ABOVE: Plastic P-51 made by Scalewings: pictured before being veiled for its unveiling (a hilarious thing we will illustrate later), the 70% scale Mustang with appeal for all those with fighter-pilot (or 007, it appears) fantasies
AERO Friedrichshafen opened today with great hopes that attendance levels for Europe’s – and probably the world’s – greatest general aviation show would be close to pre-Covid level. Notably, the Swedes have arranged to be flown in en masse, supporting the organisers’ claims that 2023 would be ‘more international, bigger and more substantial than ever before’.
Certainly there was no shortage of aircraft and flying stuff on show. We’ll be reporting the sights and sounds in detail, both online and in the June edition of Pilot magazine, but highlights so far for our reporting team include new and newly-certified all electric aircraft, including a Bristell that promises 1.5 hour endurance and the appearance in several different airframes of the 160shp Turbotech turboprop unit, which all but matches Rotax 915 litres-per-hour fuel consumption on much cheaper JetA1.
There may have been fewer all-new aircraft on display – the talk was all about ‘revolution through evolution’ – but novelties were there to be spotted, including the Gyron.Pro swiss-made ‘heavy-duty’ autogryro, the world’s first to feature electric rotor pre-rotation with the potential for true vertical takeoff with a ‘jump start’. (There’s nothing completely new under the sun of course, as Cierva’s autogyros were using a power take off from the engine to do just this in the 1930s.)
The Gyron.Pro has flown: most of the other concepts displayed were computer-generated virtual models, real scale models and mock-ups of aircraft that may never will take off. However, they offer amazement, inspiration and amusement (generally by intention) in equal measure. Full reports to follow!
ALL IMAGES: PHILIP WHITEMAN