FEATURE: Airshows from the Air

It’s not very often that you get to see an airshow from the air, but when you can, they make for an extremely interesting view. Using satellite imagery, we’ve allowed you to compare images of airshow venues both before and during the shows take place, so you can see just how enormous their impact can be.

EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh, WI, USA (July 2017)

Oshkosh is, simply put, enormous. More than 10,000 aircraft attended in 2015, including 2,668 showplanes. Classic jets and warbirds are located at the western end of Runway 4, with the largest static display aircraft in the Boeing Plaza near the control tower. Amazingly, many of the white spots around the rest of the airfield are the thousands of visiting aircraft.

Biggin Hill Air Fair, Kent, UK (June 2010)

This was the final Air Fair at Biggin, which had long been one of the biggest airshows in the UK. This particular image was taken during the flying displays: note the Red Arrows are in the process of landing, moving closer to the runway edges as they slow down. The Belgian F-16 solo display is lining up to take off next. The other display aircraft are parked along Runway 11, with military static displays on the intersecting taxyway.

Salon du Bourget, Paris, France (June 2017)

The Paris Airshow is the largest of the trade airshows, and this image shows only too clearly how a vast city of tents, halls and chalets are constructed for the week of the show. Permanent static displays at the Le Bourget Air and Space Museum are incorporated into the show’s enormous static display. Note the orange markers, which denote the display line and datum point for the aerial displays.

Singapore Airshow, Changi Exhibition Centre, Singapore (February 2016)

Another of the big trade shows is the Singapore Airshow, at the purpose-built Changi Exhibition Centre. The static display is comparatively much smaller, with larger airliners in the middle to allow them to leave the event easily after the trade days; they taxy onto the main road and then to Changi Airport, which is about a mile to the west.

Aero India, Yelahanka AFS, India (February 2017)

Aero India is one of the smaller trade shows, and also one of the more unusual ones. Public visitors cannot access the static display, watching the show from a field on the far left. Next to that are the grandstands, where VIPs are seated. The static display is to the right of that. The display aircraft are on the far side of the runway: Surya Kiran can be seen here, participating in the show for the first time with the HAL Hawk.

Wings Over Houston, Ellington Field, TX, USA (October 2012)

Wings Over Houston is a large civilian-run show in the US, attracting a varied static display. Larger aircraft on show include a USAF C-5A Galaxy and a NASA 747-100 used to transport the Space Shuttle. At the left hand end are a variety of warbirds. Smaller military statics, such as the V-22 Osprey and A-10 Warthog, are just right of the centre. Note the Blue Angels are parked in front of the crowd, where their pre-show routine is easily visible.

Dubai Airshow, Dubai World Centre, UAE (November 2015)

The Dubai Airshow is held at a purpose-built exhibition site at Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai’s newest international airport. Aside from the impressive static display, which brings together a rare mix of Russian, European and American aircraft, also look out for Al Fursan and Frecce Tricolori, parked in neat lines on the far right. Between them, they’re the only aerobatic teams in the world flying the MB-339.

Adam Landau is a journalism student, lifelong aviation enthusiast and the founder and editor of This is Flight. Images come from Google Earth.