A stroll across Aero India 2011

Aero India is over. Can’t quite believe it as I’ve been preoccupied with researching and writing features for this major show since I joined FlightGlobal in October. In this video I walk from the chalet row to the Flight Daily News office clear on the other side of the show. While the video is not exactly of the highest quality, I hope that it gives some idea of the scope and atmosphere of this impressive aerospace bazaar.

The plane spotting, to say the very least, was phenomenal. Over five days we were treated to the F-16, F-18, Rafale, Eurofighter, Tejas, Su-30, and Gripen. Most of these were at Aero India only because of the MMRCA competition. After the short list emerges later this year the next Aero India 2013 is unlikely to have so much kit flying around. Fighter makers don’t spend all that money for fun – though I wish they would.

 Who will win it? Everyone at the show kept asking me. I kept asking everyone as well. Can’t think of something to talk about at Aero India? Well, ask about the MMRCA. Everyone had a different opinion, especially the airframers who pushed their aircraft shamelessly. One PR guy touted his aircraft very hard, as if I were responsible for single-handedly making the MMRCA decision. “You got the sale!” I was tempted to cry.

Anyway, I’m gearing up for Avalon in two weeks. To close on Aero India, a few choice snippets from my days there:

European PR person
: ‘The American planes are obsolete, designed in the seventies. The F-16 may have performed well in Vietnam, but this is a new era.”

(Give me a break: the Super Hornet was designed in the nineties, and the F-16 Block 60 has little in common with the old F-16A, which came well after the war in Vietnam. Ever heard of the F-4 Phantom, dude?).

Indian journalist at UK defence presser, asking the first question:
“India cancelled the Airbus tanker a few years ago because of overpricing. Isn’t overpricing also the case with the Eurofighter?”

(The commander of the British air force parried by telling her she needed to consider lifecycle costs, but the head of Eurofighter (in the audience) looked more than a touch annoyed at the question.)

Chinese journalist in Defence Minister briefing
: “You say that you are friends with China, but why was the Chinese Ambassador only invited to Aero India yesterday? Also, why did it take long for me to get my media pass?”(The defence minister did not answer the ambassador question, but ordered his PR head to sort out the passes, much to the amusement of the gathered media.)

“What do you think of China’s J-20?”

Famous fighter aircraft designer: “The media are reporting it is stealthy, but it does not have any real stealth characteristics, and we don’t have any idea what it’s made of. It’s crazy.”

Saab spokeswoman:
“We’re hosting a flight for journalists in the Saab 2000 at noon. Would you like to tag along?”

Me: “Sounds great, but there is another Saab aircraft I’d prefer to try out. Hmmm, let me think, I believe its starts with a ‘G.’”

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