Farnborough International Air Show: Supersonic car, anti-aircraft laser debut
The supersonic car 'Bloodhound' was unveiled Monday at the Farnborough International Air Show in Britain. Up in the air, the forthcoming Boeing Dreamliner 787 and the Airbus A400M grabbed eyes.
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The life-size replica is the first-ever public showing and gives a glimpse of the real 42-foot-long jet-engine-powered car expected to be tested next year, says Matthew Knowles of the ADS Group, parent company of the Farnborough International Air Show. “It’s the first time it’s been unveiled,” he says.
Bloodhound project director Richard Noble and test driver Andy Green are the same men behind the ThrustSSC, which set the current record speed for a land vehicle at 763 mph in 1997, making it the first car to officially break the sound barrier. (See video below of the vehicle cruising over the desert.)
The sleek, rocket-shaped car was not to be outdone, however, by appearances of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A400M, whose sales are expected to help the aviation industry recover from two years of financial losses.
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Nearly $89 billion worth of orders was placed at the previous air show in 2008, and an estimated $10 billion in orders was placed today alone, says Mr. Knowles of the ADS Group.
The biennual air show lasts from July 19 to 25 and features more than 1,000 exhibitors and attendants from 38 countries. British Defence Secretary Liam Fox will speak at the event Tuesday, and Baroness Neville-Jones, minister of state for security and counterterrorism, will speak Thursday. The 2008 air show brought together 128,000 trade visitors and 153,000 public visitors, according to Knowles.
The 787 Dreamliner
Perhaps the most anticipated at the Air Show are new aircraft from rivals Boeing and Airbus.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was first unveiled in the US in 2007 and had its maiden flight in December 2009, but this is its first showing overseas. Its Rolls-Royce and General Electric engines are said to emit 20 percent less CO2 than similar-sized jets.
On the military side, the forthcoming Airbus A400M – a four-engine air cargo plane – was also showcased today at Farnborough. The 148-foot-long aircraft has a 139-foot-wingspan and is capable of hauling a load of 81,571 lbs – almost twice the payload of the Hercules C130 military workhorse. It’s already getting attention from the US military.