Aviation enthusiasts will be converging in the U.K. this July as two massive events are coincidentally scheduled within a week of each other.
The Royal International Air Tattoo is first on the calendar, with plans to be held from July 13 – 15 at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. The airfield is less than 100 miles from Central London and is accessible by rail via Swindon and a regular shuttle bus service. This year, the tattoo coincides with a nationwide celebration of 100 years of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The flight schedule is still being finalized to emphasize this significant aviation milestone.
The second aviation event is the biennial Farnborough International Airshow (FIA 2018) which is held from July 16-22. As is tradition, the final two days will be open to the public, while Monday through Friday will focus on those working in the industry. The FIA schedule is also being finalized, but a noted highlight is said to be a ‘Great War Display’ of fighter aircraft to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the conclusion of the First World War.
Both RIAT 2018 and FIA 2018 will require a lot of stamina from even the most ardent aviation geek, given both the summer heat and expected crowds. For those attending FIA 2018, recommended relief can be found at the National Aerospace Library of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).
Situated a short walking distance from Farnborough airfield and Farnborough railway station, the 152-year-old society’s library has an incredible archive of materials relating to the history of flight. The public has access to the library and its incredibly knowledgeable librarians during weekdays.
As expected, the National Aerospace Library has an incredible catalog of aviation books, magazines and journals which can be accessed on site, but also an extensive online array of photos, podcasts and interviews which cover all aspects of aviation. The online image catalog offers aviation enthusiasts the ability to order prints in a variety of forms.
A recent addition to the online materials is a heritage site which is building a digitized resource of priceless materials. Amongst the first works to be uploaded are the notebooks of aviation pioneer Sir George Cayley (1773 – 1857). Sir George’s sketches of aerospace possibilities pre-date the Wright brothers by over 60 years and make for fascinating reading.
With one of the main focuses of FIA 2018 being the latest and future technology and the pursuit of aircraft orders, a visit to the National Aerospace Library will provide anyone with the most minor interest a reminder of the wonder of aviation’s history.
John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management and has recently led an undergraduate Aviation Management course for 450 students at a leading London university. John is currently an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.