'Twas my turn today, and what a day! I was like a kid in a candy store!
Saw most of the aircraft I wanted to see on display - the SAAB Gripen was thrilling (terribly fast!), as were the F-18 'Super Hornet' and the F-16. The F-117 did a flypast...it looks absolutely the most magnificent and elegant thing I have ever seen grace the skies above!! What a lovely shape & fantastic piece of engineering.
Saw the B-52 from a distance - it appears the flightcrew got lost, and missed the airfield by quite a fair few miles; slightly worrying!
Also saw the Embraer 190 being put through the usual display manouvres; again, what a beautiful jet, and how thrilling to see it fly past, take off & land so close to me; especially thrilling given it won't enter commercial service for another year.
Both the A318 and A340-600 were also absolutely thrilling to watch - how lovely to see the giant bird land right next to me, parallel the runway, a sight I won't witness again for a long time!
The static display was very interesting; I have to be honest, I'm more of a civvie enthusiast than a military geek, but both types were impressive. A Boeing 737-900/800 (embarrasingly, I couldn't tell which type) was all done up in the new 'Dreamliner' theme, and Korean Air was written up on the tail - it looked VERY smart. easyJet had its latest A319 on display, and because I had my ezy ID
with me, I managed to enter the jet, walk up & down the aisles and check out the flightdeck - as well as grab some Airbus-themed toys.
Nice plane, lovely wide aisle although I don't like the toilets being situated in the middle of the galley (maybe that was requested by easyJet) and the overall cabin looked a little 'plastic' if you get my drift. The flightdeck was lovely, very airy & spacious compared the 73's I normally work in (as Cabin Crew).
Qatar Airways had an A330, and Alitalia had their new Embraer. The halls were packed with stands from various aerospace companies manufacturing all sorts of components.
The Boeing 'Dreamliner'/commercial aircraft exhibit was fairly interesting if a bit underwhelming - it was a doughnut shaped inflatable tent, fitted out with the usual Boeing models (in smart, Dreamliner colours) as well as a 7E7 mock cabin x-section which was quite interesting (basically a bit like the 777 cabin, but with larger windows). It was great to see an actual model of the 7E7 - it does look like a beautiful aircraft, just like the 777. In contrast, I thought the A380 model looked horrible - but then, this is more about lower seat-mile costs I suppose!
All in all, a great day out & something for everyone. I thought the tickets were a bit steep, at £25 per person; interestingly for a supposed 'trade visitors only' day, no one at the entrance or elsewhere bothered to check whether I was indeed a valid 'trade' visitor, so theoretically any member of the public could have gained entrance!