Much in British aviation has changed, but Farnborough, somehow, is a constant. ‘Somehow’ seems apposite, because one might think there are better venues at which to stage Britain’s major aerospace showcase — larger airfields, certainly, with far less urban encroachment in the locality, and thus the chance of hosting flying displays of a more unrestricted nature than are possible at the Hampshire airport. But there has never been any serious possibility of a move. Relative proximity to London is undoubtedly important, and now Farnborough International Ltd has invested so much in providing permanent exhibition facilities for the event, its future seems secure. And, even in the modern corporate world, tradition can still play a part. The Farnborough ‘brand’ means more to the industry than would the name of any other location.
When the then Society of British Aircraft Constructors SBAC decided to move its 1948 exhibition and display to Farnborough, the reasons were obvious. It offered scope to expand the show way beyond what was possible at Radlett, its home from 1946-47. Traffic access was far superior and, crucially, 1948 would see the holding of public days for the first time. Aeroplane‘s ancestor The Aeroplane was there, and its photography and reportage help inform our look back at the 1948 event in the July issue, accompanied by Denis Calvert’s reflections on personal highlights of Farnborough shows past.