First Re­port: Aeroexpo

… but it did rather cut into vis­i­tor num­bers on the first day of ‘the UK’S Fes­ti­val of Aviation’.

Pilot - - CONTENTS - Words & pho­tos: Philip White­man

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!

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