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The AERO exhibition is set to kick off with a record number of exhibitors. With 757 exhibitors from 40 countries, this is the largest the international aviation exhibition at Lake Constance has ever been. The proportion of foreign exhibitors is also unprecedented, with every second exhibitor coming from abroad. Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann, head of AERO Roland Bosch and project lead Tobias Bretzel reported ahead of the trade fair that it would feature 50 more exhibitors than in 2017, when the previous record of 707 was set. This represents an increase of seven percent. Every company of significance in general aviation will be in attendance at the fair on the shores of Lake Constance. "The AERO in Friedrichshafen is Europe's largest exhibition for general aviation, and with regard to innovations and premieres, it's the industry's foremost exhibition in the world," said Klaus Wellmann in a press conference.
Even the day before the official opening of the 27th international aviation exhibition AERO (10 to 13 Apr 2019), it presented a few highlights during a media tour. The focus was on modern electric propulsion systems, gliders and motorized aircraft as well as sleek machines for business aviation that drew a lot of attention.
Until Saturday, April 13, the AERO in Friedrichshafen will be presenting many other aircraft from the area of general aviation, too. This category includes all civilian motorized aircraft, helicopters, gliders and sailplanes, ultralights and business jets not used in scheduled or chartered air traffic. One trend at the exhibition is the development of quiet, environmentally friendly electric aircraft.
The hybrid-electric propulsion systems from Siemens eAircraft presented during the media tour are one answer to the challenges facing the aviation industry in the future. They allow the use of alternative energy sources for propulsion. In addition, according to Siemens eAircraft, the physical separation of propulsion from energy generation in hybrid electric aircraft opens up entirely new prospects in aircraft design. That's why the booth of the company features multiple different electric aircraft, all of which are already flying with the help of their hybrid electric propulsion systems.
An entirely new and unusual-looking aircraft to be featured at the AERO is a "flying wing" made by Horten Aircraft from Eisenach, Germany. As the name implies, the design lacks a tail assembly and a definite fuselage, with the pilot's cabin housed inside the airfoil. The improved aerodynamics of this configuration result in lower fuel consumption and thus increased range compared to conventional designs. The two-seater Horten HX-2 is already flying. It comes equipped with a four-cylinder engine that produces 100 horsepower. The choice of Horten Aircraft's company name was quite deliberate: It hearkens back to the Horten brothers of Germany, who first popularized the concept of the flying wing with their gliders of the 1930s.
Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG from Dübendorf is one of the Swiss aircraft makers represented at the AERO. This young company is currently building their second replica of the six-seater Junkers F13, the first all-metal transport plane, which was first constructed in the year 1919. The first F13 replica from Dübendorf is already flying. Working from the original blueprints, they hope to produce at least five units of this classic open-cockpit design. The Junkers booth also features a WACO YMF, a brand-new biplane in the style of the 1930s. The three-seater WACO is available for purchase in both VFR and IFR versions.
Boasting a maximum speed of 610 km/h (330 knots), the new model TBM 940 of the French aircraft maker DAHER is one of the fastest single-turboprop planes in the world. Approved for instrument flying and now also equipped with a fully automatic deicing system for the wings, the TBM 940 can fly in any weather, just like an airliner. As DAHER's top-of-the-line model, the TBM 940 further boasts cutting-edge touchscreen avionics and seats five passengers in addition to the pilot.
Of course, gliders and sailplanes are also part of the AERO. The Arcus is one of the most successful models of Schempp-Hirth, a German company with a long history in the production of gliders. With a wingspan of 20 meters (66 feet), this two-seater comes equipped with a fold-away auxiliary motor, enabling it to take off under its own power without the aid of a tow plane. Once the desired altitude has been attained, the motor can be turned off and stowed inside the fuselage to switch the craft to gliding mode. The Arcus is available with either a combustion engine or an electric engine.
The new G2 version of the Vision Jet from the American aircraft company Cirrus boasts two special features: It's equipped with only a single turbine for thrust, and it's the only business jet in the world to feature an integrated emergency parachute system for the entire plane. If the pilot runs into serious trouble - such as drive failure, bad weather, or sudden health problems - simply manually triggering the emergency system lets the entire plane drift to the ground on its parachute. Capable of speeds up to 560 km/h (302 knots), the single-jet craft can seat up to six passengers in addition to the pilot.
The AERO 2019 will take place from Wednesday, April 10, to Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Friedrichshafen, Germany. It will be open on Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.