29 Jul Farnborough Air Show: Wings of destiny with the Fujinon 100-400
The last time I went to the Farnborough Airshow I had a storming hangover. I took my son who would then have been about nine. I was in such a poor state that at one point I found a nice grassy knoll (we have ’em here too) and lay down upon it to watch the aircraft more or less overhead. I put my camera bag under my head and, well, I must have dozed off because the next thing I knew he was shaking me awake with the words “Dad! You’re missing the Harriers!!”. Indeed I was.
They used to do this little trick where they would slowly slide sideways along the flightline in front of the awed crowd, doing a little bow every 50 yards or so. The noise from the Pegasus engines was beyond deafening. It distorted reality, led to small dogs in the neighbourhood losing bowel control and caused a harmonic thrumming in your chest that I’ve only ever felt before at a Rolling Stones concert.
The F35B Lightning is a much more refined affair. When it hovers it hangs in the air, to borrow a turn of phrase from the late lamented Douglas Adams, “the way bricks don’t”. It is steadier than a rock and pirouettes about its centre of gravity as if it is a 1/72nd scale model suspended from a teenager’s ceiling on a piece of fishing line. Compared to the pilot in the Harrier, who was doing it all by hand and eye and working the controls