We marked the anniversary of the 1952 Farnborough Air Show tragedy last September, but a YouTube user has just uploaded a short segment from a BBC documentary, Jet! When Britain Ruled the Skies (which can also be viewed on YouTube in its entirety), about the accident which killed 29 spectators plus the two people onboard the aircraft. After the injured were evacuated and the dead bodies and debris were removed, the air show went on:
Last week, I got to fly to Geneva in Bombardier’s latest plane, the Global 6000. Check out my review on my Forbes column.
Thursday September 6th marked a grim anniversary: The 1952 Farnborough Air Show tragedy where 31 people lost their lives after a jet aircraft came apart and crashed with pieces hitting the crowd (29 spectators were killed and many more were seriously injured). Pilot John Derry and flight test observer Anthony Richards were flying a De Havilland 110 fighter and after making a low-level supersonic flypast, the aircraft began to climb during a left bank towards the spectators. At that point in time, the outer starboard wing and then the outer port wing broke off the aircraft followed by both engines and the cockpit. It was one of the engines that broke up and ploughed into the spectators on Observation Hill.
A subsequent accident investigation revealed that maneuvering had resulted in airframe instability because of a faulty D-nose which led to a redesigned DH.110 that ultimately evolved into the successful de Havilland Sea Vixen naval fighter. The accident report also attached no blame on Pilot John Derry.
The tragedy led to important changes in how air shows and air show demonstrations were conducted. Hence and since 1952, there has not yet been another major crash at the Farnborough Air Show.
In addition, GetHampshire.co.uk also has a great eyewitness account of the tragedy from Richard Gardner, the chairman of the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) Museum, who was just a little boy at the air show with his father who was also filming it. Likewise and if you were an eyewitness to the 1952 Farnborough Air Show tragedy or know of any other personal accounts from someone who was, feel free to tell us in the comments section.
For aviation buffs who are also photographers, the Farnborough Air Show has always offered plenty of great photo opportunities. Hence, its worth noting that CNN has a great slideshow showing the history of Farnborough through photographs starting from 1925:
As for the 2012 Farnborough Air Show, Yahoo News has put together a collection of photographs from the show into a slideshow while space buffs should check out the CNET slideshow showing the European Space Agency exhibit. The Lockheed Martin’s photostream on Flickr also has a huge collection of photographs with an obvious corporate slant while a general search for “Farnborough Air Show” on Flickr reveals more than 20,000 photos.
Finally, David Cenciotti, the blogger behind the Aviationist blog who has by far provided some of the best coverage of the Farnborough Air Show in the blogosphere complete with great photographs, has posted this cool shot of helicopters that appear to be practically touching each other:
If you know of any other great sources of pictures from the 2012 Farnborough Air Show, feel free to tell us in the comments section.
Both the Airbus and Boeing PR teams have gone all out to cover their activity at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show with videos offering highlights for each day of the show. However and as you can see from the following videos, the PR teams of both Airbus and Boeing took radically different approaches to get their respective messages across with Airbus daily highlight videos having no commentary and just plenty of great aircraft videos set to music while Boeing’s daily highlight videos sound like a commercial intended for Wall Street analysts:
Day One at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show
Day Two at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show
Day Three at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show
Day Four at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show
I should mention there are plenty of dry Airbus videos on their YouTube channel as well as on the Boeing YouTube channel. Nevertheless, who do you think should win an award for having the best or most effective 2012 Farnborough Air Show PR videos, Airbus or Boeing? Feel free to tell us in the comments section below…
I’ve been going to the Farnborough Airshow since I was a little boy and more recently as a journalist and then as an aviation marketing person, and I can tell you that there’s nothing more irritating that schlepping around all day with a pocket encyclopaedia in your bag. This weighty tome is the exhibitors guide. Now, there’s a lighter, smarter alternative. The new Farnborough Airshow iPhone App.