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FARNBOROUGH - Here we are again. Can’t believe it’s already been more than a year since my first major air show as marketing V.P., last year in Paris. I found that experience to be exhilarating, exciting, and exhausting beyond all belief!

But seriously, being here has gotten me to thinking – what has changed in the year since the entire aviation world met on this huge stage?


Air India’s newest 777-300ER touched down Saturday at Farnborough. It will be on display during the air show highlighting its new livery, interior and passenger amenities. The airplane is named “Jammu and Kashmir” in keeping with Air India’s tradition of naming its 777s after states of India.

Well .. a lot has happened since the last air show, hasn’t it?

  • There have been 2,678 commercial airplane orders (Boeing and Airbus)
  • Oil has gone from $67/bbl to $134/bbl
  • Jet fuel has gone from $2.12/gal to $3.92/gal
  • The U.S. dollar has gone from 0.75 euros/dollar to 0.64 euros/dollar, and from 123 yen/dollar to 107 yen/dollar
  • The market has continued to liberalize with “open skies” between the EU and the U.S.
  • And worldwide aviation traffic continues to grow

So what’s coming up? Well, here’s what I can confidently predict for this year’s show at least: a lot of talk about who’s winning the Boeing/Airbus air show “orders race.” And that talk won’t be any more relevant than it ever is. Our competitor tends to hold order announcements (sometimes from previous years) until air show time, hoping to create a “buzz.” But Boeing sees air show week as just one in fifty-two.

What else is a given at the air show? Each day, quick breakfasts on the run at the Boeing chalet, working long days until exhausted, then the ride on the bus to the hotel, back to sleep, only to start all over again the next morning.

As I plunge ahead at Farnborough, and a busy travel schedule for the rest of the year, it occurs to me that my predecessor, Randy Baseler has not been on an airplane since he retired. Now, that is a change from last year!

And so.. on to the show that never ends ..

Comments (3)

Steve Linn (Everett, WA):

Nice touch with ELP.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

I love the big airshows like that in Farnborough,
to me it's like Christmas, Halloween, Birthday and
Fourth of July put into one.

The virgining "open skies" agreements made across
Europe have been good for the freedoms of the airlines, even British Airways celebrated by painting their first wingleted 757 with "open skies"
on it. One big example is Air France new service between Los Angeles and London Heathrow.

Gas prices have been in minds of airline CEO's, with the sudden rise in fuel prices in a short amount of time, twelve airlines want their passengers to tell congress to make policies to end speculation of fuel demand and price, I think this may fall of many deaf ears as the cancellation of flights goes up and quality of service has gone down.

This being said, I think this airshow will be exiting as the newest aircraft are in display the concept mock ups are set up to perspective buyers, new aircraft programs are launched like the Cseries, and new orders are made, many times exceeding fifty aircraft. As the air travel market grows around the world, I look forward to the airshows success.

James Baloun (Palo Alto, California):

To: Randy Tinseth and the Boeing Corp.

Off Topic Suggestion

Reference: Aviation Week article, July 14, 2008
"Design Dilemma" Page 80

The article talks about advanced transport design study. Mentions that the forward-swept laminar flow wing requires a clean leading-edge and wing surfaces. The forward-swept wing will help oppose the tendency for the pressure gradient to promote span-wise flow.

Problem: A wing that is efficient at high speed but can slow down for a safe landing. High lift devices try to increase wing area and air foil camber for landing but clean-up for cruise. Resulting in a heavy and complex wing.

Suggestion: A hybrid design that includes a forward-swept laminar-flow main wing optimized for cruise, and a swing-wing optimized for low speed landing. The swept wing below the fuselage and the swing wing above. No need for leading edge devices or complex flaps on the swept wing. Simple high-speed variable geometry ailerons. When the swing wing is deployed it would form a bi-plane configuration. When retracted the main laminar-flow wing would be optimized for high speed cruise. The wing area and placement would be set for the cruise and landing configurations. The laminar wing sized and clean for cruise. The swing wing to do the dirty work. The reduced overall span will assist at airports.

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