As a way to combine trips to (sometimes) far-flung places, with like-minded enthusiasts for company, aviation tour companies offer a great outlet for our hobby.
Some of the better known companies operating in the UK are:
Ian Allan Tours
The Aviation Society
The immediate benefits of taking one of these tours, first and foremost, include the potential quality of the aircraft you’ll see. Whilst everyone’s logbooks contain different aircraft, the beauty of aviation tours is that you can pick somewhere that will be beneficial to you.
Another big benefit is that most organisations pre-arrange access to areas that would otherwise be restricted to the enthusiast, such as airside ramp tours at airports, access to private collections and museums, or manufacturers. Having all of this takes a massive headache out of organising trips on your own, and is undoubtedly more beneficial to your logbook and photograph collections.
The biggest arguments many have for not using tours tends to be cost – tours are usually expensive, and the thrifty can usually find cheaper ways to travel by themselves. Although many of the extras wouldn’t be included.
Touching further on this, others cite not wishing to travel with a bunch of unknown people, when they can just as easily travel alone, or with their friends.
Whatever your stance on the matter, the tour companies are already offering more and more elaborate and tempting tours for 2010. Here are some tasters:
Aeroprints have a Round-the-World trip at £2595, and a Japan-Korea trip at £1445 planned.
Ian Allan also have a Round-the-World trip planned at £2839 with different destinations.
The Aviation Society has not announced any 2010 trips yet, but has three main 2009 trips, to Dubai Air Show, Paris Air Show, and China.
What are your thoughts on aviation tours? Have you taken them? What were your experiences?