Posts Tagged ‘Royal International Air Tattoo’

COVID UNCERTAINTY GROUNDS AIR TATTOO

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

RIAT 2021 Cancelled

This summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo, which was due to take place at RAF Fairford, in Gloucestershire on July 16-18, has been cancelled by organisers, the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises (RAFCTE).

RAFCTE Directors concluded that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 meant there were too many risks associated with pressing ahead with the airshow. It is the second year running the event has been unable to take place.

Air Tattoo CEO Paul Atherton said he and his team had been working hard during the past six months to explore ways in which the Air Tattoo could take place against the backdrop of the pandemic but, with five months to the event, there still remained too many unknowns.

“If we knew, with some degree of certainty what the situation would be in the summer,” he said, “we’d be able to plan ahead but, the truth is, we simply don’t know. We have reached a point where, to plan further, would involve us committing large sums of money to secure the event infrastructure. Without any insurance being available this year, this money would be lost if the airshow had to cancel nearer the time. It was simply too big a risk to take.

“I know how disappointed all those who are involved in the airshow will be, from our incredible army of volunteers and loyal ticketholders to our valued corporate guests, suppliers, traders and sponsors, as well as the many military air arms from around the globe, but I also know they will understand and support our decision. Public safety is paramount, and we also have a duty to protect the future of RIAT. By making this decision in a timely and controlled manner, we will be in a far stronger position to bounce back in 2022.”

Mr Atherton added that it was particularly disappointing to have to announce the cancellation of the airshow this year, the Air Tattoo’s 50th anniversary.

He said: “Everyone was looking forward to marking the Air Tattoo’s 50th at RAF Fairford in July and we had some great ideas as to how best to celebrate the incredible achievements of this much-loved event since it was first staged in 1971. We remain determined to identify new opportunities to mark this important milestone this year, both by building on the success of last year’s inaugural Virtual Air Tattoo as well as other exciting activities, where possible.”

All ticketholders for this summer’s Air Tattoo will be contacted by the end of February and offered either a refund or the opportunity to roll over their tickets to the 2022 Air Tattoo, which will take place on July 15-17.

www.airtattoo.com

Airshow ‘50th’ Book Set To Fly Off Shelves

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Air Tattoo at 50

Over the past 50 years, millions of people from across the globe have marvelled at the incredible aviation spectacles that have seen the Royal International Air Tattoo grow to become the world’s greatest airshow.

For the first time ever, the complete history of the Air Tattoo, from its birth in 1971 to the present day, has been captured in a beautifully illustrated book written by renowned aviation journalist Ben Dunnell and features hundreds of dramatic photos, many taken by some of the world’s leading aircraft photographers.

Charting the growth of the Air Tattoo from its modest beginnings at North Weald airfield, the book describes how a small band of volunteers with a shared passion for aviation – and encouraged by legendary aviators including Battle of Britain ace Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader and Concorde test pilot Brian Trubshaw – went on to create one of the most loved and respected airshows in the world.

Split into decades, the book describes how special links forged in the 1970s with the Royal Air Force, NATO and the US Air Force (USAF) paid dividends and helped attract a mouth-watering array of international military aircraft to the airshow’s second home, RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire. The fall of the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s further cemented the Air Tattoo’s reputation as it enabled a number of special ‘debuts’ by Eastern Bloc aircraft rarely, if ever, seen in the West.

By then, hundreds of volunteers were helping stage the event, a number which grew to around 1,500 following the switch to a new home at RAF Fairford in 1985. This move, combined with the enduring support of the RAF and USAF, helped open the door to a wealth of exciting aircraft including the stealthy B-2 Spirit and F-117 Nighthawk, F-14 Tomcat carrier-borne fighters, B-52 and B-1 bombers, V-22 Osprey tilt-rotors and the latest Typhoon, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II combat fast jets – among many others.

Author Ben Dunnell said: “The Air Tattoo has always been the place to be — and that goes right back to its earliest days. As a meeting-place for the world’s air arms, united in friendship, this show is unrivalled. What’s more, it has actively helped foster new alliances . . . as well as being a very exciting event, of course. In writing this book, that side of the Air Tattoo’s history has been as important as all the great personal memories.”

Insightful, fascinating and at times humorous, Air Tattoo 50 – The Story of the World’s Greatest Airshow (RRP £30+p&p), is being published to mark the airshow’s 50th anniversary in 2021 and is available from www.airtattoo50book.com. As well as extensive coverage of the dazzling array of international aircraft that have taken part in the airshow, the book charts some of the challenges it has had to overcome, such as losing its home at RAF Greenham Common in 1983, the death of co-founder and creative driving force Paul Bowen in 2004, establishing a new parent charity, the RAF Charitable Trust in 2005, and the airshow cancellations in 2008 and 2020.

Air Tattoo founder member and former airshow director Tim Prince said: “So many people from across the globe have been involved in the building of this remarkable gathering of international aviators and their aircraft into a highly respected and valued annual event. This wonderful book gives an insight into this impressive Royal International Air Tattoo ‘family’ which, over some 50 years, has worked tirelessly to uphold its reputation as the best, whilst at times, with its motto of ‘it can be done’, overcoming some pretty daunting challenges.”

Virtual Air Tattoo Attracts International Support

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

RIAT

Air arms representing more than 20 countries from around the globe will be taking part in a special event this weekend being organised by the team behind the Royal International Air Tattoo and supported by the Royal Air Force.

The Virtual Air Tattoo is a free-to-view, live-streamed event that will take place from 11am to 3pm on Saturday July 18 and Sunday July 19, the same weekend the actual airshow was due to be staged.

Hosted by Air Tattoo commentators and aviation experts Ben Dunnell and Mark Manwaring and featuring special welcome messages from Sir David Jason and Carol Vorderman – the Virtual Air Tattoo will give viewers a flavour of the real event planned for 2020 with dramatic virtual flying displays, pilot interviews, special guests and unique aircraft footage.

Highlights include:
• Displays created by Virtual Airshows, performed by Europe’s top flight simulator pilots including the Virtual Red Arrows and Swiss, French and Italian teams.
• Footage from some of the most exciting Air Tattoo participants, including 2019 displays by the MiG-21 LanceR & EAV-8 Harrier.
• Live interviews with the Red Arrows as well as pilots from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and RAF Typhoon Display Team.
• Unique behind-the-scenes footage of military aviation including a flight on a recent Royal Air Force air-to-air refuelling mission.
• Messages, interviews and special aircraft tours courtesy of participating international aircrew.

And with tickets for next year’s 50th anniversary airshow going on sale at the weekend, the Virtual Air Tattoo will take a look back at some of the event’s aviation highlights since it was first stage in 1971.

Among the nations taking part in the Virtual Air Tattoo are Austria, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the US and UK – with Sri Lanka and Singapore being represented for the first time ever – albeit virtually! Video support for the Virtual Air Tattoo has also come from aerospace industry, including BAE Systems Leonardo, Airbus Northrop Grumman, MBDA and Rolls-Royce, with additional help from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and other long-term sponsors.

Whilst the Air Tattoo will deliver the main broadcast, the RAF will host two additional channels, one providing extended footage of RAF content featured in the Virtual Air Tattoo and the other, broadcast live on Twitch, hosted by the RAF’s Video Gaming and Esports Association who will be staging a number of socially-distanced esport competitions.

Working with PlanesTV, the programme will be hosted from a live studio and, as well as featuring special guests, the show will invite viewers’ questions via social media, making the Virtual Air Tattoo a truly interactive experience.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Paul Atherton said: “The Royal Air Force has been a great partner for the virtual Air Tattoo as they are for the Royal International Air Tattoo each year. Their support in providing behind-the-scenes access to, and footage of, its aircraft, facilities and people has been pivotal and we now look forward to sharing this content with our online visitors. We are confident that this, coupled with the incredible material created by our international friends and the virtual world of air displays will wow our audiences.”

Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: “I am delighted the Royal Air Force has joined forces with RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises to deliver a trailblazing Virtual Air Tattoo. We look forward to exhilarating displays from our allies around the world, getting behind the scenes with the RAF and our industry partners as we showcase our talent, and sharing special moments from previous Air Tattoos as we approach the airshow’s 50th anniversary next year.”

During the event, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, the Air Tattoo’s parent charity. Text TRUST to 70490 to donate £5 (Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message). Also through Virgin Money Giving: https://bit.ly/rafcharitable

Click interested/going on our Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1379812842184720/

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RIAT 2020 Cancelled

Friday, March 20th, 2020

RIAT

It is with enormous regret and disappointment that we have to announce the cancellation of this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo, due to take place from 17 to 19 July, as a result of the challenging and unprecedented environment presented by COVID-19.

This decision has not been taken lightly and a significant amount of work sits behind this course of action. The crisis, which is worsening by the day, and the implications of which are becoming more profound, has led us to conclude that the most prudent course of action is to cease any further planning to deliver this significant event.

The Air Tattoo is reliant on the support of a wide range of stakeholders, not least the participation of international air arms, medical professionals, military security teams and our Emergency Services, many of whom are delivering a fundamental contribution to fighting this crisis. We believe delivery of our event would distract them from this.

At the heart of this difficult decision is our firm belief that staging the Air Tattoo this year would not only run counter to the current Government advice but would also be beyond what we could reasonably ask of our supporters. We recognise that our decision will have a negative financial impact on our valued suppliers and traders, on the local economy that benefits so much from the large influx of people who arrive in the area for one week in July, as well as on our parent charity. For this we apologise.

We would like to thank all our partners, the RAF, USAF, sponsors, the world’s air forces, our amazing volunteers and of course the public who turn up year on year to support our magnificent event. We seek your patience and encouragement over the next few weeks as we plan for the future in order to return in 2021 to celebrate the Air Tattoo’s 50th Anniversary.

www.airtattoo.com

Air Tattoo Savings are Just the Ticket

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Royal International Air Tattoo

Tickets for next summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo have gone on sale, with special discounts available for a limited period.

The airshow, which this year attracted 245 aircraft and around 170,000 visitors, will turn the spotlight on the world’s fighter pilots and the vital role they perform in protecting national – and international – security around the clock and at a moment’s notice.

Taking place at RAF Fairford on July 17-19, 2020, the airshow will once again feature two full show days on the Saturday and Sunday, with more than seven hours’ flying on each day, with a preview highlights day on the Friday featuring a four-hour display.

An Air Tattoo spokesman said: “With next year marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain it’s an ideal time to focus on the aircraft and pilots whom many consider aviation’s ‘elite’.”

Friday tickets are currently priced at £44, a saving of £10 on the full advance price; a limited number of Saturday tickets are being made available priced £54, a saving of £5 on the full advance price while Sunday tickets are currently priced £49, offering a saving of £10.

The spokesman said: “Tickets for each of the three days of this year’s airshow were priced the same and the feedback we received was that ticket prices for Friday and Sunday should have been cheaper than for the more popular Saturday.

“We are committed to ensuring the flying display programmes on Saturday and Sunday are as similar as possible. Nevertheless, we are keen to encourage people to attend on the Sunday simply because of the overwhelming demand we experience for Saturday which sells out early every year.”

Multi-day discounts will continue to be offered as will free parking and free entry for all under-18s who attend with an adult ticket holder. For full details about the various ticket prices and enclosure options, visit www.airtattoo.com

Air Tattoo Honours Top Displays

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

RAFCTE Award Winners

A memorable three-day Royal International Air Tattoo 2019 concluded with the traditional Sunday night prizegiving, during which trophies were presented to several of the show’s top displays.

The Paul Bowen Trophy for the best solo jet display — named in honour of the late Paul Bowen, co-founder of the Air Tattoo — went to Lt Col Yurii Bulavka, pilot of the Sukhoi Su-27P1M from the 831st Guards Tactical Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force. “I will say only one thing”, commented Bulavka. “Thank you for your attention, wonderful Air Tattoo. See you next time!”

The Italian Air Force’s Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team of 10 Aermacchi AT-339A jet trainers, regulars at the Air Tattoo, scooped the RAFCTE Trophy, awarded to the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant. Team leader Maj Stefano Vit said, “It is really a great honour for me and for all the team, because it’s a special trophy. The Air Tattoo is the biggest airshow in Europe, and winning this trophy is a big reward. It’s nice to leave an occasion like this.”

Following a triumphant event, including flypasts with the British Overseas Airways Corporation-schemed Boeing 747-436 of British Airways as part of the BA100 events and the French Air Force’s Patrouille de France team as a salute to the 50th anniversary of Concorde’s first flight, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, won the Steedman Display Sword for best display by a UK participant. Team manager Sqn Ldr Doug Smith commented, “This is absolutely fantastic. We adore coming to RIAT every year — it’s a tremendously well-run airshow — and to come away with the trophy for best display from the UK is stunning. To do the flypasts with the 747 in BOAC livery and the ‘double Concorde’ formation was really, really good.”

The evening’s double winner was Capt Arto Ukskoski, who flew the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet from Fighter Squadron 11 of the Finnish Air Force. He took home the Sir Douglas Bader Trophy for best individual flying demonstration and and the As The Crow Flies Trophy for best display as judged by the enthusiast members of Friends of RIAT. “I am quite surprised”, said Ukskoski, “because there are so many good aircraft and so many good pilots. It’s amazing, especially for the Finnish Air Force because we don’t do so many airshows internationally every year.”

One of the most regular performers at recent Air Tattoos, Swedish Air Force Saab JAS 39C Gripen pilot Maj Peter Fallén from F 7 wing of the Swedish Air Force, received the King Hussein Memorial Sword for best overall flying demonstration. An emotional Fallén said, “This means so much to me. I’m almost in tears now, because RIAT has been a big part of my career as a display pilot. I’ve been flying here for six years, and it’s been the main event every year. I’m so grateful.”

The RIAT Chief Executive Trophy, presented by outgoing Air Tattoo CEO Andy Armstrong, went to the Spanish Navy’s EAV-8B Harrier II+ duo. Mr Armstrong referred particularly to the initiative shown by the squadron’s commanding officer following a brake fire suffered by one of the two aircraft on arrival, which led to repairs being affected and participation in the weekend displays.

Finally, the trophy for best livery was presented to the Eurofighter EF2000 operated by Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 71 ‘Richthofen’ of the German Air Force, stationed at Wittmund.

www.airtattoo.com

British Aviation icon celebrated at Air Tattoo

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Tom Lecky-Thomson and Harrier pilots at RIAT

Harrier pilots from across the generations have reminisced about their experiences of flying the British-designed vertical landing aircraft at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

Retired record-breaking RAF Harrier pilot Tom Lecky-Thomson, who flew an early-generation Harrier across the Atlantic for the 1969 Daily Mail’s Trans-Atlantic Air Race between London and New York, met with pilots from the Spanish Navy Harrier who participated in the air display over RAF Fairford.

Participating pilots in the Trans-Atlantic Race started from the Post Office Tower in London and finished at the top of the Empire State Building.

Having taken a helicopter from the Post Office Tower, Tom then flew across the Atlantic non-stop after performed Harrier’s party trick, a vertical take-off from a railway yard near St Pancras station. With the support of aerial refuelling aircraft, he touched down on a pier on New York’s East River just under six hours later, before making his way by motorcycle to the Empire State Building.

Tom said: “I am so proud to have been a part of the team that had made that flight. The Harrier was a wonderful aircraft to fly, even better than a helicopter when in the hover.”

His Spanish counterparts were amazed when Tom explained he had just 70 hours of flight-time in the Harrier under his belt when he performed the amazing feat.

Meanwhile one of the pilots flying the Spanish Harriers, Navy Commander “Moro” flew his last ever Harrier sortie at the Air Tattoo, before he takes on a new post in Colombia.

After taking to the skies over Fairford on Sunday, his aircraft was greeted by a water arch provided by the show’s firefighters.

“Moro”, who has flown 2,200 hours in the Harrier during his career, commented: “I am very happy to have my last flight here, not many pilots get to have their last flight at an airshow.

“Flying the Harrier at the Air Tattoo is like being a rock star on a stage, there is so much support from the crowd.”

www.airtattoo.com

Crowds enjoy feast of flying at Air Tattoo

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

RIAT crowds

Organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo® have described as “out of this world” the feast of flying served up to bumper crowds over the three-day event at RAF Fairford.

The airshow, whose theme for 2019 was Air & Space: Inspiring the Next Generation Air Force, attracted 170,000 visitors including British astronaut Maj Tim Peake. Maj Peake dedicated most of his visit engaging with young people in the critically acclaimed Techno Zone®. He said: “It was satisfying to see the wonderful impact that the Techno Zone® is having in promoting STEM and inspiring youngsters.”

In total, 245 aircraft from 39 air arms representing 25 nations took part in the event, including the RAF Red Arrows, whose performance on Sunday marked their final UK public display this year before they depart on their Western Hawk 19 tour of North America.

Over the three days of the airshow, spectacular aerial set pieces were staged including a unique joint flypast by the RAF Red Arrows and a specially-painted British Airways Boeing 747 jumbo jet to mark the airline’s centenary. NATO’s 70th anniversary was marked by a commemorative flypast by aircraft from a number of member nations including F-16s from Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Norway. They were joined by three RAF Typhoons, F-15s from the US Air Force, a German Typhoon and a French KC-135.

Other set pieces staged during the three days included a joint flypast by the Red Arrows and French aerobatic display team the Patrouille France, plus a rare joint formation by an Airbus A400M and civilian aerobatic team The Blades.

Flying display highlights included the Romanian Mikoyan MiG-21, an icon from the Cold War that hasn’t flown at the Air Tattoo since 2001 and the Soviet-era Sukhoi Su-27, which performed an imposing and agile display. There was also a debut by the hugely popular Spanish Navy Harrier duo.

On the ground, visitors were able to see up close rarely seen aircraft including a giant Qatari C-17, the imposing USAF B-52 and rare F-4 Phantoms from the Turkish Air Force.

There was an Air Tattoo debut for the Embraer Super Tucano and a world debut for the Northrop Grumman Firebird, an optionally manned surveillance aircraft. The public were also able to view for the first time all seven training aircraft used by the UK’s military under the Military Flying Training System operated by Ascent Flying Training consortium.

British and Swedish government ministers used the show to herald a new agreement to work together on a future fighter aircraft, the Tempest, further cementing the show’s growing role as a showcase for aerospace and technology.

Among the many senior military guests were Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee; General David Goldfein, US Air Force Chief of Staff, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force. Senior industry guests included Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence & Space.

Also at the airshow were HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade; Minister for Defence Procurement Mr Stuart Andrew, Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Minister of State for the Armed Forces, the Rt Hon Mark Lancaster.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said: “The past three days have been out of this world. We’ve seen an incredible display of aircraft from around the globe both in the air and on the ground as well as some memorable, unique joint flypasts.

“With the Air Tattoo taking place on the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, we’ve also had the opportunity to inspire our thousands of young visitors who’ve been discovering some of the exciting ways space will play a part in their future.

“I’d like to thank our title sponsor BAE Systems for their continued and valued support.”

www.airtattoo.com

Tim Peake takes off with Red Arrows at Royal International Air Tattoo

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Tim Peake at RIAT

Today, British astronaut Major Tim Peake fulfilled a boyhood dream, flying with the legendary Red Arrows at the Royal International Air Tattoo. Tim joined Red One, Squadron Leader Martin Pert, for the team’s rehearsal flight before they take part in the world’s greatest airshow over the next three days (19-21) in the skies above RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Talking about his flight with the Red Arrows, Major Tim Peake said: “It was truly incredible, I felt like I was living the dream. I have watched them since I was a young lad and I feel like this has been a boyhood dream fulfilment. It was a privilege to fly with these guys today. I love airshows and it is brilliant to be here.”

www.airtattoo.com

Air Tattoo to Celebrate Airline Heritage

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

British Airways at RIAT

(image by Rich Cooper)

An evocative joint flypast by the RAF Red Arrows and a specially decorated jumbo jet will mark the centenary of one of the UK’s biggest and best loved brands at this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo.

A British Airways Boeing 747, painted in its iconic British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery, will perform a dramatic flypast with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team during the seven-and-a-half hour flying programme on Saturday, July 20.

The retro-style aircraft, which flew between 1952 and 1974, is one of three British Airways Boeing 747s specially painted in vintage designs to mark the airline’s 100-year history, the other two featuring the Negus (1974-1980) and Landor (1984-1997) liveries. Completing the line-up is an Airbus 319, painted to reflect its British European Airways heritage.

The Air Tattoo first featured a British Airways aircraft in its flying programme in 1985 when Concorde flew a memorable joint flypast with the Red Arrows. Concorde displayed again two years later before appearing regularly at the airshow on charter flights in support of the Air Tattoo’s Flying Scholarships for the Disabled charity as well as British Airways’ own High Flight charity.

The early 2000s saw several British Airways 747 and 777 charter flights and, in 2013, a giant A380 performed a showstopping flypast with the Red Arrows to the delight of the large Air Tattoo crowd. Two years later, British Airways sent an A318 for static display.

However, the airline’s support for the Air Tattoo stretches back further, to the early days of the airshow. In the 1970s, the airline displayed its hot air balloons and provided staff to help run the airshow operation on the ground as well as providing flight simulators for the showground.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said: “The participation of British Airways aircraft in our flying displays over the years have often provided some of the most memorable aviation moments of the year and I am confident this summer will be no different. I can think of nothing better than to have one great British institution helping celebrate another!”

The BOAC 747’s appearance at the airshow is one of a number of centenary initiatives organised by BA that are designed to look ahead at the next 100 years of aviation as well as celebrating its illustrious past. This includes hosting ‘BA 2119’ – a programme, which will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.

Captain Allister Bridger, British Airways’ Director of flight Operations, said: “The excitement and pride that we’ve witnessed from our customers and colleagues towards our heritage liveries in our centenary year has been incomparable. We’re hugely excited to bring one of our special aircraft to RAF Fairford as not only will the sight of our BOAC liveried 747 in the sky above RAF Fairford with the Red Arrows provide a wonderfully nostalgic moment for the Air Tattoo audience, but it also strengthens the long and valuable association we enjoy with the event.”

Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows said: “Flying alongside this British Airways Boeing 747 will be an exciting and memorable moment for both the pilots in the air and those watching on the ground. The Red Arrows team has been working hard with British Airways and the Air Tattoo for many months to create this opportunity. The RAF’s own Centenary celebrations – marked a year ago – demonstrated the importance of using these high-profile occasions to inspire the next generation and we hope this flypast will be another chance to do that. The sortie will unite two highly recognisable brands of the United Kingdom and celebrate the very best of British.”

The Air Tattoo takes place at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds on July 19-21. For more information and ticket details, visit www.airtattoo.com