When it comes to global super powers showing off their military might and flaunting their air acrobatics, there are few shows that can trump the annual Royal International Air Tattoo, also known as RIAT, one of the greatest airshows in the world, which brings people from all nations flocking to Fairford, a beautiful little village in The Cotswolds.
The Friday saw an unfortunate amount of storms, however, early Saturday morning was showing all the typically British weather signs for a hot summers day after storms, lots of foggy mist, through which a beautiful orange sunrise shone. We made the most of an early start, being one of the first on site:
Images by: David Savill Photography
This year, 43 air forces brought with them 302 of their greatest flying machines, of which 121 took part in displaying their capabilities above the crowds during the 3 day grand event.
However, one display in particular never fails to impress, filing us Brits with a sense of pride at just how highly trained and fearless our armed forces are, The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, flying their Hawk fast-jets. All Red Arrows display pilots have flown operationally, in frontline aircraft such as the advanced Typhoon, and helped the Royal Air Force to secure the skies.
During this much anticipated part of the Royal International Air Show, not only could we hear all of the cockpit instructions being given by Red 1, the lead aircraft, we were treated to commentary by Sqn Leader Adam Collins, who is supervisor of The Red Arrows and known as ‘Red 10’, explaining the formations and what would be happening in the cockpits. We caught up with Sqn Leader Adam Collins:
“To keep everything perfect, we practice at least three times a day, five days a year. Three pilots arrive and leave from the team each year, where the newest pilots are always closest to ‘Red 1’ at the front.
Whilst flying in close formation, even though the formation members are all looking at ‘Red 1’, they’re all reacting to his voice, rather than what he is doing, because if you begin to move only when you see ‘Red 1’ begin to move, everything would be out of sync. Over time, you gain complete trust in the pilots flying beside you.”
The Royal International Air Tattoo 2018 marked a particularly special occasion, which took three years of hard planning, celebrating the centenary of The Royal Airforce, also known as the RAF, which a record crowd of 185,000 people came to witness.
With two miles of entertainment on the ground and non-stop action in the skies, as part of the century celebrations people were treated to a number of unique flypasts. A special tribute to the legendary 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron saw the iconic Lancaster bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly in formation with the squadron’s current aircraft, the Tornado, and the RAF’s new state-of-the-art F-35B Lightning II.
The Royal International Air Tattoo is another event that Cotswold Allure Magazine highly recommend to our readers. It is a trie ‘bucket list’ event that has to be experienced.
Gallery by: Graham Borthwick of Shadow Shots
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To be kept up to date with tickets for 2019, visit here: https://www.airtattoo.com/airshow