It’s that time of year where photographers and aviation enthusiasts get together and descend on Raf Fairford for this years Royal International Air Tattoo 19, (Riat).This years main theme is to celebrate 70 years in NATO, where aircraft, pilots and ground crews get together and share their experiences.
As in previous years I will be doing a series of blogs over the next couple of weeks to cover this event, picking on mainly the highlights and attendees at this years show.
With great expectations, in catching the aircraft arriving at one of the designated park and views areas that were on offer this year. A separate blog later on park and view will follow.
As this was a celebration of NATOs 70th year in operation, the hope of seeing aircraft from all the NATO countries was dashed early on in the year as some of the countries are budget restricted or committed elsewhere in air policing, or operations duty around the globe, nevertheless there were some nice representations from countries within NATO.
The largest contributions came from Germany,10 aircraft and Italy 8 aircraft plus their Aerobatic team Frecci. all of which was welcomed, especially as the air and navel forces of both nations are reducing and requipping with new types. It was also nice to welcome Turkey back to the show with a couple of Phantoms, both of which were marked up with special tail colours, one of which was marked up with 70th Anniversary of NATO, that was a nice surprise, no one expected that particular aircraft to be marked up, thank you Turkey.
The so called NATO flypast that was announced for the Friday, got cancelled due to the weather, I wont go there, and Saturdays was a smaller flypast as some of the aircraft had issues with their aircraft, as I did not attend the Saturday I can’t comment on what the flypast was like.
The NATO aircraft that arrived came in all shapes and sizes, ranging from transports, Fighters, Helicopters and a large B-52 courtesy of the USAF, a welcome return as last year it cancelled its appearance at the last minute. It was also nice to welcome some of our newest members to the NATO alliance, Romania, Slovakia and Lithuania, all of which were representing there latest assets a medium transport plane,C-27 Spartan. Not forgetting the highlight for some the return of a pair of MiG 21 Lancers Cs, which arrived at 18-00hrs on the Thursday evening before the show.