At this year's Paris Air Show, held June 15-21, historic and cutting edge aircraft are on display and in flight. Held on odd-numbered years at Le Bourget Airport outside Paris, the show not only showcases military and civilian aircraft, but with major corporations and numerous countries in attendance, it also provides the perfect backdrop for announcements of major contractual agreements.
With a rough year for aircraft manufacturers, it may be a breath of fresh air to see numerous classic aircraft on display, models from the industry’s boom times. All aircraft descriptions are courtesy of the Paris Air Show press documents.
Here are some highlights of what will be in flight and on display at this year’s Paris Air Show!
By Paul Toscano
Posted 16 June 2009
Category: Multirole Combat Aircraft
Designed and initially produced by McDonnell Douglas, the Super Hornet first flew in 1995. Full-rate production began in September 1997, after the merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the previous month.
The Super Hornet entered service with the US Navy in 1999, replacing the F-14 Tomcat since 2006, and serves alongside the original Hornet. In 2007, the Royal Australian Air Force ordered Super Hornets to replace its aging F-111 fleet. Assembly of the first of 24 RAAF's Super Hornets began in December in St. Louis, Mo.
Category: Tri-engine Business Jet
The tri-jet Falcon 7X is the latest aircraft in the Falcon range. Certified in 2007, 230 aircraft have been ordered so far. The aircraft has a cruise speed of Mach 0.9 and offers a range of 11,000 km, or nearly 6,000 nautical miles.
The Falcon 7X has short take-off and landing capabilities from short runways, and was certified this year to operate from London City Airport. The Falcon's low operating costs, including fuel consumption 30 percent less than its main competitors, increases its appeal.
Manufacturer: NH Industries
Category: Medium Size Naval Helicopter
Country: France, Italy, Germany, Others
The naval version of the NH90 marks the first time NH Industries has presented at the Paris Air Show. The new generation helicopter, produced by Eurocopter, Agusta-Westland and Stork-Fokker, is a unique integrated naval weapon system able to operate from frigates and perform anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship warfare operations autonomously in conjunction with the parent ship.
The NH90 TTH, the tactical transport version, is already in service in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Australia and Finland. The NH90 helicopter program is the largest ever launched in Europe, with firm orders now reaching 529 units for 19 armed forces of 14 nations.
Category: WW2 Fighter-Bomber
The Boeing B17 is one of the best-known bombers of World War II. There were 12,731 built between 1935 and 1945. Half were destroyed during the war, and those that survived ended their days in the famous Arizona airplane graveyards, later to be cut up for scrap.
Only about 30 still exist, only of which 15 are in flying condition.
Category: Advanced Trainer
The M-346 is the world's only new generation, dedicated advanced/lead-in fighter trainer. It is designed to the latest "design-to-cost" and "design-to-maintain" concepts, with avionics modeled on those of the Eurofighter, F-35, Rafale and other fifth-generation combat aircraft. The M-346 uses non-conventional features and advanced technologies.
Category: Multirole advanced combat aircraft
Country: UK, Italy, Germany, Spain
This model was developed by Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. to fulfill air force requirements for a new generation of combat aircraft. The Eurofighter Typhoon is the world's most capable and dynamic swing-role combat aircraft, designed to address and defeat emerging threats and maintain a clear level of superiority for at least the next 30 years.
The two aircraft on display this year are production aircraft from the Italian Air Force inventory. So far, the aircraft has been ordered by six countries: Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Austria and Saudi Arabia.
Manufacturer: Airbus Industries
Category: Long range high density airliner
Country: European Consortium
The Airbus A380 is a long-distance airliner built by Airbus Industries and assembled in Toulouse, France. In order to use the installations of existing airports, the A380 had to remain within 80 square meters -- dimensions could not exceed 80m length and 80m wingspan. The basic configuration will accommodate 555 passengers. Airbus Industries received 206 firm orders and 35 options for its A380, according to documents from the Paris Air Show.
Manufacturer: Potez Air Fouga
Category: Training Two-Seater
The Fouga Magister was designed in the early 1950s in response to a request from the French Air Force, which was looking to replace the Morane 475 Vanneau. Two prototypes were made: the first one had a "V" tail, and the second with a classic tail. Despite the crash of the V-tailed prototype, this aerodynamic device was retained for the production models.
Production started in 1953, when the French Air Force ordered 5 pre-production and 95 production aircraft. With its harmonious lines, the Fouga Magister was adopted by many aerobatic teams, like the Belgian Red Devils or the Patrouille de France, which flew it for 16 years.
Manufacturer: North American
The most produced Western combat aircraft of the post-war era, the Sabre was the first swept-wing fighter to enter production and service with the US Air Force, its design benefiting from captured German data. Sabres flew with 150 USAF first-line squadrons and 57 Air National Guard units between 1948 and 1970. The first Sabres were deployed to Korea to counter the MiG 15.
Category: Long range prop-liner
One of the most iconic civilian airlines flown by the world's largest airlines is the Lockheed Constellation. The project of Constellation dates to 1939 when Howard Hughes and Jack Frye asked the research department of Lockheed to develop a big four-engine commercial transport dedicated to the US transcontinental routes. During wartime, the aircraft were requisitioned to perform troop transportation.
Lockheed invested heavily to produce the bigger Model L1049 Super-Constellation. The Super Constellation could transport 89 passengers. Lockheed succeeded with the first west-to-east Trans-Atlantic flight without stopover with the Super-G Constellation in December 1954. A total of 856 Constellation were built, from the first C-69 to the L-1649 Starliner.
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multi-role jet fighter aircraft developed by General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin in the United States. The US Air Force over the years has received 2,231 F-16s, the last one delivered in March 2005.
It is also produced under license by countries including Turkey, Israel and South Korea. The F-16 is scheduled to remain in service with the U.S. Air Force until 2025.
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin
Category: Military Cargo
The Lockheed-Martin C-130J is a comprehensive update of the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history.
During more than 50 years of service, the family has participated in military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. The C-130J is the newest version of the Hercules and the only model still in production. A total of 186 C-130J and C-130J-30 aircraft have been ordered and more than 150 delivered so far. The United Arab Emirates Air Force announced an order for twelve C-130J transport aircraft in 2009.
Category: Reconnaissance and bomber biplane (WW1)
The Breguet 14 was designed by Louis Breguet, who was at the controls of the prototype on Nov. 21, 1916 for its first flight. A few weeks later, the Section Technique de l'Aéronautique from the French army launched a competition for four new aircraft types.
Breguet presented his new prototype for two of these categories: reconnaissance aircraft and bomber. Following evaluation, the Breguet 14 was accepted for these two roles, and orders were placed for 150 reconnaissance aircraft and 100 bombers, designated Breguet 14 A2 and Breguet 14 B2. A total of 7,800 were built before production ceased in 1928.
Category: Dive Bomber
The A-1 was designed to meet World War II requirements for a carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high-performance dive/torpedo bomber. Designed by Ed Heinemann of the Douglas Aircraft Company, the Skyraider was ordered in 6 July 1944 as the XBT2D-1. The prototype made its first flight on March 18, 1945. These gave the aircraft excellent low-speed maneuverability, and enabled it to carry a tremendous amount of ordnance.
After the war, many of the remaining aircraft passed along to the governments Chad, Cambodia and the Central African Republic.