I have to admit that I was in two minds about whether to attend this year’s Farnborough Air Show. As I live all of 10 minutes from the airfield you would think that it would be a no brainer but there were a couple of issues which I was finding it hard to get past. These were the fact that the 2012 show had been very disappointing and the enormity of the ticket price.
The 2012 Event
The last show was a bit of a sad affair. The flying display just never seemed to get going and lacked the big highlights that you expect from a world class event. A couple of the most anticipated flights never happened because of technical failures and one of the planes which did not get off the ground was the Vulcan which really took the shine off things for me.
High Ticket Price
Despite the £45 ticket price which I though was outrageous, I decided to give the show another chance as this year’s display promised to be a major improvement. The ticket price does include parking close to the airfield and a courtesy bus which softened the blow and I have to say that I had a great day.
On the Ground
The static display was truly striking and there was so much to see that it would have been impossible to enjoy everything in a single day. As my budget wasn’t going to extend to another £45 I was forced to prioritise certain exhibits. I decided that I couldn’t miss boarding the A380 Airbus which was eye wateringly enormous and I was thrilled to get the chance to sit in the cockpit of a Eurofighter Typhoon. After a whirlwind tour of the rest of the aircraft it was time to take my place for the main event – the flying display.
Actually when I say take my place I should mention that I had already claimed my spot. On arrival at the show I placed my chairs and cooler bag in a great position at the front of the viewing area and then went off to enjoy the attractions. You aren’t really supposed to leave your things unattended for security reasons but I would recommend that you grab a pitch and tell someone close by what you are doing otherwise you will miss a great opportunity to get close to the action with an unobstructed view.
In the Air
The display was a massive improvement on the previous effort and held my attention for the entire 5 hours. The highlights were the A380, the Vulcan, an aerobatic display, the return of the Harrier and, of course, the magnificent Red Arrows. The show featured an excellent mix of civil and military aircraft, historic and contemporary machines. There was plenty of noise and excitement, a few trips down memory lane and enough surprises to keep me smiling all day.
The Farnborough Air Show is certainly well worth a visit but if you are planning to make a visit in two years’ time for the next event then here are a few tips. Expect high prices for everything but these can be mitigated by ordering tickets well in advance when discounts are available and taking your own food and drink. Claim your viewing spot early for the aerial display and check out what’s on offer on the ground before you go so you can decide which exhibits cannot be missed and which must be overlooked if you run out of time. Examine the weather forecast to see if you need to take your knitwear, your raincoat or your sunscreen and don’t forget you camera!
Article by Sally Stacey