Farnborough air show commentator  Richey still gets a surge of excitement when he approaches the site and has no plans to hand in his microphone any time soon, despite this being his 35th year as the voice of Farnborough.

"I still get a tingle of excitement in my veins," says the British Airways Boeing 747 Captain, adding that he will continue to provide the commentary at Farnborough for "as long as I'm allowed to".

Richey has seen many changes to the show since he first picked up the microphone in the mid-1970s, but believes it is "still just as exciting" as it was when he started. This year, he is most looking forward to seeing the Boeing 787 and the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, with the Airbus A380 being "always good to see".

Stratton Richey
 © Billypix

Richey begins preparing for his role as Farnborough's commentator three to four months before the show starts, which is when the lists of aircraft that might be flying start to come in. "The list starts firming up the closer to the show we get, but the ghost list is fairly accurate," he says.

Six weeks before the show begins, emails go out to the companies and suppliers that are taking part in the flying displays to secure as much up-to-date information as possible for use in the commentary. On the Monday morning of show week, the commentary team meets with the exhibitors and suppliers once again to secure any last minute details. "What's unique about Farnborough is that they can change and update the information any time they like," says Richey, who follows the script as a "guideline" and throws in ad hoc comments as they come to him.

He describes one of his favourite Farnborough memories as being "sitting on the terrace with the sun going down, watching the Battle of Britain memorial flight coming in when the car parks are all empty. The rest is all go, go, go".

Aside from the commentary and his day job as a 747 Captain, Richey is the founding chairman of aviation charity High Flight, which provides flight training and associated activities to disabled children.

Source: Flight Daily News