Special Exposition

14/05/1938 - 22/05/1938


Official Designation
Second International Aerospace Exhibition of the League of Air Defence of Finland - SILI



The Finnish League of Air Defence organised the International Aeronautical Exhibition of 1938, after hosting a similar exhibition in 1929. Finland was reputed for its aviation industry, with its geography making air traffic an essential part of its national and international transport. Recognised by the 11th General Assembly of the BIE on 4 May 1937, a total of 25 countries opted to participate to present their innovations, including the United Kingdom and Germany.

To simplify the transport of visitors, construction of the Helsinki-Malmi Airport started in 1936 and was completed in time for the Expo in 1938. The particularity of this airport was that it was one of the first to have been specifically designed to deal with international flights, serving Finnish and foreign airlines.

The Expo

The Expo took place in the Messuhalli Exhibition Hall, which had a surface of 8,000m2. A range of aviation related themes were highlighted during the Expo, including civil and military aircraft, communications, aeronautical science and aviation literature.

The aircraft on show included training aeroplanes such as the Tuisku (advanced military work) and the Viima (primary and aerobatic training), as well as the Fokker CX, a general purpose biplane with a Bristol Pegasus engine.

The International Exhibits

The British stand, recognisable with its grey, red, and black colour theme, presented various exhibits and components during the Expo. For instance, the exhibit drew people’s attention to its innovations including the first ever two-speed supercharger with auxiliary drives. The most powerful engine on display was the French-produced Gnome-Rhône 18-P, an 18-cylinder engine with 1,650 horsepower at take-off. German firm Allgemeine Elektricitats Gesellschall showcased a searchlight that was similar to the rotating searchlight located on the tower of Svenska AB Gasaccumulator, providing it with direct competition.

The site today

Today, the Messuhalli Exhibition Hall and the Helsinki-Malmi Airport remain in place. The Exhibition Hall was converted to be used for the 1952 Summer Olympics, and continues to be used as a sports venue, known as the Töölö Sports Hall.