So, we packed up and went to the Farnborough Air Show yesterday. Well, except for Princess. She had a bit of a fevour over the weekend, so was a bit down and out of things. Out little girl got a day of leisure with SN instead. That seemed to be well enjoyed by both.
The air show though, was very good fun. We’d been given dire warnings of traffic hell, and massive crowds. Wasn’t like that at all. Everything was the model of efficiency. Traffic was heavy, but controlled, we drove straight in tp park without meeting any jams. A bus awaited to wisk us to the gates. There was no queue for tickets, and even the air port style security was dealt with easily.
The show itself? Fantastic. Two little boys, one big one, and a woman with more than a little bit of testosterone flowing in her veins meant it was toy heaven. The lads walked about with gobsmacked looks on their faces as we got right up to big helicopters and airplanes. Then a hamburger for lunch (more child heaven), chips and even a fizzy drink (they never get fizzy drinks at home (we’re such food fascists (poor things))).
We had a good plot of (very dry) grass to sit on, then the games began. Not everything was wizzy bang. Watching a training jet do sedate loops in the air isn’t that exciting. Some of the others though… Lets just say it was a good thing we got ear plugs as we were up close and personal to various military hardware being pushed to its limits. Fantastic. We were all sitting there with big grins on our faces.
Its hard to say, which was better. The US F18 or the Russian Mig (a tough question hotly debated on the drive home)? I think the Mig probably piped the yanks to the post, but that may have been due to the daring (or health and safety allowances) of the pilots. Watching a plane push itself up to 5000 feet in a few small seconds then deliberately put itself into a tail spin is awe inspiring.
Watching a helicopter to a loop the loop rather made my jaw drop too. I can now understand reports that Afgani Taliban fighters flee from Apache helicopters. Having a helicopter stand on its nose and fire straight down at you would be terrifying.
The highlight of the day was the Red Arrows. Watching those lads fly nose to tail in tight formation gets the blood pumping. All in all it was a fine fine day, only spoiled by having to stand in a few fair ground queues for kiddie rides that lasted a minute.
What was truly amazing was leaving. Despite the fact that we were trying to get back to the parking lot at the same time as the occupants of 5000 other cars, it was remarkably efficient. We waited in a queue for maybe 5 minutes, got on a bus that drove straight back to the lot, bypassing some heavy traffic, and were straight into our car and away. Made me proud.
I couldn’t help but contrast it to my World Cup experience (did I mention that before…). On leaving the stadium in Berlin there was absolute chaos. Traffic was snarled, the shuttle buses over subscribed, meaning massive angry mobs fighting to get on them. What in Britain, with a larger crowd, took minutes of orderly queues, in German took an hour of frustration. It was icing on the cake of a good day.