Dubai Airshow 2007
*** (Please Note: Due to the large number of photographs, I have posted them as a slideshow to save space. Please place your cursor over the photo and click on the arrows to navigate) ***
Every now and then we hear about the Farnborough Air show (UK), the Paris Air Show (Le-Bourget), the Singapore Air Show, the ILA Berlin Airshow, Aero India and of course, the Dubai Airshow. What sets these air shows apart from your local air show is that, these air shows are trade exhibitions. The sole purpose of these exhibitions is to allow the aerospace companies to show off their existing products and introduce their new products to rest of the industry. In the process, the aerospace companies get to sell their products or at least get firms orders from potential buyers. Potential buyers can range from business men looking for a business jet, government looking for new military equipment, to airlines.
History of the Dubai Airshow
Dubai Airshow is a biennial show organised by F&E (Fairs and Exhibitions) and held in Dubai. It started in the 1986 as Arab Air – Middle East Air Transport and Airport Equipment Show (quite a mouthful, try saying this 10 times!) held at the Dubai World Trade Center Exhibition Halls. Being away from the airport, there were no flying displays and not much space for static displays either – if I remember right they had a few helicopters on display. Arab Air was successful and it encouraged the authorities to organise another show in 1989. In 1989, the show (now renamed as Dubai Airshow) moved from the Dubai World Trade Center Exhibition Halls to the western apron (today’s Cargo Village) of the Dubai International Airport (DXB). This move gave space for static displays and it attracted a lot more exhibitors and visitors. As for timing of the event, it was noted that Paris and Farnborough alternate each year, so the authorities chose to alternate the DXB airshow with the Singapore airshow. In 1999, The Airshow took place in a permanent facility that was specifically constructed for the airshow. This permanent facility is the Airport Expo Center where the Dubai Airshows have been held until 2013. In 2013, Dubai Airshow was held in Dubai World Central (DWC). The Skyview was introduced alongside the 2013 airshow, where families could enjoy the flying display on a dedicated seating area. The Dubai airshow has steadily grown over the years with increasing number of exhibitors, visitors and the number of order placed at the event.
(Source: The Info booklet handed out at the Dubai Airshow 2007)
Dubai Airshow 2007
My memories of the Dubai airshow go back to 1999. I remember my family taking me to a parking lot – today’s Airport free zone parking lot, to watch the flying display. It was a hot-spot, in fact a lot of people who came late or didn’t find a parking spot would pull over to the side of the road (near today’s airport tunnel) to watch the flying display. In 2003, I used to watch the flying display from the window in my classroom at school. In 2005, I saw the live telecast of the flying display on a local TV station. I always wanted to visit the Airshow and see the exhibition, and the static display along with the flying display. Well in 2007, I got to do just that. The 2007 Dubai Airshow celebrated its 10th edition and it took place between November 11 and November 15. My father, my friend and I mutually decided to go to the airshow on November 14th.
We arrived at the Airport Expo Center around 10AM. Being an event about aviation, we are asked to go through the security check (basically a metal detector). We then proceed to collect our visitor passes (the visitor passes are worn like ID cards) and then enter the exhibition hall. The exhibition hall is where the companies set up booths and directly interact with potential buyers. These companies show off their existing products and introduce new products via mock-ups. Each company have a few (usually 3-5) representatives who intereact with the visitors and ease the buying process for buyers. The first thing that catches your eye as you enter the exhibition hall is the Emirates (EK) booth – after all, Dubai Airshow won’t be complete without a booth for its own airline.
Let’s take a look at a few booths set up at the Dubai Airshow 2007
European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) is a multinational European company that designs, manufactures and markets civil and military airplanes, communication systems, helicopters, rockets, missiles and satellites. Companies that are part of EADS include Airbus, Eurofighter, ATR, Dassault aviation, Eurocopter to name a few. Today (in 2014), the company has been renamed as ‘Airbus group’ and it consists of three divisions – Airbus, Airbus Defense and Space, and Airbus helicopters. At the 2007 airshow, EADS showed off the prototye of the A380, the concept for Airbus A350XWB, a mock-up of the interior in the Airbus Corporate Jet, helicopters manufactured by Eurocopter, a Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAE) and even the A400 – a military transporter.
Boeing is an American company that designs, manufactors and sells fixed wing commercial and military aircraft, helicopters, rockets and satellites. At the airshow, Boeing had a mock-up of the business class cabin i nthe Boeing 787 and various models of the airplanes they currently sell.
Embraer is a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate that manufactures commercial, military, executive and agricultural aircraft. At the airshow, Embraer showed off their new line of ‘Very Light’ corporate jets – the Phenom 100 and the Phenom 300. A mock-up of the Phenom 300 was also set up at the exhibition.
4. Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI)
The KAI is a South Korean aerospace company that predominantly specializes in military trainers. At the airshow, KAI showed off the KAI KT-1 (prop trainer) and the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle (Jet trainer). They also placed a T-50 flight simulator at the exhibition.
5. Russian Companies like Sukhoi, MiG and Mil
The Russian Aerospace giants like MiG, Sukhoi and Mil had booths at the airshow and all the three companies had models and mock-ups of their products. Sukhoi introduced their first commercial airliner – the ‘Sukhoi Superjet 100’ to the Middle Eastern market at the Dubai Airshow 2007.
6. Other Companies?
Although I have covered the ‘big’ companies, there were a lot more booths at the Dubai Airshow 2007 including those of Goodyear aircraft tyres, Italian manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi, French manufacturer Rafale, Swiss manufacturer Pilatus, Canada’s Bombardier to name a few. Various other avionics manufacturers, aviation publishers, aircraft leasing firms and flight training institutes had booths too.
The Outdoor Display
As soon as you step outside the exhibition hall and onto the show ramp, you are greeted by this;
The outdoor display at a trade show gives ‘buyers’ a chance to see and interact with the airplanes of their choice. Usually, protoypes of new airplanes and airplanes that are currently in production are on display. Visitors to the airshow are allowed to enter most airplanes on display except for a few, for which the visitor must have special persmission. Let’s take a look at a few of the airplanes on display.
1. Maximus Air Cargo
The Maximus Air Cargo had the civilian version of the C-130 (the L382G) and a Ukranian mammoth – the Antonov 124-100 Ruslan on display.
Bombardier had its CRJ NextGen aircraft in North West Airlines (NWA) colours, a Challenger 300 corporate jet and a Challenger 605 corporate jet.
3. Midex Airlines A300F
4. Gulfstream G550
The Gulfstream G550 is my favorite corporate jet and I was so excited to get a chance to enter and spend some time in it at the airshow.
5. The USAF Exhibit
The USAF displayed two of their military transport aircraft, a fighter, a bomber, two AWACS aircraft and even a Naval Helicopter. The area was barricaded and only visitors with special permission were allowed to get a closer look at their aircraft.
6. Other Outdoor Exhibits
Well other outdoor exhibits included various other corporate jets by Hawker, Swearingen and Pilatus to name a few. In addition, the UAE AF had an Apache helicopter and an F-16 Block 60 on display, the Turkish AirForce had a Boeing 737 on display and the Royal Jordanian AF had a C-130 on display. There was also a mock-up of a coach of the train that would connect the new Terminal 3 and Terminal 4 at Dubai International Airport. Let me remind you this is just a small portion of what was on display that day, I honestly don’t think I managed to see all of the exhibits on display – there were just too many!
The Flying Demos
The flying demonstrations at trade shows are not necessarily to entertain the visitors but to demonstrate the capabilities of the exibitor’s aircraft(s). Having said that, there are aerobatic display by international teams like the Patrouille deFrance, Red Arrows (UK) and more recently by Al Fursan (U.A.E.) that serve as an opening act, a closing act or sometimes even as an interlude.
Just as I click the picture of the USAF’s Boeing e-3 Sentry, the flying demo starts with opening performance by Patrouille deFrance.
This was followed by a demo by the Italy’s medium sized military transporter, the C-27J Spartan manufactured by Alenia Aeronautica.
KAI’s T-50 demo
Next, the Pilatus PC-21 took to the skies, followed by UAEAF’s F-16E/F Bloack 60. This was then followed by a demo by two aircrafts manufactured by Pakistan Aviation Complex’s (PAC) – the MFI-17 Mushshak basic trainer and the K-8 Karakorum jet trainer.
The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk was a twin engine stealth ground attack aircraft. It entered service in October 1983 and was retired on April 2008. The USAF demo of the F-117 at the Dubai Airshow was part of the farewell tour. Sadly there was to a technical problem after take-off and the aircraft returned back to DXB.
The F/A-18 takes to the skies for its demo. During the demo, the Airbus A380 makes its way from the Engineering section and taxies to the runway. Interestingly, almost all the spectators were more interested in the A380 taxing-by than the F/A-18 above. This was the A380’s second appearance at Dubai Airshow (the first appearance was at the 2005 show).
After the A380 demo, the crowd started dispersing as the MiG 29 took-off for its demo. After the MiG-29’s demo, a couple of commercial airplanes lined up for take-off. I thought this was the end of the flying deemos and proceeding back to the exhibition hall to exit and head home before the evening traffic. The next day, I read in the newspaper that the Boeing 777 that was lined up for take-off was actually part of the closing act where the Boeing 777 does a fly-by with the Red Arrows aerobatics team ( :O Nooooooo, I missed a great photo oppurtunity).
During the flying demo, I took pictures of the visitors as they all gaze skywards
The visit to the Dubai Airshow 2007 was a real treat. Not only did I manage to see the whole show (as in the exhibition + the outdoor display + the flying display), it was also the tenth edition of the Dubai Airshow. I managed to learn a lot about the industry and got to collect a lot of goodies (mostly posters and pens). I do want to visit the airshow again in the future as they have moved to Dubai World Central (DWC). The move to DWC is a good move as time and space will not be a problem. The outdoor display can take up as much space as needed and the flying displays need not be interrupted by scheduled flights as the Al Maktoum International Airport (JXB) is not as busy as DXB.
I do understand this was a looong post and to everyone who stuck with me till the end….thank you, your patience is appreciated. I hope you enjoyed the post and as always comments are welcome. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @av8radi (opens in a new tab)
Until my next post…Happy Landings!