CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

The Farnborough airshow is one of Europe's biggest showcases of the latest technology in commercial and military aircraft. Some of the biggest players in the industry, including Boeing and Airbus, come together to flog their new planes, as well as give the public a thrill with spectacular air demonstrations, including this performance from the superb Red Arrows.

I went along to the 2014 show to see what it was all about.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
1
of 61

This is the Airbus E-Fan: a twin-engine plane that's entirely electric. It's 60kW engines have a flight time of around an hour and weighs only 500kg (1,100 pounds).

The E-Fan is designed for pilot training. We're a long way away from having fully electric airliners, but it's a step in the right direction.

Read more about the Airbus E-Fan here.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
2
of 61

One of the stars of the show was the Airbus A380. A goliath passenger jet, it's capable of seating over 500 people, making it the world's largest commercial plane.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
3
of 61

It really is monstrous.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
4
of 61

The A380 took to the skies over the show. With no passengers, baggage or much fuel on board, the plane was light enough for the pilot to perform manoeuvres rather more extreme then they would do during a normal passenger flight.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
5
of 61

Airbus also had military craft to show off. This is the A400M -- a four-engine airlifter.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
6
of 61

It first entered service in 2013, but Airbus wanted to show off more of its skills at Farnborough to tempt potential buyers.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
7
of 61

Like the A380 passenger plane, the A400M was flown much more aggressively than it usually would, thanks to a lack of any passengers of equipment on board.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
8
of 61

Another crowd favourite was the Eurofighter Typhoon jet.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
9
of 61

The Typhoon is 16 metres (52 feet) long, and is designed to be extremely agile in the air.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
10
of 61

It's not particularly easy to take photos of planes when they're travelling at such speeds. I had the help of Canon's 400mm f/2.8 lens, which zooms in close to the plane, allowing you to get shots like this.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
11
of 61

I thought this was breaking the sound barrier, but BAE Systems told me that this cloud bubble is caused by "low pressure forming over wings, causing water vapour to condense into a visible mass of liquid." So now you know.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
12
of 61

Who's this attractively silhouetted chap?

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
13
of 61

Why, it's the T129 ATAK helicopter. As I suspected.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
14
of 61

It can fit two people inside and can hit a maximum speed of 174mph.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
15
of 61

It has various rockets and guns mounted to the sides.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
16
of 61

There's a gun on the front too.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
17
of 61

Almost all of the helicopters being shown off at this year's show were for the military.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
18
of 61

This one has a ground-scanning camera bolted to the front, as well as what looks like a butterfly's proboscis. This allows it to refuel from other aircraft while in the air.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
19
of 61

There's a minigun mounted on the side.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
20
of 61

And another one on the back.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
21
of 61

It has a single joystick control, so you can imagine you're playing a classic arcade game.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
22
of 61

These guys brought their US Army helicopter to the show.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
23
of 61

It's not exactly compact, is it?

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
24
of 61

It's always a pleasure seeing the Red Arrows doing a demonstration.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
25
of 61

They did two flybys, which meant that I had only a few seconds to really appreciate them as they zoomed past.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
26
of 61

Even the airport staff wanted to watch the giant A380 do its stuff.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
27
of 61

Pro tip: don't cut the grass around your airshow before demonstrating how a four-engine goliath takes off...

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
28
of 61

...otherwise a giant cloud of grass clippings will be thrown up...

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
29
of 61

...and engulf the audience.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
30
of 61

Take your pick.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
31
of 61

I presume all these chaps are stood around debating who gets to fly it first. Rock, paper, scissors?

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
32
of 61

Two engines are better than one. I think.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
33
of 61

Qatar airlines had a few of its luxury jumbo jets to show off.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
34
of 61

I wanted to get on board and relax in business class with a mojito, but oddly they weren't keen on that plan.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
35
of 61

Boeing was excitedly showing off its 787-9 Dreamliner at the show. My excellent colleague Stephen Shankland got up close and personal with the plane earlier in the show.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
36
of 61

No pilots are required to fly this drone.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
37
of 61

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the police were heavily armed.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
38
of 61

Even from the back, the A380 looks huge.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
39
of 61

Actually, it looks pretty impressive from all angles.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
40
of 61

The A400M can carry up to 37 tonnes of cargo.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
41
of 61

These teeny propellers belong to a micro drone, which can be programmed to fly in a swarm and are able to automatically detect and avoid objects.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
42
of 61

Inside the showcase halls, various bits of plane were being displayed.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
43
of 61

Here's an enormous jet.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
44
of 61

And another.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
45
of 61

And a third for good measure.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
46
of 61

Farnborough airshow also includes some historical artefacts, like these early planes.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
47
of 61

Can you imagine flying high above the ground laying in what looks like a kite?

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
48
of 61

This one's a little more robust.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
49
of 61

My favourite thing on display is this all-terrain vehicle, which has a propeller on the back, allowing you to drive along with a parasail, taking off and gliding into the air when you happen to drive off a cliff.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
50
of 61

Poor GPS signal? Launch your own satellite.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
51
of 61

Various satellites were on display, designed for purposes including navigation and military communications.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
52
of 61

Coolest helmet ever.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
53
of 61

This is one of the ways new pilots are trained, before being put in control of multi-million pound aircraft.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
54
of 61

Presumably the pilot of the Typhoon had to get a high score on the simulator.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
55
of 61

It put on a hell of a show.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
56
of 61

How did I get so high to take this shot from above? I didn't, I was on the ground -- the plane was banking hard.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
57
of 61

It's actually quite weird seeing such massive planes being thrown around in the air.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
58
of 61

You won't see commercial planes like this flying so aggressively normally.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
59
of 61

Canon's 400mm lens lets you get super-close to the plane, but it does make it very hard to actually find the plane in the sky.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
60
of 61

During testing, the planes are often filled with water tanks that can shift their weight during the flight to simulate luggage in the hold.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
61
of 61
Up Next

Apple's Mac through the years (pictures)