The London Airshow, Earls Court.
A much awaited and publicised event for several months now.
We booked in advance to ensure that we had no problem getting in,
but alarm bells should have sounded when they reduced the ticket price
and sent us a refund!
Still off we went...to Earls Court.
Earls Court...nearly as busy at 4pm as it was at 10am.
We walked straight in to be met by the Delta Jet stand.
Strangely we could see the perimeter/extent of the show from the entrance.
The first circuit took nearly 25mins as we stopped to chat to a few familiar faces including:
Steve from Willowair; Norman and Chris from Pilot Warehouse;
Glen and Darren from SEMS and some of the folk from Stapleford
The boys liked the Cessna 206. ...James called his dad with the price....jokin
A New Robin DR500 President...Very nice (still balsa though!)
All sides of aviation were represented incl: Ballooning, Microlights,
Gliding, Paramotors, Simulation....the lot!
And ofcourse plenty of Flight Training outfits and Flying Clubs.
The Guiness stand was particularly busy...we had to wait nearly 3 seconds to be served!
at £3.20 per pint!....was ok though, Paul only had a half.
At 12.30 SEMS gave a flare and raft demo at the 'pool'.
Darren in immersion suit ready to light his flare
Important....don't light inside the raft!
Darren then goes swimming...water was 8 deg.C
Glen then throws him a raft
Why so many photos?....its important thats why.
Note: This is a CAA approved raft. The lighter weight rafts are not CAA approved,
but are designed for light aircraft use and are 'better than swimming'.
If you cross the Irish Sea or English Channel and have to ditch the wrong side
of the FIR boundary, you will be charged for your recovery unless you have a raft.
SEMS rent them for as little as £35/week or £300/year.
Having viewed the show twice, talked to countless people
and purchased some GARMIN 296s from ADAMS Aviation (special offer at show)
we went to Covent Garden for Dinner.
TGI Fridays - where we spent the money we saved!
The tube back to Tower Hill.
Apart from a nice day out and saving some money (yes I know we spent money),
The show was dissapointing.
In terms of Venue, better to have it at an airfield.
At least we could then fly in!
I read an article in Today's Pilot (April) which contained an interview with the show organiser.
One aim seemed to be to open GA to the wider public
and steer people away from their boats and car clubs.
Only, GA isn't cheap in the UK.
(The Capri and RS owners club can breathe easy)
Getting a PPL in the UK costs bewteen £4000 and £6500 depending on where you go.
Club aircraft rental is expensive and often restrictive, but has to cover fuel, insurance, maintenance.
Ownership isn't cheap.
Annuals, Cof A, Renewals, Medicals, Ratings, Landing fees, Avionics, Insurance, Parts
If you want to open GA to the wider community you have to make it easily affordable.
Most of us don't do the sums, else we wouldn't fly!