Andy Douse

Each day when the flying display aircraft take to the sky above Farnborough, thousands of people will be tilting back their heads to admire the show.

But there¹s a 10-strong team who are watching what the pilots are doing for very different reasons.

They are all members of the Flying Control Committee, who are here to make sure the display is safe and that the pilots break neither the rules nor the limitations of their aircraft.

The committee consists of chief test pilots from aerospace companies in the UK. Deputy chairman Colin Hague says: "We want the pilots to give a great display, but we want them to do it in a manner that is totally safe and within the rules that we have here."

Before getting the go-ahead to fly at Farnborough, the pilots have to pass a validation test, to prove that they understand the rules, and that the aircraft can perform the manoeuvres safely.

"The aircraft can be withdrawn from the display if we are not entirely happy with the validation, although this is very rare."

So briefly, what do some of the pilots have to say about Farnborough 2000? Bland Smith, who's going to be at the controls of the Lockheed Martin F-16 says: "I'm flying the Block 50 F-16, which is on lease from the USAF. My aim is to demonstrate the aircraft's agility and combat sustained manoeuvrability."

Chris Worming, project pilot for the Eurofighter, says: "I'll be flying the DA1 first prototype. It's a lot heavier than the production aircraft because there's more than a tonne of flight test equipment inside it."

Marco Feller, one of the three Alenia AMX pilots says: "In particular we want to show how our aircraft can provide close air support."

Source: Flight Daily News