I first visited the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) back in 1998 for the 50th Anniversary of the show. That was the year that the general public first got to see the Eurofighter Typhoon fly up close. I remember seeing the crowd pleasing display as the Eurofighter—which benefits from Abaco’s technology—shot off the runway straight into the sky with a mighty roar as it passed overhead. It was also the year Airbus announced the A380, and there was a huge cross section of the hull standing 24 meters tall showing both decks of the fuselage.
Both of these aircraft have been in service now for many years. The A380 is operated by 13 airlines and flights all around the world on a daily basis are a common sight at international airports. The Eurofighter Typhoon is also in service in eight countries, performing in theatre in armed conflicts in Libya, Iraq and Syria.
As the FIA approaches its 70th anniversary in 2018, companies flock to Farnborough to close deals and conduct business. It is estimated that the avionics industry is worth £55bn a year to the UK economy alone and represents one of our largest industry sectors. FIA has a global reach drawing in exhibitors and visitors from all around the world.
It was a stormy start to this year’s show, with the displays being cancelled shortly after lunch and the torrents of rain flooding the main event halls forcing organizers to switch off the power and put an early end to the show on the first day. Organizers will be working vigilantly through the night to be ready for day two.
There was another birthday being celebrated at the show this year with the 100th anniversary of Boeing who are showing their new 737 MAX and the 787-9 Dreamliner passenger airliners. Military aircraft were also on display with the F/A-18 and its P-8A.
Airbus were also present with the A380, A400M and the new A350 XWB (extra-wide bodied). Many of the A380 parts are built and assembled in the UK including the wings. Airbus were one of the last to get their aircraft up and flying before the heavens opened up and put an early end to the show.
Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters, the Air Force's F-35A and the Marine Corps' F-35B having recently arrived in the UK also made an appearance today and were one of the main attractions at the show.
Abaco Systems has a long history in avionics, going back 30 years on both commercial and military aircraft, and is involved in many of these programs either as a contract manufacturer for bespoke flight computers on the Typhoon or providing AFDX test and simulation equipment to providers of avionics subsystems such as those on the commercial A380. Our DAQMAG2A rugged display computer, which is qualified to DO-160G, can be found on the Leonardo-built AW189 search and rescue helicopter being demonstrated at today’s show.
The aircraft on display have come a long way since my first visit back in the late 90s. Concepts are now reality and it’s clear that the industry as a whole is flourishing here in the UK and throughout Europe. Abaco Systems continues to innovate both in the UK and the US to push forward the limits of technology with our broad range of avionics products based on 1553, AFDX and other ARINC standards as well as on hardware and software mission-ready flight certifiable platforms.
One thing’s for sure: It’s been a very busy, very informative and somewhat wet first day at the show.