First Report: Aeroexpo
… but it did rather cut into visitor numbers on the first day of ‘the UK’S Festival of Aviation’.
Rain might not have stopped play, but it cut into visitor numbers
Aeroexpo’s organisers must be wondering what more they have to do to appease the weather gods, grey skies and heavy rain blighting the first day of Britain’s premium general aviation show−an event that has suffered in the past from poor weather conditions. However, the sun was forecast to break through on the second and third days, and until it did at least they had four large, dry hangars available for the exhibition. They had also contrived a covered dining area−an innovation for 2019.
We at Pilot hedged our bets with an outdoor trailer and an indoor stand, conveniently sited close to that dining area, which made it a great meeting point with readers who had braved the elements.
Day One’s rain was particularly hard on the open-cockpit crowd, prominently represented at Booker (okay, Wycombe Air Park, if you really must insist) by Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG’S all-metal F-13, which is not just an exact replica of the 1919 original – a commercial transport aircraft and workhorse that was the DC-3 of its day – but is back in production a century later. The company also is the European agent for the FAA- and EASAcertified WACO YMF-5 biplane,
an example of which was parked alongside. A ‘continuation’− we think that is the word−of the storied 1930s design, the YMF-5 is now built in Battle Creek, Michigan using, they say, ‘ultramodern materials and production processes’. YMF-5S can be had with equally modern avionics and−since last year−amphibious floats. Hell, maybe Junkers should have brought that version to Wycombe.
Coming bang up to date with something that is both new and a 21st Century design, Sonaca brought along Blackbushe Aviation’s 200 Trainer (the one with the round dials – see p.24 for our flight test of the even newer glasscockpit version). Not so obviously a new model, Lambert Aviation had on display their M108 Taildragger, available for demonstration flights now its Permit has been issued.
Designer Filip Lambert was on hand to explain how the company has beefed up the M108 to allow a long-awaited increase in maximum all-up weight to 660kg, which will give prospective builderowners more flexibility in adding instrument and avionics options etc that would otherwise cut into the useful load.
One aircraft that was clearly carrying a ‘useful load’ was the rather predatory looking BrittenNorman Defender 4000, present for the nascent ‘Multi-mission Expo’−a new event running concurrently with Aeroexpo. B-N says the Defender’s prime roles include military intelligence, counter-terrorism, surveillance, reconnaissance, maritime patrol and ‘special missions’. (We will be running a special report on the company and its Islander manufacturing, refurbishment and leasing operations at Lee-on-solent in the August edition of Pilot.)
By the time you read these words we will have been able to attend some of the many interesting seminars running throughout the three days and sampled 2019’s other Aeroexpo innovation, the ‘Pilot’s Departure Lounge’. A dedicated marquee for visiting pilots sponsored by Garmin, Bose and Pooley’s Flight Equipment, it was unfortunately less than busy on the one day we were able to visit before we went to press. Look out for a follow-up report in the August issue.
The indoor dining area was a welcome innovation for 2019, and it was...
Wycombe is Piper and Robinson agent BEA'S base, and they set out a fine hangar display
ABOVE: looking glamorous and shrugging off the rain on the first day, TBM and Pilatus turboprops
... just down the hangar from Pilot's indoor stand, where tempting subscription offers beckoned
A new face in GA, the attractive Sonaca 200 Trainer. This is customer Blackbushe Aviation’s example, soon to join their training fleet
The aggressive-looking Britten-norman Defender 4000 lurks in a corner, its ‘eye’ rolled up (presumably protecting it from the rain)
ABOVE: with cockpits covered until the weather eased, WACO YMF-5 and Junkers F-13 blasts from... well, the present day, as both continue in production!