Air Show Preview : Royal International Air Tattoo 2007
Every year, the Royal International Air Tattoo or RIAT - the biggest military airshow in the world - takes place in the UK, at RAF Fairford. With every year around 300 visiting aircraft from 35 different countries. Nowhere else in the world the aviation enthusiast is able to see this number of various aircraft and helicopters at one show. Last year the airshow was a great success with beautiful weather, and many different aircraft and helicopters. The show area is huge, and this show needs some good preparation before going.
Two major themes have been announced at this moment - the Agile and Adaptable and the 60th Anniversary USAF themes.
Agile and Adaptable: These new missions require forces that reach further, faster, can stay in the field longer but can still undertake the most demanding operations if need be. From gliders and elementary trainers to rotary aircraft and advanced fixed-wing training, the Air Tattoo is inviting operators of military training aircraft from around the world to come together this summer. Also invited to participate in the Air Tattoo’s operational theme Agile and Adaptable will be the next generation of training aircraft such as the PC-21, M346 and Hawk 128 as well as weapons and operational conversion training aircraft such as the Typhoon T.2, Harrier T.10/12, Mirage 2000GB, C-130 Hercules, Boeing 707, F-16B, the F-15D and the like.
60th Anniversary USAF: To mark the 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force, the Royal International Air Tattoo will be unfurling the Stars and Stripes for a special salute at RAF Fairford, home of USAFE’s 420th Air Base Group. Given the many and very strong connections between the USAF and the Air Forces of the world, where better to recognize this significant anniversary? Special visitors for this theme are the United States Thunderbirds, which will be on tour around Europe during this period.
There is already a large list of very impressive participants revealed for this year's RIAT edition, and hopefully a lot more will follow. Here is a short overview of the most important visitors known now: For the flying programme the USAF Thunderbirds, a USAF F-117 Stealth, Italian Frecce Tricolori, F-18C Hornet from Finland, and a JAS-39 Gripen from Sweden. For the static are the following very intereseting participants coming: two Spanish EAV-8B Harriers, two F-5 Freedom Fighters from Turkey, a Brazilian Embraer R-99A, two Su-30 Flanker and one supporting Il-78 Midas from India, and last but definatelly not least a P-3C Orion from Pakistan. One Indian Su-30 Flanker and the Brazilian Embraer R-99A are now also confirmed for the flying programme.
Because of the very large exhibition area, you need to be well prepared if you want to see all the aircraft on show. Unnecessary to say is that you need a good pair of hiking shoes, if you still want to have decent feet at the end of the day. Some food and fluids are also no luxury to bring along. Based on the weather during the previous editions at Fairford, you should be prepared for both sun and rain. Another good tip for the show is to bring some earplugs and to go watch the show and take-off of the loud and massive B-52 Stratofortress and B-1 Lancer.
This preview is written by Ramon van Opdorp.