DOMINATING the outside exhibition at Le Bourget was the enormous Antonov An‐225 with the Buran space shuttle on top. Weighing some 600 tonnes and designed to carry loads of up to 250 tonnes, the An‐225 was part of a very extensive Soviet aircraft presence, both on the ground and in the flying display. The only truly new Western airliner was the ATR 72 but many civil and military fixed and rotating‐wing aircraft were making their first appearance at the Paris Show. A variety of products were featured, either with work currently being undertaken or in project form and these were highlighted by the expected launch of the Airbus A321 (stretched A320) and news of turboprop and turbofan regional airliners of around 50 seats to be produced in the next few years. Large engine participation was emphasised by the recently‐named Rolls‐Royce Trent and General Electric announced the development of entirely new engines for use on large twins in the mid‐1990's. Other manufacturers are striving to produce powerplants specifically tailored for the new commuter aircraft. Avionics systems and materials were characterised by new developments, the latter featuring in particular, metal matrix composites.
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