Air Show Preview : Royal International Air Tattoo 2006
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 400 visiting aircraft from 35 different countries. Nowhere else in the world the aviation enthusiast is able to see that kind of various aircraft and helicopters at one show. Last year the airshow was a great success with beautiful weather, and a gathering of many different aircraft and helicopters to celebrate a Tiger Meeting as well. The show area is huge, and this RIAT needs some good preparation before going.
Two major themes are known at this moment - the Rapid Global Effect and the Army Aviation themes.
Rapid Global Effect: Whether deterring potential aggressors, providing humanitarian relief or reacting to a natural disaster, the need for speed is critical in delivering an effective military response. With this theme you can expect to see the C-17 Globemaster, C-5 Galaxy heavy-weights to the lighter C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall for the support role. Some tankers like the KC-10 or Tristar and maybe an Airbus with multi-role tanker transport capability. And the helicopters; Chinooks, Merlins and Pumas to carry cargo or troops quickly to forward operating bases in deployment areas whilst the C-27J and CN 295 provide in-theatre support on a wide variety of transport operations.
Army Aviation: This theme is indirectly related to the Rapid Global Effect. Before the above mentioned aircraft can come into action inside hostile territory, first the area needs be cleared by ground forces supported by army aviation. For this theme you can expect the participation of the formidable AH-64 Apache, the Lynx, Mi-8 'Hip' and the UH-1 Huey. Aircraft such as the Islander, C-23 Sherpa, RC-12 and PC-6 provide valuable fixed-wing support.
As of now, there are not really many participants known. But already confirmed is the flying display of a Bell/Boeing MV-22 Osprey, which will have to be one of the highlights of the 2006 show. Also the other participants of the two themes will show their capabilities in this big airshow.
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 nice tip for the show is to bring some earplugs and to go watch the departures of all the participants. Nowhere in the world, such an amount of aircraft is departing in such a short time frame, as on the Monday after RIAT.
This preview is written & maintained by Ramon van Opdorp.