Aircraft Engineering TH E MONTHLY ORGAN OF THE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSION VOL XXIX No 341 JULY 1957 persuade French people that all is well within French Aviation, rather than a place for the giving of technical information. NCE again we have to report on the Paris air show, the This may be a criticism of the show: it is not intended to imply Salon International de l'Aeronautique held at Le Bourget in criticism of the industry. The organization of the industry is rather Oalternate years. As the years go by it is the international different from ours, but it seems rational enough. The bulk of the aspect which seems to be more and more stressed. This time Ameri production capacity is concentrated in the nationalized concerns, can participation was on a massive scale, and there were exhibits but there are a number of firms, with relatively small works and from practically every country in Western Europe, and a number staff, which carry on design and development work in addition to that from the East. It was this which somewhat overshadowed the not of the nationalized firms. Usually they are also capable of carrying inconsiderable British participation, which must in fact have been out final assembly of airframes, but if they get a large production on a scale as great if not greater than in previous years. We in this order, substantial airframe sections are sub-contracted out, usually country are also at a disadvantage in that we produce relatively few to the national companies. This arrangement enables the state to light aircraft which might appeal to the private buyer, as a result maintain a large enough productive capacity, for expansion if largely of our geography, which is too compact to encourage private necessary, while leaving scope for the enterprising and original aviation. The large scale American participation is made possible by designer who may prefer to be in a private company, or even form the presence of U.S.A.F. units in Europe. All the American aircraft his own. shown were either already based in, or on visits to, Europe, or were exhibited by French agencies. However, one may wonder whether the firms are in fact large enough. We have become used, in this country, to criticisms that our However, the first thing one looks for on this occasion is an industry has too many firms, which are too small to be able efficiently indication of the state of the native industry. France continues to to carry out the design and development of anything as complicated produce most promising designs and develop techniques of great as a modern aircraft. How much more so must this be the case in interest. A number of aircraft are in production on a scale which France, where there are just about the same number of aircraft and would have been unlikely a few years ago; but one hears of orders aero-engine manufacturers, yet the total employment in the industry, being cut back again. Production seems still to depend much more including maintenance and repair shops and government research on the skilled craftsman than on tooling and rational use of factory bodies, is just under 100,000, or 40 per cent of ours. The answer is space. French aircraft have the air of being excellently built, but that a large proportion of the number of firms is involved only in photographs of production lines show lines of assemblies almost lost the production of light aircraft and are of small size: out of fourteen in shops of vast floor area, and surrounded by little more than principal airframe firms listed in an official U.S.I.A. brochure, ten scaffolding. There is a curious sense, perhaps particularly in the have their total staff listed as less than 1,000. The same publication nationalized concerns, that people are designing, building and flying lists eight engine manufacturers, but only two produce indigenous aeroplanes because they are enthusiasts about the aircraft, rather gas turbine engines on any scale, one other piston engines, and than because of any immediate commercial objective. One result of another rocket power plants. The industry can really be said to this was the total absence from Le Bourget of some of the most number about four main productive airframe firms, and three main interesting aircraft (security presumably also has something to do engine firms, with the remainder accounting for only a fraction of with this) and the appearance only at the flying display of others. the total employment. The other important factor is, of course, that One had the feeling that those concerned were more interested in France does not try to produce her own bombers, the type of aircraft carrying on with their flight test programme, than in taking advan which today requires such an immense effort and outlay. As a result tage of a comparatively rare occasion to exhibit their wares. As a of concentrating its technical resources on a limited number of pro result exhibitors were to some extent showing obsolescent aircraft, jects, most of which have an inherent simplicity of conception, or ones we had all seen before. One also felt that aviation was to a however advanced the ideas, the French aircraft industry has become large extent a prestige activity: the slogan on some of the literature a source of some of the most interesting and advanced aircraft flying issued by the organizers, the Union Syndicate des Industries Aero- anywhere in the world today. nautiques, was un pays à le rang de son aviation, 'a country has the standing of its aviation'. Surely it is truer to say that a country has In the report which follows, space has allowed descriptions of only an aircraft industry of a size commensurate to its standing. Less a selection of the aircraft, and very few of the other exhibits. Em consideration seems to be given to the practical and economic phasis has therefore been given to things which have not been seen benefits derived from aviation. before, or which present special points of interest. An attempt has been made to provide the information that a visitor would seek out A general impression from the show was that, as it has expanded for those unable to attend the show. As a result relatively little has in size, it has seemed more important to manufacturers outside been said about British exhibits, since these are better seen at Farn- France that they should be represented, while inside France it is borough, where they are covered more comprehensively. becoming more and more a display, almost a propaganda device, to
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 1957
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