The Royal International Air Tattoo 2017 or RIAT once again proved why it is known as one of the best Airshows in the world. RIAT showcases the partnerships between NATO and non-NATO countries, treating passionate spectators and aviation enthusiast to wonderful air displays featuring both old and new aircraft.
RAF Fairford is a joint British and United States Air Force (USAF) base set in the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside. The base is also home to USA heavy Bombers.
On Saturday, 15 July we drove to the Air Force Base and were greeted by the usual UK weather…. grey skies and rain. We were ever hopefully that the weather would clear but unfortunately rain; clouds and a very low cloud ceiling marred us. The weather resulted in the cancellation of a few of the displays however the British Airshow crowd is a dedicated and determined bunch. Visitors patiently stayed in their viewing spots and waited for the weather to pass. The weather also resulted in some of the displays being limited to flat displays due to poor visibility.
Despite the weather, many photo opportunities remained and at times the weather lifted enough to allow for some displays to take place.
The flying displays for the day included a variety aircraft and display teams. The USAF is celebrating their 70th birthday and to mark this auspicious occasion, US aircraft that are based all over Europe flew in to treat the spectators to some breathtaking displays.
The grey, wet weather continued into Sunday. Thankfully it cleared slightly for a few hours resulting in sun peeking through the clouds, which helped showcase the magnificent flying machines. Nothing quite like clouds and sunshine to create amazing photo opportunities. For safety reasons flying limits still applied for some of the displays.
A review of some of the airshow displays.
The special livery of the Panavia Tornado A200 from 311 squadron of the Italian Air Force supported a spectacular display in extremely poor conditions on Saturday but did not disappoint on Sunday. The weather conditions provided some spectacular photo opportunities at times.
The Italian Air force display included the C27J Spartan, Leonardo T346A Master.
The Royal Air Force did not disappoint with a variety of static aircraft on display as well as the air displays. The Red Arrows Show was spectacular with the red, blue and white smoke, creating amazing visual effects.
The EuroFighter Typhoon FGR4 from 29 Squadron at RAF Coningsby was only able to display on Sunday as the weather on Saturday was no suitable for this particular air display.
The Apache AH1 from Army Air Corps, Wattisham displayed the aircraft capabilities and fire power with pyrotechnics, finishing with a wall of fire.
The display teams also did not disappoint; the Royal Jordanin Falcons with the 4 Extra EA300Ls (Pictures), the Patrouille Suisse’s 6 Northrop F5E Tiger II’s (Pictures) and the Midnight Hawks from the finish Air force with their 4 BAE4 Hawk Mk51/51A’s, showed how a close formation take-off and landing should be done.
The USAF did not disappoint and also presented an unexpected visitor in the form of the B2 Bomber, which flew in for the 70th Birthday celebration. The Thunderbirds display was once again a sight to behold. Other aircraft on display for the 70th Birthday included, the Boeing CV-22B Osprey which demonstrated its specialist capabilities.
The fly past aircraft included the KC-135 Tanker, C-130J, F-15 C and E Eagles and F-16 Falcons.
For more aircraft on display please view the gallery.