2005 Edition





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Dreamland  London!

Stuff of Dreams
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The first "Air Show" of the year on our schedule was FLY! The London Air Show. This was a new event last year and this year saw considerable growth in terms of the show's popularity and size. Held as Earl's Court this isn't the Air Show that we are all used to but it retains the aims of any air show - to promoting flying of all kinds whther it be hang gliding, autogyros, general aviation right through to a military and commercial career. As such, you could describe the show as Dreamland as it helps people to furfill their aviation dreams. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All Photography copyright Author.

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The London Air Show is very different to other airshow in many respects. In airshow terms in lies somewhere between Farnborough and the PFA Rally. Of course, you would expect there to be no flying demonstrations as the event is entirely indoors. Well, that is if you ignore the radio controlled models. New for 2005 was the inclusion of a large display by the British Model Flying Association which demonstrated a number of indoor models and helicopters in easy reach of the public's wallet! This certainly has the potential to be a great attraction of the flying arena would be allowed to expand closer to the size seen at the Modeling exhibitions seen at Olympia.

For the armchair aviator, there was a large area of exhibition space devoted to flight simulation. New for 2005 was the Breitling Fighter Challenge. This was infact highly similar to that seen at the Royal International Air Tattoo in 1997, except it was for the general public and not the pilots! Using a well known home simulation package the challenge pitting two members of the public against each other in F-15s after some tuition from experts - it was certainly very popular. There was also a large Microsoft Flight Simulator village and the British Airways simulator crewed by none other that airshow commentator Stratton Richey!

Another regular at many of the warbird orientated airshows over the last year has been the "Merlins Over Malta" campaign to take a Spitfire and Hurricane out to Malta in September to commemorate the defence of Malta by the RAF. Merlins Over Malta had a large stand at this show with the replica Spitfire and re-enactors in period dress from the Malta Campaign to highlight to campaign along with the competition to win a special edition Jaguar.

One of the unique aspects of Fly! are the seminars. The seminars cover a wide range of topics from careers, to specialist lectures of handling light aircraft, hangliding and how to simply get in to aviation. Perhaps one of the most popular seminars was that given by Les Brodie, one of the last Concorde pilots. Les started his career as a BT engineer in Bromley before learning to fly light aircraft before a turbulent career in the airliners world before ending up as a training manager on the Concorde.

Of course, much of the show is taken up with a large trade area with stands from airfield, equipment manufactures, pilot shops and aircraft manufacturers and distributors and even the Royal Navy. Several aircraft types were infact making their debuts at the show such as the Cessna 172SP, Lancair Columbia and YLAC Dynamic. Another highlight was Supermarine Spitfire Mk26, a light aircraft faithful to the original second world war fighter for those that can't afford the real thing!

As well as the light civilian aircraft a number of helicopters were on show including a number of MD Helicopters types and Enstroms. Standing out from the pack was the Royal Navy's Westland Lynx HMA8 as the only military type. It was a great shame not to see similar efforts by the Army Air Corps or Royal Air Force. Another stand out display was that of the Wallis Autogyros. Ken Wallis himself was there on the stand with his remarkable collection of types that including the famous "Little Nellie" as used in the 007 James Bond film "You only Live Twice."

If you have even the slightest dream of learning to fly or having a career in aviation, we can thoroughly recommend the The London Air Show as it provides many things the large air displays can't such as the seminars.

 copyright Flightline UK 2005