One of the things that makes an air show enjoyable is the occasional moment of whimsy and weirdness in between the never-ending walking between chalets, quiet background interviews, and the rocking and rolling roars of military jets flying nearby.
My favorite moment came when I spotted a company with a very unlikely, but highly descriptive name: Perfect Bore. The company had a small display area in Hall 4, one of the four big display areas. I chuckled when I saw the name. In Britain one of the worst sobriquets you can earn is "a perfect bore." I asked the three gentlemen working the booth if their owner had a sense of humor or was just absolutely committed to his work, thus making him "the perfect bore" in the eyes of a culture where work is important but one must appear to succeed effortlessly or at least have a few hobbies on top of being a top-flight engineer.
They laughed and encouraged me to write them up, so I am. The company website, www.pbm-ltd.com, describes a fast-growing company that appears to deliver something precious in the aerospace world -- hard metals and alloys machined to a very high tolerance. So, Perfect Bore wins the virtual trophy for best company name at this year's Farnborough Air Show.
A friend of ours rates the company chalets at the Paris and Farnborough Air Shows for the quality of their wine, food and display personnel, also known pretty universally as attractive women. While we won't stoop quite that low I'll note that Airbus boasted a large complement of display personnel in front of the A380.
But I will offer awards to BAE Systems for something of much more moment. They provided the best press area at the show. BAE offered reliable and easily accessible Internet access, a well lit and comfortable work area, and a never-ending supply of wine, food and desserts, including chilled Kit Kat bars.
However, the best food in a press area award goes to EADS, Their press chalet offered couscous for the health conscious reporter, beautifully curried cream chicken for the regulars and wait staff who generously hovered over reporters offering goodies as soon as one sat down.
Thank you to them and to all the spokespeople, program managers, sources we cannot mention, air show employees and fellow reporters who helped get DoDBuzz through our first air show.