Plane spotting at the Farnborough International Airshow 2016


For one week every two years the city hosts a massive influx of the Aviation industry.
For one week every two years the city hosts a massive influx of the Aviation industry.

Yes, I was in Farnborough to work. And I did, interviewing executives and reporting news from the show. But a big part of the Farnborough International Airshow is the flying displays and they present great opportunities to photograph airplanes, occasionally in unusual combinations or formations. And so, for a couple hours each day during the week, I took a break from “work” to do the fun part of my job, take photos of planes. Here’s the best of that effort. Click on any of the photos for a full-size version.

Day one was mostly washed out. As in the storms flooded the show halls and power was cut to protect against possible electrocution. Only the first couple Airbus flights took place before the schedule was scrubbed.

The A380 performs a graceful ballet over the Farnborough International Airshow
The A380 performs a graceful ballet over the Farnborough International Airshow
The "iFlyA380" advert on the A380 was far from subtle
The “iFlyA380” advert on the A380 was far from subtle
A380 in profile at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow
A380 in profile at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow
A380 landing after its performance at Farnborough International Airshow
A380 landing after its performance at Farnborough International Airshow
The A350 performance at Farnborough International Airshow
The A350 performance at Farnborough International Airshow
The A350 performance at Farnborough International Airshow
The A350 performance at Farnborough International Airshow
A380 on the ground and the A350 coming in for a landing (with Virgin Atlantic on board to announce an order)
A380 on the ground and the A350 coming in for a landing (with Virgin Atlantic on board to announce an order at FIA16)

Day two was only slightly better, with storms passing through but a few more planes flying, including the F35 doing its hover thing over the show.

The F35 hovers over Farnborough International Airshow
The F35 hovers over Farnborough International Airshow

Towards the end of the week, as things cleared up and the show switched focus from industry to community things got even better. The weather was more reasonable and the performances were more fun. I also was able to score a better viewing position for some of the show. It helped.

Damp runways make for great spray; the ANA 787 takes off for its Farnborough International Airshow performance
Damp runways make for great spray; the ANA 787 takes off for its Farnborough International Airshow performance
I love the wing curve on the 787, and so does the sun in this shot from the Farnborough International Airshow
I love the wing curve on the 787, and so does the sun in this shot from the Farnborough International Airshow
Two "737s" with decidedly different looks
Two “737s” with decidedly different looks
The Boeing 737 MAX overhead at the Farnborough International Airshow
The Boeing 737 MAX overhead at the Farnborough International Airshow
Boeing's 737 MAX takes off at Farnborough, showing off its capabilities
Boeing’s 737 MAX takes off at Farnborough, showing off its capabilities
Boeing's 737 MAX takes off at Farnborough, showing off its capabilities
Boeing’s 737 MAX takes off at Farnborough, showing off its capabilities
The ANA Boeing 787-9 lands Wednesday at Farnborough on the wet runway.
The ANA Boeing 787-9 lands Wednesday at Farnborough on the wet runway.
The 787 flies over the Farnborough International Airshow
The 787 flies over the Farnborough International Airshow

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Blue skies for the A380 over Farnborough
Blue skies for the A380 over Farnborough
More A350 over Farnborough
More A350 over Farnborough
More A350 over Farnborough
More A350 over Farnborough
Ass shot of the A350 over Farnborough
Ass shot of the A350 over Farnborough
The A350 towards the end of its performance at the Farnborough International Airshow
The A350 towards the end of its performance at the Farnborough International Airshow
Parachutes open to kick off the flying display on the first day the Farnborough International Airshow was open to the public
Parachutes open to kick off the flying display on the first day the Farnborough International Airshow was open to the public
The A400M climbs as the A350 passes into the distance at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2016
The A400M climbs as the A350 passes into the distance at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2016

The Red Arrows performance was changed (and “downgraded”) to comply with new safety rules at airshows. Rather than acrobatics the fleet did a formation flyby with the A350. Still cool, though obviously very different from what could have been.

The Red Arrows fly over Farnborough
The Red Arrows fly over Farnborough
The Red Arrows fly over Farnborough in formation with Airbus' A350
The Red Arrows fly over Farnborough in formation with Airbus’ A350
The Red Arrows fly over Farnborough in formation with Airbus' A350
The Red Arrows fly over Farnborough in formation with Airbus’ A350

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

2 Comments

  1. Seth, if you’re an aviation geek, you should make time for the RIAT. It is all military, in fact it is billed as the largest military airshow in the world. The schedule usually is quite close to Farnborough. The venue is always at RAF Fairford, 1 train ride away from Paddington to Swindon, then hop on the free shuttle bus. Normally there are multiple teams on display. When I went in 2014, the team line up consisted of RAF Red Arrows, italian Frecce Tricolori, French Patrouille de France, Jordanian Falcons, Polish Orliks, and Swiss Patrouille de Suisse.

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