Farnborough at 70

As the global aerospace industry prepares to decamp to the Hampshire airfield for the biennial Farnborough International Airshow, Airliner World’s Barry Woods-Turner reviews some of the highlights of 70 years of innovation.

Farnborough can trace its roots back to the pre-World War Two Hendon Air Pageants, the first of which took place on June 19, 1932, where the Society of British Aircraft Constructors (SBAC) displayed the latest developments in aviation engineering. There were to three further events held at Hendon before moving to de Havilland’s airfield at Hatfield.

The graceful shape of the world’s first production jet airliner, the de Havilland DH 106 Comet. The prototype attended the second Farnborough show in 1949. This example, a Comet 3, wears the colours of British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and was displayed in 1957.

The following year (1937) saw it being extended to two days. However, with the threat of war looming this was to be the last of the SBAC’s airshows for nine years, a period during which time the industry changed considerably. Immediately after the end of the war, the SBAC display moved to Radlett, Hertfordshire, the home of manufacturer Handley Page, where it was staged for two consecutive years.

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