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Wish You Were Here: This Is What Happens at Farnborough

From awards and demonstrations to fancy helmets and oil spills, CNN Travel’s Thom Patterson has the scoop on the latest and greatest in aviation from the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow.

For those not lucky enough to be at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow, CNN Travel’s Thom Patterson has been getting the inside track on what, exactly, happens at one of the world’s most prestigious aviation events.

As the trade segment of the gathering wrapped up on Friday, Patterson toured an Airbus A350 and had a personal Q&A session with a test pilot, who was happy to explain exactly how its systems work.

He also got a glimpse of the latest aviation technology, even trying on a helmet that merges images from six infrared cameras dotted around a Lockheed Martin F-35 to create a single view.

Additionally, Patterson received a peek at what the future holds for commercial aviation. The public can, he says, expect new and improved offerings from Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer.

And then, of course, there were the demonstrations. From nimble jets to the more lumbering passenger planes, Patterson reported on the performances of a variety aircraft.

Not surprisingly, the F-35’s vertical take-off and landing were extremely impressive. “It amazed us…With its single engine at a deafening roar, the plane floated continuously for several minutes over the heads of hundreds of onlookers,” he said of the jet’s performance, a video clip of which can be viewed here.

But according to Patterson, the performance of the Airbus A380 was no less impressive. It might look ungainly in contrast to the agile F-35 but, “when the world’s biggest airliner is turning tightly and pulling steep ascents close to the ground, it’s something to see,” he said.

For something completely different, Patterson even got see to the very last Boeing 727, which is currently in use as part of a U.K.-based cooperative called Oil Spill Response.

But amid all the excitement and even the glamor of the 2016 World Airline Awards, Patterson kept a cool head. He reminded readers that the deals conducted here will “fuel a growing airline industry that flew 3.6 billion passengers around the world last year.”

For those lucky enough to have tickets, the public segment of the airshow begins this weekend.

[Photo: CNN]

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diburning July 15, 2016

I was there today! It got rained out near the end, so we didn't see the Dornier or the 727 fly. It started raining during the Eurofighter Typhoon demonstration. I was kind of disappointed that the Honda Jet, the CSeries, and many other displays had already left. I was very disappointed watching the 737-MAX8 departing while I was going through security. In hindsight, I should have looked up the show schedule and went to the show on a different day.