This weekend will see thousands flocking to RAF Fairford for the annual airshow extravaganza that is the Royal International Air Tattoo. We take a look at what’s taking part and you could win tickets to the show!
RIAT might attract more critical comment than other airshows in the UK, but there is no denying that this year’s event has a number of exclusives in place and will also serve up some unique flypasts.
You probably won’t see the Polish Air Force MiG-29 anywhere else in the UK this season, nor the Armée de l’Air Dassault Rafale, Swedish Air Force Saab Gripen, Hungarian Air Force Saab Gripen, Finnish Air Force NH90, Estonian Air Force Aero L-39, RNLAF AH-64 Apache, Italian Eurofighter, C-27 Spartan, Boeing KC-767TT or Swiss PC-7 display team either, to name but a few of those taking involved.
You certainly won’t see the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows flying in formation with a British Airways Airbus A380 (Saturday) or Airbus A400M (Sunday) anywhere else either, and in our current climate (and I don’t mean the weather) we should perhaps feel grateful that RIAT can still deliver so many exclusives among its eight hour flying display.
RIAT’s static line-up, like that of every other airshow going, will never be as a full as it used to be, that is a sad fact of life, but it will still include participants from as far afield as Brazil, Jordan and Oman, along with more European military visitors than any other UK show and, for the first time, Typhoons from each and every RAF squadron operating the aircraft. There are some excellent civilian aircraft too, the highlight of which for many will be Breitling’s beautiful Lockheed Super Constellation.
As for the rest of the flying, major support from the UK’s armed forces is a given with a near-full compliment of solos and teams, with the addition of special flypasts from the likes of Tristar and C-17, and the Lancaster / Tornado GR4 Dambusters 70th commemoration. There are also a couple of very strong warbirds in the shape of the Red Bull / Flying Bulls Vought F4U-4 Corsair and North American B-25 Mitchell, the latter being as replacement for the Lockheed P-38 Lightning which, sadly, is unserviceable. Avro Vulcan XH558 and Boeing B-17 ‘Sally B’ are also sure to be popular inclusions.
Other foreign military performers are more regular visitors to the UK, but very welcome nevertheless, such as RNLAF F-16, Belgium Air Force F-16, Frecce Tricolori and the Patrouille de France (Sunday only).
The showground will certainly be busy, with a huge variety of attractions for those of you not totally dedicated to the flying display with, just for staters, The Caterham Experience, Animal WD-40 Action Sports Tour and Skyfall Zipwire making up the Adrenalin Zone.
The Lockheed Martin Techno Zone meanwhile, incorporating the RAF Village, keeps things aviation-orientated with the likes of the Lockheed Martin Schools’ Engineering Challenge Typhoon Simulator, British Airways Simulator, Airfix, Light Aircraft Association, Rolls Royce and Royal Aeronautical Society.
Central to this area will be the new RAF Live! set-up, with a 60 square metre outdoor screen, live interviews, exclusive display footage, news items and presentations, all of which will be hosted by the RAF Presentation Team and RAF Reserves Engagement Team. Download RIAT’s handy guide to the weekend by visiting the Air Tattoo website.
With, fingers crossed, this glorious weather looking like it might be persist for a little while yet, RIAT 2013 will surely still provide an action-packed weekend with some fantastic flying and aircraft on offer, and if you haven’t yet got your tickets, why not enter our competition, and you could still be there!
Win tickets to the show!
This competition is now closed!
Our winner will be announced later today – Wednesday 17 July.
Thank you for all your entries.