Commercial air show
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Paris–Le Bourget Airport
Paris–Le Bourget Airport
Le Bourget, Paris (since 1953)
1909; 108 years ago (1909)
8 Rue Galilée, 75116 Paris, France
Open today · 9AM–6PMThursday9AM–6PMFriday9AM–6PMSaturdayClosedSundayClosedMonday9AM–6PMTuesday9AM–6PMWednesday9AM–6PMSuggest an edit
Musée de l’air et de l’espace, China International Aviation, Grand Palais, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, La Défense
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The Paris Air Show (Salon international de l'aéronautique et de l'espace de Paris-Le Bourget, Salon du Bourget) claims to be the world's calendar-oldest air show. Established in 1909, it is currently held every odd year at Le Bourget Airport in north Paris, France. The 2015 Paris Air Show, from 15–21 June 2015, became the 51st.
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- 1973 crash
The format is similar to the Farnborough International Airshow in Britain and the ILA Berlin Air Show, both of which are staged in alternate years to the Paris show. The Paris event starts with four professional days closed to the general public, and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday the public, including children, are allowed in.
The Paris Air Show is organised by the French aerospace industry's primary representative body, the Groupement des industries françaises aéronautiques et spatiales (GIFAS). According to GIFAS, the 2011 Paris show attracted 151,500 professional visitors and 204,000 members of the general public, and 3,250 journalists from 80 countries.
It is a large commercial event, with a major purpose being to demonstrate military and civilian aircraft to potential customers. It claims to be the most prestigious aircraft exposition in the world. Major aircraft sales contracts are announced by manufacturers during the show. All major international manufacturers, as well as representatives of the military forces of many countries, attend the Paris Air Show.
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The Paris Air Show traces its history back to the first decade of the 20th century. In 1908 a section of the Paris Motor Show was dedicated to aircraft. The following year, a dedicated air show was held at the Grand Palais from 25 September to 17 October, during which 100,000 visitors turned out to see products and innovations from 380 exhibitors. There were four further shows before the First World War. The show restarted in 1919, and from 1924 it was held every two years before being interrupted again by the Second World War. It restarted again in 1946 and since 1949, has been held in every odd year.
The air show continued to be held at the Grand Palais, and from 1949 flying demonstrations were staged at Paris Orly Airport. In 1953, the show was relocated from the Grand Palais to Le Bourget. Since the 1970s, the show emerged as the main international reference of the aeronautical sector.
The 2015 edition of the Salon blasted all records so far, with 351 584 visitors, over 2300 exhibitors, 122 500 square meters of exhibition space, 4359 journalists from 72 countries and 130 billion euros in purchases, consolidating its leadership as world's biggest marketplace in aeronautics.
Among major accidents, there were two crashes of Convair B-58 Hustler bombers, in 1961 (during aerobatics) and 1965 (during landing).
At the Paris Air Show on June 3, 1973, the second Tupolev Tu-144 production aircraft (registration SSSR-77102) crashed during its display. It stalled while attempting a rapid climb. Trying to pull out of the subsequent dive, the aircraft broke up and crashed, destroying 15 houses and killing all six on board and eight on the ground; a further sixty people received serious injuries.
The cause of this accident remains controversial. Theories include: the Tu-144 climbed to avoid a French Mirage chase plane whose pilot was attempting to photograph it; that changes had been made by the ground engineering team to the auto-stabilisation circuits to allow the Tu-144 to outperform the Concorde in the display circuit; and that the crew were attempting a manoeuvre—to outshine the Concorde—that was beyond the aircraft's capabilities.
A Mikoyan MiG-29 crashed during a demonstration flight with no loss of life. The then Soviet space shuttle Buran and its carrier aircraft the Antonov An-225 were displayed.