The Paris Air Show opened on 15 June with a tribute to Jacques Rosay, an Airbus test pilot since 1995, who died on 12 June at the age of 66. It was he who was in command of the A380 on its first test flight. During his career he flew over 150 different types of civil and military aircraft. In 2000, he was appointed Vice President Chief Test Pilot of Airbus’ flight test division. Despite this impressive record, the man managed to remain simple, modest and approachable. Airbus has decided to dedicate all of this year’s A380 demonstration flights at the show to him.
The show was inaugurated on 15 June by the French president, François Hollande, who arrived on board a test A350. He then went to meet many of the industrialists and praised the excellence and dynamism of the French aerospace industry. Market forecasts differed somewhat between those of John Leahy, the Airbus COO, and those of Boeing. The European constructor is optimistic and foresees orders for more than 1,500 new very large aircraft over the next 20 years; a clear reference to both the A380 and Boeing 747. This is three times more than Airbus’ US rival has predicted.
Concerning equipment manufacturers, the German company Liebherr Aerospace, has announced that it will supply Boeing with two flight control components (the power drive unit and the hydraulic motor) of the future 777X. They will also design and manufacture the actuation equipment and locking system of the aircraft’s unusual folding wingtips, which Boeing initiated to reduce the 72-metre (236 feet) fully extended wing span by 7 metres (23 feet) in order to facilitate its taxiing. Nicolas Bonleux, Managing Director of Liebherr Aerospace & Transportation: "Once the plane lands, the system allows it to fold the wings very quickly so that it can be integrated into the airport’s traffic. Upon departure, before the approaching the runway for take-off, it will re-deploy and lock the wingtips in the extended position throughout the flight."
Airbus has taken advantage of this event to officially launch its regional A330. Under wraps for two years, this 'lighter' version of the twin-jet will carry more passengers (400 instead of 300), but over a shorter distance [ 5,500 km (3,400 miles) instead of 11,000 (6,800 mile ) ]. Saudi Arabian has ordered 20 units. Regarding orders, the turboprop manufacturer, ATR, announced contracts worth nearly two billion dollars on the show’s first day, emanating from 46 firm orders and 35 options in total. Japan Air Commuter, a Japan Airlines subsidiary has ordered eight aircraft. This is ATR’s first sale to Japan. Pending the upcoming announcements that will punctuate the show’s second day, the following are a drone’s eye view of Le Bourget.