, the lack of new interesting aircraft (JF-17 excepted) was definitely out of order. Clearly the purpose of a trade show is to demonstrate to prospective purchasers, but it seems short sighted of the manufacturers to remove their new aircraft before the real customers ( the tax payer and the travelling public ) have a chance to view their wares. The flying display only contained 8 'Farnborough' related aircraft. Not value for money.
While still on my soap box, I wondered why it was necessary to hide so many aircraft behind potted plants and garish banners. And finally. Having had a rest in the grandstand and tried a few practice photos of departing aircraft, my friends and I decamped to stand by the flight-line for the display. Those speaker-stands were not in the best place.

peter bryant said on the 28-Jul-2010 at 01:47

Like many others I was also disappointed with this years show.
Several aircraft that I would have liked to have seen like the A400M left before the public days. The flying programme was interesting but again not as expected. The organisers did not publish the pubic days flying prgramme early enough. I expected to see a flying display like the old Farnborough's where we could see the new aircraft put through thier paces, instead I get to see a second world war event. On top of this where was the RAF? Like Yeovilton and the RIAT they seem to have snubbed it.

I certainly will not go to Farnborough again as I expect to see what is advertised. There must certainly be a trades description issue here and I may follow that one up as the show was not as advertised, especially regarding static aircraft.

Colin Baxter said on the 28-Jul-2010 at 13:04

Having driven the 30 miles to the show on Saturday in around 3 hours I agree with all of the above, especially as I had to watch the Blades' display from the entrance queue. At £30 a go to get in with somewhat expensive catering on top, it is an expensive day out when only half of what you expect is on display. We, the paying public, deserved more.

Having been to most of the shows since the early 60's and taken many thousands of photos, this was definitely not one of the best. The Dreamliner, F22, Gripen and A400M had all scuttled off back home while one of the most curious aircraft had no information about it whatsoever - I refer of course, to the AT802, what looked like an"Ag Cat" disguised as a bomb truck. And, on the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain I think the RAF could have shown us something a bit more special, despite all their commitments around the world, or am I (or we) asking too much from our hard pressed and stretched flying forces.

Finally, I must remember (if there is a next time) to take something to sit on or get in quick and book the Diamond Paddock. It's far better than the grandstand which is cramped and useless for photography - you can't swing a long lens without taking off someone's head.

Andrew Dyson said on the 28-Jul-2010 at 17:03

I attended the show on Saturday was very disappointed with the flying display.

Having travelled a significant distance the difference between the hype and the reality was too great. It was poor and worse than many airshows that I have attended. Poor visitor facilities and limited retail to provide competition.

MAURICE GUEST said on the 31-Jul-2010 at 20:35

i attended on the sunday i agree with the commemts above i was very disappointed that the aircraft i wanted to see had already left.

Pat Ford said on the 13-Aug-2010 at 14:06

I thought that attending the friday show with the promise of an extended flying display was worth going to.

IT WAS NOT!!

Not only was the display a disapointment,there were no catering or toilet facilities to speak of at the grandstand.
There were folk standing up when you attempted to take a photo and to top it all there were speakers on scaffold tubes so high that you often got a great shot of a speaker as an aircraft was taking off and landing. We were misled and robbed.

Mr Garth F Rogers said on the 14-Aug-2010 at 11:38

Farnborough 2010-07-23

I was extremely disappointed with the Friday Show at Farnborough this year. Was it meant to be a Trade or Public Day or was it an Enthusiasts Day (various adverts called it by all these titles). However if it was the latter then I believe, probably like many fellow visitors, it was a flop.
The majority of anything remotely new (e.g. Boeing 787, Boeing 777, F22, Sukhoi Superjet, Antonov 158, A400M, Bombardier CRJ900, JF17 etc.) had disappeared.
Thus from an enthusiast point of view most of the aircraft, particularly in the Flying Programme, could be seen at almost any air show in the UK.
Pre Show lists of aircraft were marked for Trade Days and Public Days so what happened.
I also observed via the internet that the Royal International Tattoo at Fairford was bereft of sufficient surprises and led me to choose Farnborough as the Show to attend.

There are many aircraft out there which would have made a great contribution to an Enthusiasts Day e.g. Sea Vixen, Me262, Osprey, B2, Po I16 Rata, Canberra, Lightning (US) to name but a few. Where were military aircraft from France, Russia, China, India etc?

The display aircraft are no longer in view on the airfield-just a lot of business jets.
The Show Commentary did not even begin until Airbus A380 started to move down the runaway.
The Red Devils also had to abort their display as they ran out of their timeslot.
Although the flying display was 3.5 hours long the number of items seemed to be way down on those of previous years.

The Show no doubt was a great success commercially and as always is well organised in overall terms.
It is understood, of course, that Flight Test Programs, Costs, Forces Commitments etc have to be taken into account.

However in future the role of Friday needs to be well defined and the list of participants made to suit the occasion-£45 is lot to pay out for something that did not reach the standards exhibited at previous Farnborough’s

Mr Knight said on the 15-Aug-2010 at 14:31

Following my post on the 7th, I have now read the AFM article on Farnborough. Poor reporting indeed. It would appear that the press day was more important to AFM than their readers, the public who could only attend during the weekend.
Well AFM, I have news for you. My subscription will NOT be renewed!!!
And RIAT was far better value for money for the paying public.

Rod McKenzie said on the 16-Aug-2010 at 09:36

The obvious problem is that Farnborough is rapidly evolving into two very distinct shows: a four-day trade extravaganza full of exotic and expensive rarities; and a two-and-a-half-day, wholly generic public airshow, featuring very little you haven't seen before. One possible way round this might be to shorten the whole thing to, say, 3 trade & 2 public days, and try to persuade exhibitors to hang around for the whole thing. However, that might be an uphill battle: anyone who attended over the weekend would realise that the overwhelming majority of exhibitors have zero interest in engaging the general public!

Michael Powell said on the 23-Aug-2010 at 15:19

This was my first airshow since moving to the UK in 2006. I was there on the Saturday. I thought it was fantastic! To be able to walk around the majestic Vulcan was an honour. It was no big deal to move it, people just got out of the way. I was also dissapointed that the A400M , the Raptor and the B787 were not there. But the BBMF, the Vulcan, the B-52 flyby, the amazing display by the A380, the F-16, the F/A-18F , the Typhoon, the Italian trainer, the superb Red Arrows, the C130J, the Chinook the Spit and 109 and the rest....wow!
The UK is spoilt for choice and the week before we had RIAT. We are lucky as aviation enthusiasts to have such choices. How can you get bored, even if you've seen these machines before? I hope I see the Vulcan or any well flown aircraft again and again at airshows. Thats what its about, kicking back and enjoying the displays and the static aeroplanes up close! JF-17, Strike Eagle, Hornet, B737 AWACS, C-17, Hawks and thats just on the ground!

Arriving there was a breeze, we parked at the Queens parking. The buses took us to the venue and we got in with no problems. When we left it was a bit crowded at the buses...it's a huge airshow! My only gripe is that it was chaotic to get out of the parking, but that did not spoil a great day out in terrific weather watching what we love, aircraft!

Michael Powell said on the 23-Aug-2010 at 15:25

Oh I forgot to mention the Fleet Air Arm represented by the Seahawk and Sea Fury....beautiful!

Paul Jarrett said on the 8-Sep-2010 at 09:46

Having sat through the rubbish which was on offer in the air during the so called enthusiast day at Farnborough on Friday. I was shocked to read the AFM ediorial, "Well done Farnborough" and in Combat Aircraft "Fabulous Farnborough" ! it makes you wonder if these magazines sent reporters to the show or just turned up to the press day and saw all the goodies, A400m 787 and F22 which were not on offer to the paying public. Having booked my tickets in advance I was well and truly suckered, on the plus side, I did manage to ring all my friends who were going on the Saturday and Sunday telling them not to bother.

Simon Peel said on the 9-Sep-2010 at 16:38

Been going since 1957 the last 5 shows had more old planes than new.
This year I went on the Friday.
What did I think, NOT A LOT.
Will I go again, NO.

Pat Ford said on the 13-Sep-2010 at 06:56

Guys why dont we all accept the fact that the ENTHUSIASTS tickets sold to us was a rip off of the first order and we can not trust any advertising from this organisation.As far as I am concerned I will not be going to any ENTHUSIASTS day advertised by this group of people ever.

David Crouch said on the 9-Oct-2010 at 15:17

Farnborough this year was a total flop, when some of us travel great distanses and at some expense we expect to see all that advertised.
I don,t think I would let the organisers plan my 5year old,s birthday party.
I heard a roomer that it was a new team,well they have to make great steps to get me there next time, and I have been to all shows the last 20yrs
so get your fingers out.
No 787(sevenlateseven) Im glad I went to Fairford at least my trip was,nt a compleat waste

G F Rogers said on the 10-Oct-2010 at 09:24

It is interesting that as far as I know the aviation press have not featured this story -I wonder why?
Also there appears to be no response from SBAC.

David Crouch said on the 27-Oct-2010 at 19:13

All thats left to say now is, Get it bloody right next time.
And don,t forget that it,s also Olympics year.
And a lot of attention will be elsware.
We deserve the best.

Paul Jarrett said on the 28-Oct-2010 at 11:36

After my continued moaning about the Farnborough airshow (see comment 9th August) a friend showed me the official DVD of the show. I pointed out to him, that if I had seen the show which was on the DVD, I would have been a very happy bunny. The DVD bore no resemblance to the rubbish I had payed through the nose to sit through. The ad in Airforces Monthly for the DVD states "Re-live all the action from this year's Farnborough International Airshow including the first ever airshow appearance by the Boeing dreanliner (not there!) and superb military display featuring the F-22 raptor (so stealthy I did not see it!) and Airbus A400M (I wish!). This must be the first time in history of UK airshows that the DVD is ten times better than the live event.

David Crouch said on the 28-Oct-2010 at 17:06

Right on.
Hope the organisers read these comments, and feel very ashamed, and once again I still feel we should get a free DVD

Rod McKenzie said on the 8-Nov-2010 at 12:35

If it wasn't for the Americans, Sunday's programme would have been a dead loss - fortunately, the Hornet, Herc and even F16 were all flown like they had a point to prove. Beyond that the show was pretty generic, although rarities like the A380 and DA42 helped. I actually found the static a pleasant surprise - did not expect the two JF17s to still be there! It's true the public get "sloppy seconds" compared to the Trade days, but I still managed to enjoy myself.

Mike said on the 8-Nov-2010 at 18:17

You have to remember, the show is mostly for trade...and in the end will always be wanting to show more to potential customers or the press, if ya really wanted a devoted public event, the RIAT that accoured a week before was a blast c:

Rob Hall said on the 15-Nov-2010 at 12:57

I have not seen any mention of all these complaints. It seems to me that the organisers will just ignore this site. AFM should be ashamed that they have not written an Editorial to let us air our views in puplic. This Airshow must not be allowed to con the public again. Come on AFM listen to your readers.

David Crouch said on the 16-Nov-2010 at 20:19

I think I will stay home next Farnborough Airshow
save the money simply buy the DVD then use the money i save on a fantastic holliday.
They don,t deliver what they promis, and now im fed up.
It use to be the best show on this planet?????????
If they can,t do the job, then they should stay away. AGGGH

David Crouch said on the 9-Dec-2010 at 20:07

I like many others who recieved the latest copy of Airlinerworld also recieved an offer of an official Airshow DVD
Due to the poor show this year, I can,t belive they addvertise it as the GREATEST AIRSHOW
In fact i feel we should get one free to compensate all that we missed out on.
and make sure that next time they get it right.

G F Rogers said on the 2-Jan-2011 at 15:41

What has happened to the results of the key.aero questionaire circulated some months ago??

G.F.Rogers said on the 30-Apr-2012 at 16:38

Another such day is being advertised at £54 (amounting to a 20% increase) for this years Farnborough.
No one has taken responsibility for the last misrepresented day and no apologies have been forthcoming. A survey was conducted but no results or conclusion have been publised.
I wish all those risking attendance at this years "Enthusiasts Day" the best of luck!

Pat Ford said on the 30-Apr-2012 at 16:52

If Key.Aero believe that they can provide us the full advertised line up on the Entusiasts Day ,let them compensate those of us that were ripped off last time by giving us complimentry tickets and a grandstand without speaker boxes and scaffold disrupting our view.Rude non enthestasts that insist on standing up be marshalled so not to impact on those who are considerate of others.

D. Crouch said on the 23-May-2012 at 18:47

I think you are right Robert Hall.
From what i,ve seen so far the Farnborough ORGANIZERS have canceled the Exhibition Halls 1 2 3 4 this year, what the F--K are they thinking of. The should definitly take a walk,
I see the Halls as the Iceing on the cake, even if many exhibiters have gone home, afterall, they don,t whant to talk to idiot,s like us.
If they want to save money, they should cut out mondays ie 1 day less. thanks.

Rob Hall said on the 28-May-2012 at 17:09

Am i the only one who liked Farnborough the old way. It used to be something a bit different. The chance to see brand new state of the Art aircraft and very often the chance to see exciting new aircraft. This modern Show is a real let down.

D. Crouch said on the 29-May-2012 at 08:35

You deffinatly have a point Rob. With younge people running the show.
They seem to think that, as long as they have lots to offer the young none paying pers.
then thats fine.
Your right when you write about the OLD DAYS
much better, and from the list i,ve seen so far, we don,t need more that TWO Hours to see what they don,t have.Can we pay by the hour???
nothing new. NO 787(i call it 7 late 7)and all the others on the market
So boreing.
And, why can,t they keep the stupid food trailers out of the line of sight, along the runway spoiling all photo shots. get them further back. Have a Nice day

Robert Hall said on the 5-Jun-2012 at 11:41

I will not be going to Farnborough this year. The last show in 2010 was a total rip off.I have no intention of going again unless they improve things greatly. I fear though that the Airshow is just something tacked on to the end of the Trade days. We the public are treated to the left-overs and made to pay a fortune for it.

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