Farnborough Special – It’s all in the detail

Whatever will be said about Farnborough 2016, most of it will be that a) Boeing did not do so well on the international orders front, Airbus came out on top. b) Is it the beginning of the end of the aircraft order bubble, and will it be seen as a defining moment for both of these manufacturers? Maybe, but I doubt it.

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This Qatar Airways A319-133LR  A7-CJA is supplied only to customers with the cash to pay to fly 4o people in relative luxury wherever they wat to go. At one time the concept was a scheduled service to Heathrow, but the introduction of A380’s made it a short lived venture.
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Gulfstream 6 A7-CGC belongs to Qatar Executive, another branch of the airline catering to on demand business flyers

The big headline order that Boeing just didn’t get near, was Virgin Atlantic’s – and I’ve been saying for over two years it really wouldn’t be much in doubt, the only choice was the A350-1000, and they ordered a dozen.  Everything else seemed somewhat peripheral, there were no multi-billion dollar orders for hundreds of 777’s. More worrying Boeing hasn’t sold a 777-X in 13 months.

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Visitors often forget Farnborough is a fully operational airport, TAG Aviation operate a number of business jets, this is G-TCSX a 757-2K2 delivered in August 2014 operating with 52 business class seats, to as many as 78 as needed. Usually operated for TCS Expeditions.

Three days stuck in the main halls talking to colleagues and business people and it was Thursday before I could get out. I’m not a fan of the Thursday. Usually many of the big “loan” aircraft are gone – in this case ABC’s 748F in the new UK colours, there was no C-Series, and as I walked down to Embraer, the new E-Jet E2 was flown off and never came back!

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Making the aircraft easy to photograph is never a priority, the 737 MAX looked excellent in the colour scheme, but somehow rather underwhelming in the flesh, even less different than the not much different A320Neo.
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The 737 Max’s CFM Leap engines, use the now outdated serration system for noise reduction. Airbus A350’s don’t have it as the reduction in noise no longer needs the nacelles to be shaped, noise cancellation takes place under the skin. However it will be interesting to see how the model makers make this work.

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However, having lunch at Airbus did extract an unsurprising piece of news – “It’s almost certainly the last time you’ll see the A380 here, they’ll be wanting to push the A330Neo by then (2018) and of course the A350-1000 will be on demo”.

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Note that the split scimitars on the MAX are NOT the same as the retrofitted versions on older models – take note please model makers.

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Now for this blog, the photographs are more often about detail, because when reviewing the models, which are made by people in a Chinese factory who haven’t seen any of these aircraft and possibly never will, what they produce and the detail they provide can make or break our pleasure and ownership experience. That is what it’s about in the end.

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And just to point out the obvious, but these domes, they actually sit flush on the body and aren’t some pimple jabbed in with no thought!

Accuracy is everything, and we often don’t get it. Rubbish engines and landing gear is never unusual, moulds created from technical drawings and no personal experience of the nuances of the real thing, what really stands out and matters – should matter on the model. Sometimes they get it, often they don’t.

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Two things come out of these photos that I keep trying to get across – the engines – especially fans, rims and exhausts, are often horribly wrong and can spoil a model easily.

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The back end of a Qatar A320 IAE V2527M-A5 – note to model makers, that they are not bright silver or white!

The other is detail – especially nose and tail detail, landing gear, tail and doors.

As a result we’ll have some nice close ups of the A350 especially, the new 737-8Max, and an older A320 – because JCW/Gemini’s A350 is way out for accuracy in terms of nose shape and wings, and they seem incapable of getting the old A320 right any more.

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The DC10, a very rare sight in Europe these days,  of Omega Tanker spends a lot of time at Farnborough.

The A380 is more of a tribute set. Something that big flying the way this does at an air show is truly awesome. And we will never see it’s like again.

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Another old bird, 727 G-OSRA is used for oil spill dispersion

Next week its back to full reviews, and there are plenty on the way…enjoy your weekend, enjoy the photos……

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The MSN002 A350 Carbon Fibre looks amazing
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The wing root detail seems to have been a problem for both JCW/Gemini and Phoenix on the models
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The Rolls Royce engine does NOT lose the blue tint to the engine cone as it ages, note the depth of colour, almost sapphire blue. Note the colours too.
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The A350’s landing gear and doors – JCW/Gemini and Phoenix both failed to get these right
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The ultimate evidence that the JCW/Gemini wing is totally wrong on the A350 and the Phoenix one admirably correct

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Look at how far forward the fans are, the colour of the fans, and the rims. Why is it so hard to get such details on 1:400 models right when it’s this simple?
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Only Phoenix got anywhere near getting the shape of the nose right, and even then it isn’t accurate; the JCW/Gemini looks like a 787. Phoenix got the details more accuartely and continue to do so.

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And some bonus shots – stuck on the motorway at the end of Heathrow for an hour, plenty of time for some ad-hoc departures spotting!

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787-9 G-VBZZ VS41 to SFO as it happened an hour late

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Above and below, A346 G-VGAS the only A340 in current livery, we flew back from SFO on her a few weeks ago.

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One thought on “Farnborough Special – It’s all in the detail

  1. You aren’t wrong, no Neo, no CS100, the 787 only turned up on opening day, the A380 seemed to be a little pointless this year. The Russians were about in force but nobody was paying much attention. There was an air of deflation about the whole show. I think we’re at the point where big orders for major aircraft are going to be hard to to claim. Even the defence side seems quiet. And yet we had record numbers of attendees!

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