Paris Air Show

Debutantes Take Bow at Paris Salon

 - June 19, 2017, 8:02 AM
Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force have brought two F-35A stealth fighters to Paris. This is the international debut for the conventional takeoff and landing version of the Lightning II. The airshow display is being flown by company test pilot Billie Flynn, and shows a considerably extended envelope, compared to the F-35B routine at Farnborough last year. Be aware, Flynn will have a mandatory rest day Thursday, so no F-35 demonstration that day. (Photo: David McIntosh)

As the aviation industry convenes in Paris for the city’s biennial Salon Du Bourget, aircraft manufacturers and integrators have pulled out all the stops to show their newest flying machines to visitors from all over the world. They also hope to solidify some sales, or at least pave the way for future transactions. There are 130 aircraft at this year’s show (36 of which feature in flying display), more than enough to satisfy the curiosity of the most avid aviation geek, or fit the needs of any type of buyer. 

The range of debutantes is wide this year, and according to AIN photographer Mark Wagner, “It’s a better than average show” for new aircraft. Debuting this year are many new air transport birds, ranging from Mitsubishi’s MRJ 90 to the split-wingletted Airbus A380plus. Also new at the Airbus static display are its A321neo and A350-1000. Boeing brought two new jets this year, the longest-fuselage 787-10 Dreamliner and the 737 Max 9.

Embraer’s beautifully painted “Profit Hunter” E192-E2 is making its first official public appearance here in Paris, as is Antonov’s re-engined An-132D.

On the business jet side, Gulfstream brought its soon-to-be-certified G500 fly-by-wire jet, equipped with a production interior. Not to be outdone by the heavy metal at Paris is Cirrus Aircraft’s recently certified single-engine Vision Jet, the perfect family airplane for jaunts around Europe.  

Two other small aircraft are here for the first time, L3’s Longsword and the LASA T-Bird from Bulgaria, both adapted from agricultural airplanes for military applications. Embraer’s KC-390 multi-mission military transport is flying during the daily Paris Air Show demonstrations, as is Lockheed Martin’s F-35A fighter. Also joining this year’s military parade is Lockheed Martin’s LM-100J, the civilian cargo version of the C-130J Hercules, while another interesting military first-timer this year is Kawasaki Aerospace’s P-1, which features the world’s first application of a fly-by-light flight control system, while in the UAV world the Wing Loong II is making its first appearance outside China.