FARNBOROUGH AIRSHOW 2010

On previous years AJS have been unable to attend this event due to essential contracting commitments. So this year we made a special effort. Cooperative clients and ninja diary juggling this year meant we have squeezed in a valuable visit.fb20101

For us, this trip was about a combination of keeping up to date with developments and suppliers in the aircraft marketplace, seeing how the event can help our business in future and also developing face to face relationships. The bulk of our clients are major operators or manufacturers of aircraft, they all regularly appear at such events, so this is a venue to catch up with their specific developments.

For us, seeing such show stealers as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the impressive Boeing range of UAS capabilities on display including the Phantom Ray, was all part of the days experience.

Unmanned air systems used in current conflicts are well publicised and understood. AJS particular area of interest is the civil use of small unmanned air systems. This is a rapidly changing environment with new systems, new and updated legislation, which leads to new opportunities for businesses.

Although we maintain our currency with publicised developments in the areas of systems and legislation, it is great to see the many developments in fixed wing and rotary wing unmanned systems first hand; and meet some of the people we interact with in the development of our services.

It was interesting to see the commercial relationships developing in the field of UAS legislation, training, certification and insurance. All of these areas have compulsory requirements for commercially operating a small unmanned system. Recent rule changes will impact current operators in future when reapplying to the CAA for approval, as they cannot use a previous CAA approved organisation such as BMFA or LMA to obtain an operator certificate. They will be required to use another CAA approved commercial organisation. We have also been warned of other changes being planned. AJS, as small potential commercial operators of sUAS, are hoping that approval is granted for a number of such organisations by the CAA. This will encourage healthy competition that should result in fair pricing with value for money services. We will expand on this subject in a later Blog entry dedicated to this very subject.

Back to the trip.

We were particularly interested in the small unmanned air systems at the show. On display were:

About six of these took part in a long awaited flight yellow111demonstration of unmanned systems outside on the airfield. Their flights were part of the daily schedule plan but did not appear to be part of the announced activity. This, coupled with the fact that they are small and very quiet meant we missed the flights.Among those that did fly we feel we must say congratulations to fellow sUAS operators from YellowPlane and AttoPilot, who made history on 19/07/10 by being the first ever fixed wing UAS to fly at Farnborough Airshow.

Flights that we didn’t miss were of the Aurora Flight Sciences Skate and {Company Name Removed at their request} MicroDrone MD4-200. These took place inside, in what looked like a UAV play pen.

We have a great deal of experience of operating an MD4-200 but just when I thought I had seen all of the ways you can defy gravity with a small unmanned aircraft, I saw Aurora Flight Sciences Skate. A professionally presented solution with many intriguing design features. One for us to watch in the future.

Overall a very successful day, which will be repeating at the next Farnborough Airshow. A big thanks to the organisers and all those who took time to provide information and chat to us on the day.