FIDAE 2012 “on short final”!
|Thursday 8 March 2012||Text by Carlos Ay under Air shows & aviation events|
Work is on “short final approach” for the XVII International Air & Space Fair (XVII Feria Internacional del Aire y el Espacio, or FIDAE 2012), which will be dedicated on Tuesday 27 March 2012 in the Northern area of “Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez” International Airport, Santiago de Chile. With news and rumours now flowing at an increasing speed, we deliver this last and final update to the countdown launched in early-December 2011 (see “Countdown to FIDAE 2012 begins!” and “T minus 3 months to FIDAE 2012!”). Relevant additions arising in coming weeks will be inserted into this report’s tables below and be announced through our Facebook and Twitter boards.
Contrary to our “conservative” December forecast, the target number of exhibitors and exhibiting nations (400) and 40, respectively) was reached by 9 February, with a further 130 exhibitors and 2 nations added through early March. Eighty per cent of the participating entities should come from the USA (105 exhibitors registered so far), Chile (82), Brazil (50), Argentina (36), France (29), Germany (27), Spain (24), Uruguay (22), Israel (17), UK (16), Russia (14) and Canada (11). The remaining 20% would originate in 29 other nations (92 exhibitors) and the European Union (6). As noted in earlier reports, government and trade unions participation will be on the rise, as evinced by close to 30 exhibitors and several national pavilions belonging to defence, technology, industry and infrastructure ministries, trade promotion agencies, commerce chambers and aeronautical trade unions from 16 participating nations. Defence and security services participation is also guaranteed: In addition to the aircraft confirmations below, the Uruguay Air Force and Naval Aviation and all Chilean defence and security services are registered exhibitors. Odd as it may seem, however, China has so far logged only two participating exhibitors…
Confirmed aircraft exhibitions
- The first aircraft to be announced as destined for display in FIDAE 2012 was the Pilatus PC-12 NG. A FIDAE press release revealed on 30 September 2011 that the Swiss turboprop will be exhibited in two different configurations (executive transportation and ambulance/medical evacuation).
- The Chilean Air Force “Halcones” (Hawks) aerobatics team is also a confirmed participant. Even though team demonstrations were suspended following the tragic loss of lieutenant Cristian “Perceval” Padilla Bravo on 9 November 2011, a post in the “Halcones” Facebook wall said on 27 November 2011 that the team was then “training so as to [get back into] operational [status for] FIDAE 2012”. The team was noted flying again on 4 March during a FACH anniversary ceremony in downtown Santiago.
- Consistent with its selection as a candidate for the FACH LIFT competition, Chilean press reported on 7 January that Korean Aerospace Industries was purportedly planning to display at least two of their T-50 Golden Eagle jets.
- Loyal to tradition, the Brazilian Air Force “Fumaça” (Smoke) aerobatics team is also set to participate in FIDAE 2012. Even though the flight press link would not respond a several e-mails asking for confirmation, their display agenda had the 27 March to 1 April week reserved for FIDAE when checked on 9 February.
- Upon announcing its appointment as Piper’s new Chilean dealer, Eagle Copters revealed on 6 February that it will be exhibiting the Archer LX single-engined four seater at the fair.
- A Chilean Air Force press release said on 14 February that the service’s paratrooper demonstration team, the “Boinas Azules” (Blue Berets), had completed its training programme and was ready for FIDAE 2012 (the team traditionally employs a service DHC-6 Twin Otter for its displays).
- Confirming one of our speculations, Boeing announced on 22 February that 787 Dreamliner prototype N787BX will be featured at FIDAE “to kick off the fifth segment” of the Dream Tour. Arrival is scheduled for Monday 26 March at 10am.
- Also on 22 February, Spanish press revealed that the Uruguayan Air Force will be tasked with carrying the Uruguayan Pavilion and delegation to the show, so an unspecified number of military transport aircraft from that service is likely to show up in Pudahuel.
- From sightings recorded in Pudahuel 4 through 16 March, it is hoped that FACH will also be showing its third and last KC-135E Stratotanker (recently-delivered serial number 982), a Learjet 35A recently repainted in the now classical overall grey colour scheme (serial 351) and an as yet unidentified UH-1H Huey in overall white United Nations livery.
- In a 6 March interview with El Mercurio, FIDAE 2012 CEO Jean Pierre Desgroux Ycaza said AgustaWestland, Bell and Eurocopter will be showing 10 different (yet unspecified) helicopter types.
- After several months of social media speculation, Airbus announced on 8 March it will be showing A380 prototype F-WWEA and A400M military freighter prototype EC-402 “Grizzly Two” (static only). Aircraft will arrive on 24 at 5pm and 26 March and depart on 29 and 28 March, respectively.
- In addition to the entry further above, Bell Helicopter revealed they “will have a Bell 429 and Bell 407AH at the show” in a brief 9 March press contact.
- Our colleagues at Aviación Total announced on 11 March that Alenia was to demonstrate or exhibit their C-27J Spartan cargo aircraft at the show.
- Additional to their earlier announcement, Eagle Copters twitted on 11 March that they will also be featuring a Robinson R44 Raven II and a R66 Turbine at the show.
- The preservation side started recording activity on 16 March when an unidentified FACH Mirage 5MA Elkan was first noted in Pudahuel’s tarmac. It is hoped that Grupo 10’s recently restored C-47 Skytrain will also be exhibited during the show (the aircraft was being treated by ENAER during FIDAE 2010).
- More interestingly, though, Airbus could increase its exhibition roster with A340-300 prototype F-WWIA, which was noted operating out of Pudahuel 6 through 16 March while on a number of composites acoustic panel flight tests.
- Embraer announced on 20 March that their “entry level Phenom 100 and [newcomer] light Phenom 300 executive aircraft [will be] on display in the static exhibit area”.
- Also on 20 March, Eurocopter issued a juicy communiqué revealing they will be showing a Brazilian Air Force EC725 Cougar as well as the civilian EC135, AS365-N3 Dauphin and EC130-T2 models.
- Participating in the flying display, in turn, will be the AS350-B3 Ecureuil and the EC130-B4 variants from the Marignane-based manufacturer.
- Check the following Facebook photo album for illustrations on some of the aircraft in this table.
Noteworthy entities in the exhibitors register (last checked on 1 March) include Aerolíneas Argentinas, Cielos Puntanos, Citidef, Córdoba Aircraft, Alas Flying School, FAdeA, Invap, Parque Industrial Tecnológico Aeronáutico Morón and Redimec (Argentina), Gippsland (Australia), Airborne Technologies (Austria), KB Radar (Belorussia), Avibras, Embraer, Mectron, TAM and Turbomeca do Brasil (Brazil), Bombardier, CAE, L-3 Communications Wescam, Nav Canada, Searidge Technologies and Viking Air (Canada), Aerocardal, Aeroservicio, EagleCopters, Enaer, LAN Airlines and Aviasur (Chile), Airbus, EADS and Eurocopter (Europe), MBDA, Snecma and Thales (France), Diehl and Grob (Germany), Theon Sensors (Greece), Brahmos Aerospace (India), Elbit, IAI, IMI, IWI, Meprolight and Rafael (Israel), AgustaWestland, Alenia Aermacchi and Finmeccanica (Italy), Korea Aerospace Industries (Korea), NAG (Netherlands), Kongsberg (Norway), Seman (Peru), Romaero (Romania), Irkut, Rosoboronexport, Russian Helicopters, Sukhoi, Tactical Missiles Corp. and United Aircraft Corp. (Russia), Armscor (South Africa), Expal, Indra, ITP and Navantia (Spain), Saab (Sweden), Pilatus and Ruag Aviation (Switzerland), BAE Systems and Martin Baker (UK), Antonov (Ukraine), Aeromas, Aeromont and Punta del Este Flight School (Uruguay), Aviall, Bell, Boeing, Cirrus, Daher-Socata, FlightSafety, FLIR Systems, Frasca, General Atomics, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins and Sikorsky (USA).
Among several newcomers to FIDAE 2012, General Atomics confirmed they will be promoting their Predator XP and Griffin Eye intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, which a company brief said “are approved and licensed by the U.S. Government [for] a broader customer base, including Latin America, the Middle East, and North African regions”. Predator XP is a derivative of General Atomics flagship RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial system flown by USAF since 1995, while Griffin Eye “consists of a state-of-the-art Hawker Beechcraft King Air aircraft equipped with an Integrated Mission Sensor Payload (IMSP) sensor suite featuring a sensor package similar to that of Predator XP”. Even though the company’s exhibitions will be restricted to 1/6th scale models and a modest booth, General Atomics said it was making these systems available “to support national security missions and protect critical infrastructure for a wide array of countries”. Also in the ISR arena, Indra said that it will be showing its MRI manned project (a maritime surveillance suite installed on an Italian-built Tecnam P2006T twin-turboprop) and the Mantis mini-UAV solution alongside other radar, air traffic control, command, control, communications and intelligence projects and services.
Conferences, seminars & other convention and media events
- 27 March 10am: “Air Cargo in Chile: Strategies for cargo infrastructure development in airports”.
- 27 March 12am: Airbus A380 press briefing & visits.
- 27 March 12am: Joint LAN/Boeing/Rolls Royce briefing.
- 27 March 2pm: “Benefits of the use of space technology for the development of countries”.
- 27 March 2pm: Embraer Phenom 300 press conference.
- 27 March 2pm: Dreamliner press tours.
- 27 March 3pm: “XIV American Air Forces Logistics Commanders Conference”.
- 27 March 3pm: Embraer press conference #1.
- 27 March 4pm: Boeing market and 787 Dreamliner product overviews.
- 28 March 10am: Irkut conference.
- 28 March 10am: Embraer press conference #2.
- 28 March 10:30am: IATA press conference, featuring CEO Tony Tyler.
- 28 March 11am: Russian delegation press conference.
- 28 March 11am: “Development and space technologies: Opportunities for the region”.
- 28 March 12pm: Chilean Air Force Boeing KC-135 Program/Sustaining the Tanker Fleet Worldwide.
- 28 March 1pm: “Russian helicopters superior performance under harsh conditions” conference.
- 28 March 3pm: “Wings of Change” press conference.
- 28 March 4pm: “Certification of División Turbos as an authorized Turbomeca repair station” conference.
- 28 through 30 March: VII Summit of Latin American and Caribbean Aviation “IATA Wings of Change”.
- 28 through 30 March: III Aerospace Medical Sciences Congress.
- 29 March 9am: “Geo-intelligence: Information for taking decisions in the face of natural disasters”.
- 29 March: Eurocopter Ecureuil customer event (featuring 100 regional guests).
From the confirmed aircraft table further above, it is now clear that Boeing will not be delivering any Dreamliners to LAN Airlines during the fair. Not only has the Chilean carrier cut 2012 deliveries down from five to two and scheduled them to start in September, but the aircraft themselves are very early build items which are presently undergoing change incorporation and re-work at Boeing’s Everett plant. The first Dreamliner operator in the region, LAN will nonetheless use FIDAE 2012 to reveal plans and routes for its 787 fleet and will also show an interactive stand where the public will be able to interact with the type’s innovative cabin incorporating time contextual lighting, 40% larger windows, 30% more carry-on luggage space, improved atmosphere and noise control, harmonious design, etc. Another fairly solid prospect is the Chilean Navy’s EADS/CASA C295MPA/ASW, which was identified in our initial preview and local sources now report as a confirmed attendant.
Newcomer AgSur, a regional dealer for Air Tractor aircraft and Crosslands crop-spraying accessories, will be promoting Air Tractor’s top-of-the-line AT-802 and AT-1002 turboprops for a variety of civil and military applications. In addition to the Dreamliner, Boeing will again “have the F/A-18 Super Hornet simulator” at their booth and “will be hosting a briefing on the KC-135” tanker. Also in the flight simulator business, Entrol (one of 18 firms in the Spanish pavilion) will be looking to “contact complementary businesses in the aviation and defence market [to cooperate] in future South American projects”. And Tekplus Aerospace, another Spanish delegate, will promote their ISR/UAV solution, Centauro.
Israel, a relevant, long-standing FIDAE participant in the weapons systems arena is expected to stand out again in FIDAE 2012. This year, Rafael will be showing a wide range of airborne missile and weapon, air defence and ISR solutions, including Python 5, Derby and Spike missiles, Reccelite, Litening and Toplite pods and Spyder air defence systems. And IAI/Israel Aircraft Industries also promises to advertise a number of air defence, early warning and control, ISR, smart weapons, unmanned aerial and radar solutions, including Barak-8 (air defence), CAEW (early warning), Harop and Spice (smart munitions), Heron and Panther (UAVs), etc. In addition to an as yet undetermined number of aircraft, the Chilean Navy promises to present an automated ship borne helicopter capture project jointly developed with the University of Concepción.
German technology firm Aerodata is likely to publicize several of its on-going or most recent integration projects, including search and rescue Dornier 328s, King Air 350i and Let 410 flight inspection systems and an ambitious fleet + information technology + communications integration initiative for German Airline, Air Berlin. Most interesting, though, the company is expected to provide additional background on AeroMission, the maritime surveillance mission equipment package to be installed on a King Air 350ER that, according to a company bulletin, will be delivered to Argentina’s Coast Guard “in the second half of 2013”. Smiths Detection dealer Aerotech will reveal an advanced “airport security terminal” integrating state-of-the-art BodyScan 16HRDV X-Ray body scanners, drugs and explosives detectors, VHF/AM communications suites, high-definition TV cameras and robots. Spain’s Indra and Chile’s Civil Aviation Authority are also expected to celebrate a recently-allocated contract for installation of an S-mode secondary air traffic control radar in the Concepción area (Southern Chile), with delivery planned for the remainder of the year.
Completing/correcting our earlier previews, visitor access will be restricted to paying professionals between Tuesday 27 and Friday 30, while the general public will be able to do so on the 31 March-1 April week end. Gates will open for the paying visitor at 10am (except on Tuesday 27, when they will do so at 12pm) and close at 5pm. Tickets will sell for $ 13,000 in local currency (US $ 27 at present exchange rates) for professional days and for $ 5,000 (US $ 10) for adults or $ 3,000 (US $ 6) for children and seniors during the weekend (no multi-day passes will be available). For those interested in advanced or remote purchase of tickets, Ticketpro was appointed to sell them via Internet with a 10% service surcharge, although El Mercurio Readers Club members will enjoy a 20% discount. Addressing overcrowding and traffic jams concerns, CEO J. P. Desgroux said on 6 March that parking facilities were re-sized to accommodate up to 60,000 visiting people per day on peak weekend days. Those preparations notwithstanding, visible in the airport’s web site on 17 March was a news release recommending airline passengers to anticipate their arrival into the terminal so as to prevent “a delayed check-in” (Spanish version only)…
Sources: Aerotendencias, Airbus (official), Aviación Total, Aviation Week, Boeing (official), Eagle Copters South America (official), EDEFA/Defensa, El Mercurio, Embraer (official), Enaer (official), Esquadrilha da Fumaça (official), Eurocopter (official), FIDAE (official), FACH (official), General Atomics Aeronautical (official), Gustavo Lepez (blog), Indra (official), Piper Aircraft (official), Ricardo J. del Piano (blog), SEMA, SCL (official), Tecnam (official), Ticketpro (official), Travel Blackboard, UPI and Uresh Sheth (blog). DAD – Baires Aviation Photography and Luis Quintana also contributed to this report, which was last and finally updated on 21 March 2012.