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Raining in Paris

Monday, June 15, 2009

A steady rain welcomed visitors to the Paris Air Show at La Bourget Airport in France this morning. The wet, gloomy weather matched the somber tone of recent events.

The crash of an Air France jet over the Atlantic earlier this month combined with the struggling commercial avionics/aircraft market has subdued the mood of delegates to the 100th Paris Air Show.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) continue to create quite a bit of buzz and long-term outlooks for manned military aircraft programs appear to be strong. One of Boeing's first announcements at the show this year was the formation of their Unmanned Airborne Systems division.

But the best thing of all about any air show is that you get watch cool planes take off -- if you're into that sort of thing.

This my first trip to the Paris event and being a journalist gives me the best seat in the house. As I write this I hear jets taking off right outside my window in the press tent.

There is also a balcony above me that once the rain stops provides the most excellent perch to see the live aerodynamics. Everything from new Air France cargo planes to zero gravity planes to Tigre helicopters are on display.

My first air show more than 20 years ago in Reading, Pa., was great fun, but there weren't European Space Agency Rockets parked outside the terminal.

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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.

John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.