Farnborough Flying Display
THE weather, poor for the first three days of the S.B.A.C. Display, relented on the Thursday, which was only right and
proper, because this was the tooth flying programme since the 1932 S.B.A.C. display at Hendon which pioneered this important event. At that initial show 34 aircraft took part, before fewer than r,000 guests. C. G. Grey of The Aeroplane commented Lvourably and the Show has been staged annually ever since, the war apart, from 1932-35 at Hendon, in 1936 and 1937 at Hatfield, at Radlett in 1946 and 1947, at Farnborough since 1948. Over zio,000 people attend it and this year the Exhibition building was rebuilt to an area of 130,400 .sq. ft., the largest tented area to house an aeronautical show. The show in the air, as we saw it, went as follows : The Press enclosure was quite crowded; the rules stated expressly that
ladies could not be admitted other than those personally engaged in senior executive appointments in aviation or accredited journalists “—we were astonished how many ladies hold senior executive positions in aviation, and some of them so !Riling! We noticed, too, that photographers were allowed far closer to Me performing machinery than is customary at motor rates and marvelled at the number who relied on simple vest-pocket cameras—perhaps when you are faced with aircraft capable of 1,300 m.p.h. it really doesn’t matter.
First off was a Scimitar, which left to find and photograph the President’s tent, us, and H.M.S. Hermes at sea, returning 40 minutes later with this task accomplished—an impressive pieee of publicity for the Royal Navy. The Army then showed how the airfield could be captured, using Hunters of 54 Squadron, their own Beverleys, and supporting .aircraft, from which 130 troops and five vehicles were put On the ground, at a rate equal to landing 4,000 troops an hour. There were gun blasts and fire and smoke but Farnborough is vast and it used to be much more exciting at Hendon. However, the S.B.A.C. Display exists. to instruct and impress rather than to excite.
An Olympus Vulcan Bz bomber flew over, then the versatile Argosy troop carrier, and as the graceful Comet 4C too-seater flew by the DAL Gyron Junior supersonic flying test-bed went up in a climbing turn promoted by its 14,000 lb. thrust mit re-heat, foretaste of what was to follow. Rumblelow dived, climbed and rolled the jet Provost Mk. IV, came out of his ceiling in a series of spins and turned quietly, smoothly in to land.
Next we had Westland’S traditional helicopter demonstration, packing much into a short space of sky and time. The Rotodyne fired broadside guns like some ancient galleon and landed soldiers down ropes, as a change from taking the London-Paris-London helicopter record at around 126 m.p.h. Slim Sear packed in an Aidiso demonstration, towed a train of heavy vehicles at 15 m.p.h. and did aerobatics in the Wessex,. the Whirlwind planted a small truck on a transporter and the skeleton Scout 5/6-seater did tricks of its own.
Not to be outdone by civilians, the Army put on an aerial ballet with lots of Skeeters, which approached in cloverleaf (or as the Americans say, a barn dance) formation from both ends of the field. During the subsequent antics the commentator was heard to say ” If yOU touch me there I shall scream ” as one Skeeter closed in on another…. TheSe funny animals are about to be replaced by gas-turbine Scouts.
A vory effective demonstration was the delayed parachute drop by Army parachutists from Austere at 5,003 feet. They fell free for 15-20 seconds at some too m.p.h. against the blue of the sky, and four out of the five landed close to the marker flare in spite of a tricky cross wind. The fifth landed outside the airfield.
Perhaps the lowest fly-past of the day was by the Hawker Hunter, which rolled out of it to vanish into the blue. Smoke rolled With it along the runway and, unlike Allard, the pilot streamed his tail ‘chute, on landing.
A Company not even in existence last year then made our mouths water with a display of four line aeroplanes—BiagiAusters. The entirely new 11206 has twin R.-R. -Contimint I engines, seats five, or seven if you don’t need a toilet, does zoo knots, lands at 50 knots, and is fully equipped to airway standard;. The 2t3-seater Terrier stalls at a mere 13 m.p.h. and sells Iiir Under £2,000, while the Airedale, priced at a basic of r,4,750, is a 4-seater tricycle undereart touring aeroplane with front…;:nd rear doors and other cur-like amenities. The Auster Eleven showed it could turn slowly; it has one 260-11.p. R.-R. Continental engine.
Two Folland Gnats took off side by side and demonstrated very rapid rolls, and the stately Avro 748., the first production version, of Skyways of London, went by with one prop. feathered. A couple of dozen of these airliners have been ordered. Hazledon showed off the H.P. Herald of Maratime Central Airways; B.E.A. expect their Heralds next year. The R.-R. Darts tam 3,300 hours between overhauls.
goo Squadron gave their tremendous acrobatic show in Scimitars, the Blackburn Buccaneer, strongly built to operate in low-level turbulent air, opened its weapon door, and the crescentwing H.P. Victor bomber roared its four R.-R. Conwavs right over the Press tent.
Much noise announced vertical take off and descent of the Short S.C.I., which gyrated as well as any helicopter, using four engines to get off, one to fly past., these having an 8 or 9-to-i thrust/run ratio. The Navy showed Elect Air Arm Vixens flight-refuelling and aerobatics with Scimitars, including a loop at 7,000 feet for the bomb burst descent. These -aircraft of 890 and804 Squadrons then flew back to their .ship. Four Gannets, which early morning radar had rendered pregnant, flew over with one turbo-prop. stationary.
The H.P.Ii5 with its Bristol-Sickleley Viper engine at the rear, a fixed undercart low speed research delta aircraft (low speed means 300 m.p.h.), depicted its sweep back of approximately 75′ for a 20-ft. span, in the hands of S/Ldr. Henderson. Four Mk. HI Jet Provosts from the C.F.S. did neat aerobatics but maybe the Lightning stole the Show, for the re-heat of its two R.-R. Avons was used very effectively to promote oversteer on the turns and it flew past at some 700 m.p.h., Obligingly not breaking the control tower windows this year.
The R.A.F. Abingdon free-fall parachute team disliked the wind—they drop at some 120 m.p.h.—and we got wind-up about traffic congestion and went in search of the Rover. A tine Show, in which the only non-starter was an Army parachutist who failed to leave his Auster.—W. 13.