For all its irritating faults and for all the new competition it faces, Farnborough remains one of the world's big two air shows: an event that is able to attract a high level of decision-makers - suppliers and end-users - from every sector of the aerospace industry.
The snail-like pace of major programme development may mean it does not have the sheer excitement and glamour of the past, when the show presented visitors with an opportunity to glimpse for the first time a new (mostly British-built) aircraft on the ground and, spectacularly, in the air. But as a forum for doing business and a stage for the industry's heavyweights to talk to the world, Farnborough, together with its Parisian counterpart in odd years, is unrivalled.
Like all partly outdoor air shows, the weather is a major determinant of how successful every Farnborough is deemed to have been. While you can guarantee the sun in Dubai and the humidity in Singapore, the climate in an English July is a lottery. Two years ago, the south of the UK sizzled in unseasonal temperatures, straining the air conditioning in the chalets and halls. In other years, torrential downpours have made a fine art of dodging between buildings and a quagmire of the grassy areas.
This air show is celebrating its 60th birthday and with appearances by the likes of the Spitfire and the Douglas DC-6 the flying display promises to be a feast for lovers of all things nostalgic - but a disappointment for anyone hoping to see something of the industry's future.
The Lockheed Martin F-22 will make its Farnborough debut in a blink-and-miss-it flypast fresh from its appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo. Other newish aircraft include the Airbus A380, Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and M-311, Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor and the Eurofighter Typhoon. But with all these aircraft having been seen in public before, there is little to set the pulses racing.
Instead, it will be inside the chalets and press conference rooms where most attention will be focused. With a number of big-ticket programmes at a crucial stage, all ears will be on chief executives and programme managers and what they reveal about the development of their aircraft and systems.
Dates And Opening Times
The show runs from Monday 14 July to Sunday 20 July. It opens on Monday 14 10:00 to 14:00 and from Tuesday 15 to Friday 18 July from 09:30 until 17:30. Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 are open to the public.
Entry to the site for exhibitors is by exhibitor's pass issued via the Farnborough 2008 website (http://www.farnborough.com).
Getting There By Air
Exhibitors and visitors can fly to and from the site either by helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft during exhibition week. Arrangements must be made with TAG Farnborough Airport - Tel: +44 (0) 1252 379000, www.tagaviation.com - for fixed-wing aircraft. TAG may accept fixed-wing arrivals from 07:00 to 13:15 and 17:10 to 2200 each trade day and from 07:00 to 11:45 and 17:45 to 22:00 on public days
The heliport will be operated by Elite Helicopters & Aviation Services. Elite will be operating a helicopter charter service from airports, hotels and Battersea Heliport in central London direct to Farnborough. Tel: +44 (0) 1243 530165, Fax: +44 (0) 1243 539921. email: email@example.com. Website: www.elitehelicopters.co.uk
Farnborough air show is within easy reach of four stations - Farnborough Main, Farnborough North, North Camp and Aldershot. A free shuttle bus service will run from Farnborough main, Aldershot and North Camp stations to the exhibition. Farnborough Main is within 20-30min walking distance of Farnborough North station.
Disabled passengers or those with pushchairs are advised to travel via North Camp, where there is ramped wheelchair access available to both platforms.
From Gatwick, there is a direct service to Farnborough North, which takes around 60min and runs at least once an hour. From Heathrow, you can catch a coach from Heathrow Central Bus Station direct to Woking (taking around 45min), where there is a fast service departing twice an hour for Farnborough Main, taking around 13min.
There are up to four trains an hour departing from London Waterloo, with journey times of around 50min. For further train times, fares and general rail information, call National Rail Enquiries on +44 (0) 8457 484950 or visit: www.firstgreatwesternlink.co.uk, www.nationalrail.co.uk or www.southwesttrains.co.uk.
The aerodrome is around 48km (30 miles) from central London and is on the A325. It is accessible from the A31, M3, M25 and A23 via junction 8 of the M25.
Farnborough Main, North Camp and Aldershot train stations are served by a shuttle bus service direct to the site. The shuttle buses, which run from Monday 14 to Friday 18, are free. The first departure from Aldershot railway station will be at 07.30, followed every 20 minutes, with a final departure from the air show site back to the station at 19.20.
The first departure from North Camp railway station (which has facilities for visitors with disabilities) will be at 07.30 and then every 20min, with a final departure from the air show site back to the station at 19.15.
The first departure from Farnborough Main station will be at 07.30, then every 20min, with a final departure from the air show site back to the station at 19.15.
London General operates a special coach service from London. Shuttle buses run from Heathrow airport and Victoria Coach Station. More details available from London General on +44 (0)20 8545 6110, or visit www.londongeneral.co.uk/farnborough
Attractions & Flying Display
The daily flying display takes place every day. It starts at around 12:30 on the public days and lasts for roughly four and a half hours. The Red Arrows will close the show on Sunday. The Art of Flight (stand AA1, Hall 4) showcases the latest work of leading modern aviation artist, David Bent. The new exhibition will feature original paintings and photo collages - including Bent's new series Plane Tessellations and internationally acclaimed Red Arrows Collection.
On-day trade tickets are £28 ($56) per adult (£23 advance). All tickets are available online at www.farnborough.com.
Tickets for public days on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 July are available for purchase online, or from the ticket hotline (0870 906 3859) Tickets cost £23 in advance or can be bought on the day for £28.
Children under 16 are admitted free with an accompanying ticket-holding adult, but will need a ticket if they want to view the airshow from the grandstand.