The Spirit of American A&D: 2019 Paris Air Show Recap

With the same Spirit that Charles Lindbergh brought to Le Bourget in 1927, the U.S. contingent landed at the 2019 Paris Air Show bringing the best of American ingenuity and innovation.

If you had the chance to walk the runways at Le Bourget during the show, you saw American aerospace and defense innovation on full display.

If you’re like most people, your experience with an air show has probably come as a spectator of the awe-inspiring flying displays. But there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes. That’s why we’ve been using our blog and Twitter account over the past few weeks to try to pull back the curtain on how air shows actually work.

AIA has long participated in the Paris Air Show to support American industry, and the schedule is jam-packed with activity. As the convener of choice for the U.S. delegation, AIA hosted multiple roundtables between industry executives and high-level government officials to strengthen relationships and solidify partnerships for the future. Roundtable topics ranged from NASA’s plans for the Moon, Mars and beyond, to the key role Ex-Im Bank’s plays within our industry.

For the duration of the show, we proudly coordinate the Department of Defense Corral, which this year hosted the F-15, KC-46, P-8, CH-47, AH-64, C-130J, C-130H and F-35. These aircraft not only feature the latest in military technology but highlight the wide-range of American aerospace and defense’s contributions to our world. Just as important as showcasing these platforms, we get to host the women and men who maintain and fly them.

The aircrew in Paris featured members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force, who spoke with militaries from other countries, hosted the U.S. government leaders who made the trip across the Atlantic, and inspired the children who marveled at the aircraft from a distance.

In addition to our members who manufacture the military and civilian aircraft on display, the show is also an important moment for our Supplier Management Council (SMC) members – the companies that represent the backbone of our industry. While the large aircraft get the most attention, it’s not every day that you get to see the smaller parts that allow them to fly. From nuts and bolts to landing gear, engine fuel pumps and computer systems, our SMC members the critical pieces aircraft rely on, and had the opportunity to interact with the companies that use their products daily.

Finally, for AIA, we get to cap off the week with the International Rocketry Challenge (IRC), supporting the students who will one day be building, designing, or flying the aircraft you see at the show. The IRC is a global STEM competition featuring some of the brightest young minds from across the globe. Teams from the U.S., UK, Japan and France faced off on the Le Bourget runway to take the title of top rocketry team in the world. For the first time, the team from the United Kingdom took the crown in what was the closest margin in contest history – coming down to a difference of less than 8 feet! The U.S. team made us all proud, securing their spot as the second-best team in the world, and motivating our young rocketeers from Madison, Wisconsin to come back looking for gold in 2020.

Air shows are an incredibly special time for the aerospace and defense industry. It’s not every day that you walk outside your office and see some of the most cutting-edge aircraft on Earth and beyond, and the dedicated men and women who are changing our world.

The 2019 Paris Air Show was bigger than anything we’ve done in the past, and our sights are already set on making the 2020 Farnborough Air Show an even more effective showcase for American industry innovation.