Paris Air Show

As reported by Flying Singer.
It happens to be the Paris Air Show this week, and since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to go. This air show is held only every two years and it is THE major international event for the aerospace industry. I was amazed at the number of exhibits, aircraft displays, and aerial demonstrations. No American aircraft were flying because the U.S. was apparently thumbing its nose at France.

MiGMan: Such is the petty way foreign policy is wielded by the great powers at times! The snub was over the disagreements prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

But no great loss, I've seen the American aircraft. I watched flights by Rafale, Gripen, Mirage 2000, and EuroFighter, among others.
Rafale is a beautiful jet, even sitting on the ground.
The disappointment was no Russian aircraft except a few trainers and Sukhoi aerobatic planes.

MiGMan- The Russians were avoiding the Swiss bailiffs who had almost confiscated an Su-27 at a recent show.

Best of all, I waited in line for an hour to sit in the cockpit of the EuroFighter full-size mockup. In line I chatted up the security guy (a Brit, relieved to hear English I guess, even American style). I told him I'm a private pilot and had spent many hours on EF 2000 sims on my PC. He then spoke to another staff person and got me into their simulator building! I met two German EF pilots and got to fly some A2A and a landing!
Now this is not the full blown motion simulator with a dome, but it was a fairly complete EF cockpit with the MFD's, HUD, switches, etc. in the right places (canopy and ejection seat too).
The display was a large flat projection, and the HUD symbology was on the screen rather than in the HUD. But it was still cool.
Selecting, locking, and sorting the bandits was easy (with prompts for the HOTAS switches to use) and I quickly made 4 AMR kills -- not a tough profile. Landing was not as slick -- I overcontrolled and was a bit sloppier than I would have liked. "He's a pilot??"... "Um, just Cessna, guys" -- no, really they were very cool, blaming it on the delay in the video display rather than PIO which it was!). Anyway, it was fun - at least 15 minutes in this thing. I want one!

UAV's are coming big time -- US, Israel, others pushing them -- not sure if my pic is Global Hawk or Predator. I also saw a lot of cool UAV stuff (Israel, US), helicopter aerobatics (Eurocopter Tigre). There were no US military air displays, but plenty of US companies showing their wares on the ground, including F-16 and JSF and a F-35 mockup.

Yes, a mockup of the F-35 is about all there is at the moment - which hasn't stopped the Australian Government committing to buying it! - MiGMan"

Somewhat strange to see colorful displays filled with attractive people showing off cluster bombs and SAMs! But it is a business too.
Selling weapons, aircraft, and space = big business!
The French make pretty jets -- the Concorde and Rafale are two of the sexiest aircraft designs ever (IMHO). It is hard to differentiate Rafale, Gripen, and Eurofighter apart in flight, even at fairly low altitude (delta/canard config). I wish some Russians had been there (Su's and MiG's).
Eurofighter Typhoon is a cool jet, inside and out!