An impressive array of aircraft from the Soviet Union were the early birds at the 30th -- and biggest -- International Air Show which opened in Paris on Thursday (24 May).
An impressive array of aircraft from the Soviet Union were the early birds at the 30th -- and biggest -- International Air Show which opened in Paris on Thursday (24 May). Russia was first out of the 20 or so countries to fly its aircraft in to what has become one of the world's major shop windows for the aviation industry.
Russia's TU 144 vied with the Anglo-French Concords for attention in the supersonic airliner class. Aviation experts noted that the production model of the TU 144 on show in Paris had been lengthened by more than 15 feet (5 metres) to carry 40 more passengers than its Western rival, Concords.
In a major drive to attract western customers, the Russians also showed the M-200 high density version of the Ilyushin IL 62 long-range airliner and its heavier comrades, the Il 76 cargo transport. The Soviet authorities were expected to invite Western airline executives to fly in "Concordaki" (the TU 144) for the first time at the show.
Among United States exhibits were the rival "tri-jets" -- the Lockheed Tri-Star and the McDonnel Douglas DC-10 -- competing for European orders.
On the military side, Saab of Sweden sent the Viggen supersonics combat aircraft. The Untied States' strong military presence included the Northop F-5E Tiger II, which is to replace the F-5a currently in service with various NATO's air forces and U.S. tactical fighter units. Britain unveiled the new mark four training version of the Hawkar Siddley Harrier vertical take-off jet.
The West German Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm consortium sent both civil and military versions of its BO 105 light helicopter. Among the U.S. helicopters was the tiny Aero Super 72.