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2020 aviation events calendar takes a battering

With social-distancing measures making public events an impossibility at the moment, many aviation shows, events and exhibitions have been forced to cancel. Some, however, have been suspended rather than written-off and so may yet take place at a later date this year. Here’s a round-up of what the current aviation events calendar looks like. 


The big shows


Farnborough International Airshow – cancelled

The largest European air show due to take place this year was Farnborough International Airshow. As the UK’s principal aerospace event, and one of the largest in the world, it attracts exhibitors and visitors from across the globe and so was clearly under threat from the moment the pandemic was confirmed. Although not due to take place until July, a show of this size requires a Herculean level of organisation, which requires a lead-in of months rather than weeks, and so it was deemed somewhat inevitable that it would have to be cancelled. The event will now not return to the UK until 2022 as the event moves to Paris on alternate years.


RIAT – cancelled

The Royal International Air Tattoo, due to take place late July, is billed as the world’s largest military air show, and so, just like Farnborough, attracts exhibits and visitors from around the globe. This year it was due to be supported by 254 aircraft from 25 countries, and all of these countries were suffering under the impact of the coronavirus at the time of the cancellation.


Aero Friedrichshafen – cancelled

Europe’s largest General Aviation show, Aero Friedrichshafen, is in a similar position to Farnborough and RIAT, in that it draws exhibitors and visitors from across the world, and so was an inevitable casualty to the coronavirus this year. Due to take place early April, the organisers initially decided to postpone rather than cancel the event, but as the pandemic situation worsened last month, the decision to cancel in entirety for this year was made. The show will return year and take place 17-21 April 2021.


EBACE – cancelled

Europe’s principle business aviation show, EBACE, held each May in Geneva, Switzerland, has been cancelled. The two organisations behind the show – the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) – say that they jointly took the decision to cancel and have secured a guarantee from their event key sponsors that visitors and exhibitors would all receive full refunds.


SUNnFUN Aerospace Expo – cancelled

SUN’n’FUN annual event is another large event that has been forced to cancel for 2020. Based in Florida, US, the event raises around $2m each year to fund aerospace STEM initiatives for young people and has been a stalwart GA event for nearly 50 years. The event was scheduled to take place 05-10 May 2020.


EAA AirVenture Oshkosh – under consideration

Billed as the world’s largest air show, Oshkosh has been established on the North American calendar since 1953. Due to take place in late July, for the moment the event organisers, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), have said that it is too early to confirm that the event can go ahead or will need to be cancelled. EAA Chairman and CEO Jack Pelton (former boss of Cessna Aircraft) says that they will until the end of April / early May before they need to make a decision.


The medium-sized shows


AeroExpo UK & RotorTech UK – cancelled

On 20 March the organiser confirmed that both shows had been cancelled for this year. RotorTech UK and AeroExpo UK were due to take place at Wycombe Air Park on 10-12 & 11-13 July respectively. The event organisers said: “Recent events surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK mean that unfortunately we have taken the tough decision to cancel AeroExpo UK 2020 and its sister event RotorTech UK 2020. However, they will be back next year on 10 – 12 June 2021.

“A full refund will be made for Tickets purchased and Landing Fees paid for the 2020 Show. Our Finance team will be dealing with these over the next one to two weeks. If you have not received a refund by 6 April please email: [email protected]


Pilot Careers Live 2020 – open / postponed / cancelled

Pilot Careers Live events are Europe’s premier series of flight training exhibitions, held at venues in Dublin, Dusseldorf, London, Madrid, Manchester and Rome. The Dublin event managed to go ahead as normal on 07 March, but others have either been cancelled or postponed until later in the year:

  • PCL Dublin – completed (07 March 2020)
  • PCL Dusseldorf – postponed (was due to take place 21 March 2020)
  • PCL London (Spring) – cancelled (was due to take place 18 April 2020)
  • PCL Madrid – postponed (was due to take 09 May 2020)
  • PCL Manchester – currently still on, scheduled to take place on 04 July 2020
  • PCL Rome – date to be confirmed but currently still on
  • PCL London (Autumn) – November date to be confirmed but currently still on

The organisers have confirmed that tickets refunds for cancelled shows will be offered shortly. https://www.pilotcareernews.com/live/


General Aviation Expo – postponed

The new Duxford Aerodrome-held event, due to have its second outing on 25 April, has been postponed for the time being, the organisers have confirmed: “In line with the latest advice issued by the Government and Public Health England, General Aviation Expo at IWM Duxford due to take place on 25 April has been postponed. We are sorry for any disappointment, but we are working with suppliers, presenters and exhibitors to find a new date in the future.”


International Eurostar EV-97 Fly-In 2020 – cancelled

Over the weekend of 25/26 April 2020, hundreds of EV-97 Eurostars were due to congregate at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire for the club’s fifth annual fly-in. The event is now cancelled for 2020.


Microlight Trade Fair – cancelled

The ubiquitous Microlight Trade Fair, held every May at Popham airfield in Hampshire, has been cancelled for this year. The event, run by the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA), is also generally used to host the BMAA’s Annual General Meeting, which the association says will now be held separately, with details to follow on the association’s website: www.bmaa.org


The LAA Sywell International Rally 2020 – still open

As it doesn’t take place until September each year, there is still hope that the 2020 LAA Rally can go ahead this year. Scheduled to run from 04-06 September at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire, the annual showcase event for the UK’s Light Aircraft Association normally attracts many hundreds of aircraft and many thousands of walk-in visitors.


The smaller shows

Smaller shows have the advantage of requiring less lead-time to organise and deliver and so can be more reactive than the larger shows. While it seems highly unlikely that any events will run before June this year at the earliest, hopefully those scheduled for later in the year will still be able to take place. The majority of the smaller shows tend to be airfield fly-ins, which clearly should be able to resume as soon as the social-distancing measures can be lifted.

Away from fly-ins, the most active series of small events each year are the General Aviation Safety Evenings run by the General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo). GASCo, under contract with the CAA, normally run in excess of 50 Safety Evenings each winter/spring, designed to provide an opportunity for pilots and students to reflect on General Aviation safety as it affects them and the people they fly with. The events take place around the UK, normally at airfield clubhouses. Over the 2019/2020 winter period GASCo managed to deliver 28 out of a planned 56 Safety Evenings, before they had to call a halt due to the pandemic. FTN understands that GASCo are currently exploring the possibility of delivering these Safety Evenings online via video conferencing in the future.

Author: FTN Editor

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