« | Home | »

Defying the Ground

Tags: | |

At some point in the early 1980s the father of one of my friends took a small gang of us to the Farnborough Airshow. I don’t remember much about it, apart from a vague sense of the thrill of seeing the actual-size, actually flying originals of the shakily-painted plastic models of Second World War planes, pocked with dried glue, that hung from strings sellotaped to my bedroom ceiling and occasionally fell to the carpet with a feeble rip, crack and splinter in the middle of the night. (At around that time I read a wonderful children’s book, title and author now forgotten, in which the narrative – and the young hero’s world – shifted in a dreamlike way between the Second World War and the present. At one point the boy in the novel found himself flying one of his model planes over Nazi Germany, and couldn’t drop the bombs because he’d stuffed them in with too much glue instead of making the plane properly. I could really relate to that.)

I was too young to realise that the flying display and other attractions laid on for the general public over the closing weekend at Farnborough – ‘kids go free’, thanks to Rolls-Royce; give me a child before he is seven etc – are just window-dressing for the serious business of the Airshow, which is about flogging planes. And business this year has been surprisingly good: more than $28 billion of orders placed so far; one of the cash happy customers is the Royal Bank of Scotland, all bailed out and ready for take off, which is spending a prudent $8 billion on a new fleet of jets. Financial crisis? Climate change? Tens of thousands killed in Afghanistan? Huh? Just watch those anti-aircraft laser guns go!

Comments on “Defying the Ground”

  1. Oliver Rivers says:

    In fairness to RBS, it’s buying those jets for its leasing business; they’re not executive playthings.

  2. Camus123 says:

    Missed this last week. But why do you want to be fair to RBS? I hope they sit on the planes and then have to sell them off to Ryanair at a loss.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • Higgs Boatswain on Cold War Ghosts: Although the paranoid fear of the Russian East is undoubtedly a deep-seated nightmare in the psyche of the liberal West, it is not quite so cliched as...
    • Stu Bry on Trump and the Doomsday Machine: Surely the death knell for MAD was the US withdrawal from the ABM treaty in 2002? Reagan had Alzheimers and was under the influence of Teller. Bush...
    • Jeremy Bernstein on Trump and the Doomsday Machine: Let me endorse "The Atomic Cafe'. The test that is described was one of the ones I saw in 1957 in which soldiers were marched the "ground zero" and so...
    • IPFreely on Trump and the Doomsday Machine: So what about a remake of Dr. Strangelove before reality closes in on us? For a very good summary of the nuclear arms race viewed from the American...
    • streetsj on Trump and the Doomsday Machine: Ironically Trump's irrational unpredictability improves the deterrent effect of nuclear weapons. Putin has successfully anticipated that the West woul...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement