Farnborough Air Show in the archives

I’ve enlisted the help of the Farnborough International air show section of its site to help identify the big hitting aircraft that have wowed the crowds over the years. With such information at my fingertips, I scuttled away to dig around in the Flightglobal’s archive to see what coverage, at the time, was available. This is what I found:

1948: Airshow moves to Farnborough site. Flight wrote: “the adoption of the new venue — which imposes fewer traffic restrictions than Radlett and, more important, allows the long-proposed admittance of the public — should swell the Exchequer by promoting export sales, benefit British prestige and stimulate public morale.”

1949 The De Havilland Comet 1 (the world’s first jet airliner) makes its debut – here’s a feature “The Comet emerges”, published around Farnborough time

1950 The Bristol Brabazon I flew – Flight kept readers up to date with the goings on at Farnborough despite a printing strike 

1951 Hawker P.1067 gave the fastest speed demonstration then seen in public – Flight published “Farnborough: the opening phases 

1952 First appearance of the Avro Vulcan B.1 – Farnborough report 

1956 The Yellowjacks – the forerunners of the Red Arrows displayed: The 17th SBAC dispay 

1966 The first year of European aircraft participation, and first year of the Red Arrows -  

1968 20-aircraft fly-past to form a 50 to celebrate the RAF’s 50th anniversary – The 26th SBAC show 

1970 Concorde made its triumphant debut during the flying display – Flight wrote that the 1970 show will be memorable for the appearance of Concorde 

1974 First ever fully international display at Farnborough; arrival of USAF Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird which broke the New York to London speed record en route to FarnboroughFlight headline: First Report Farnborough 1974

1976 – Flight celebrates the SBAC show – Show decades

1978 Airshow renamed Farnborough International; specially built ski-jump enabled Harrier T.52 to launch itself to demonstrate STOL capability – Flight wrote about a Boeing and Rolls-Royce coup 

1980 Red Arrows perform with their new Hawk T.1s; Mirage 2000, Super Mirage 4000 and Tornado prototype of F.2 variant all displayed –

Flight took 10 men to report on the show. That must have seemed like a lot at the time. But now there are many more, especially as we have the web audience to consider and of course the interactive daily. See our 2010 show page and watch Farnborough news unfold as it happens 

1984 World’s largest helicopter a Mil Mi-26 Halo flew – The air show conundrum 

1988 Russian fighters in the form of two Fulcrums MiG-29A 10 and MiG-29UB 53 came to the show – Flight’s show report 

1990 Russian Airforce wowed the crowd with tail-slide and cobra manoeuvres; the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya displayed – Flight’s Farnborough retrospective 

1996 Flypast by USAF B-2A Spirit – Flight was excited about the Global Express debut 

1998 50th year of the airshow at Farnborough; feature of aircraft and jet types from the 1950s and 1960s; two British Airways Concordes visited – Flight liked the Bombardier Q400 

2000 de Havilland formation flypast – Headlining – the Aermacchie M346  

2002 Formation flight of four Eurofighter typhoons; handing over to Virgin Atlantic of ultra-long version of Airbus A340

2004 First ever landing at Farnborough of 747s and display by South African and Cathay Pacific 747s – Flight counts down for take off as the A380 emerges 

2006 UK debut of Airbus A380 – Flight headline: The race to rewire the A380 


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