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Posted on Oct 22, 2004 in Stuff We Like

Farnborough International 2004

Armchair General

The same plane climbing to the stars.


Here’s an Italian Tornado – I think this was an FR3 variant – i.e. a Fighter, not a ground attack model.


This is a C-130 “Hercules” transport plane coming in for it’s first landing. That’s right, I said first landing, because, having stopped and disgorged some vehicles from the cargo bay, the plane actually reversed part-way up the runway and then took off again in an incredibly short distance – demonstrating the operational flexibility of these planes. This kind of manoeuvre would be useful for fast take-offs in hostile zones where altitude needs to be gained as quickly as possible to avoid attack from the ground.



Next up, a Supermarine Spitfire which was flying with a P-51 Mustang (not pictured). These planes were in the air to celebrate the Rolls-Royce centenary.


And some more planes powered with Rolls-Royce engines, a Lockheed Tristar and Vickers VC-10, both used for airborne refuelling and both with their probes trailing behind them.

Tristar & VC-10

Another airliner and some more Rolls-Royce engines, four of them this time aboard this South African Airways Boeing 747-400.


More Rolls-Royce expertise, demonstrated in the form of the engine mounted aboard this Harrier Jump-Jet.


The Harrier is capable of vertical take-off and landing, and here we see the plane in full hover mode, exhaust gases trailing downwards. A standard feature of any Harrier display is when the pilot “bows” the nose of the plane toward the audience. This is a truly incredible sight to behold, and as the plane sat there in mid-air with the engine howling, I can honestly say that I have NEVER before seen such an awesome display of pure, raw (controlled) power.


The last two pictures show another Spitfire – a Mark XIX, complete with D-Day invasion stripes on the wings.



The flying planes depicted here are just a sample of what was in the air over that hot weekend – and if you are a plane buff, or enjoy militaria of any kind, I cannot impress enough how much of an enjoyable day you will have if you can manage to go to an Airshow like this one. Wherever you are in the world, keep an eye out for the next one in 2006 and if you can find an excuse to go – then do it, you will not be disappointed.

To view the complete set of images from my visit, go to the ACG image gallery here.


Andrew Summersgill

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