Posts Tagged ‘Royal International Air Tattoo’

USAF anniversary show a spectacle at Royal International Air Tattoo

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Fairford from the air

A series of spectacular flypasts and jaw-dropping displays ensured the USAF’s 70th anniversary was celebrated in style at a sold out Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

The airshow, which took place over three days (July 14-16), attracted a record crowd of 160,000 people who enjoyed thrilling flying demonstrations by some of the world’s leading pilots.

Among the aerial highlights were the USAF Thunderbirds, whose highly-choreographed pre-flight routines were as entertaining as their flying display.

Flying F-16 Fighting Falcons, the team was joined on the Friday by nine Red Arrows’ Hawks for a colourful joint flypast to launch the airshow.

Joining the Thunderbirds to celebrate the USAF anniversary were vintage American warbirds including a B-17 and P-51D Mustang, a state-of-the-art F-22 Raptor and a dramatic flypast by a number of UK and European based USAF aircraft.

On the Sunday, visitors were treated to a surprise flypast by a stealth B-2 Spirit bomber that was taking part in an epic 23-hour transatlantic “Global Power” training flight from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. The aircraft was escorted by two F-15 fighters.

Other flying display highlights included the French Air Force’s Couteau Delta team flying two Mirage 2000D fighter aircraft; the Midnight Hawks, Finland’s aerobatic display team who last performed at the Air Tattoo back in 2004, an RAF Typhoon demo flown by Flt Lt Ryan Lawton and a Russian-built Sukhoi Su-27 ‘Flanker’ from the Ukrainian Air Force, which offered enthusiasts a rare opportunity to view this aircraft in British skies.

In total, 246 aircraft took part in the Air Tattoo from 32 air arms representing 26 nations.

Highlights among the 115 aircraft in the static park included a US U-2 spy plane, a Boeing 737 Airborne Early Warning aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force and a Royal Canadian Air Force Boeing CH-147F Chinook Helicopter which had been airlifted over in the back of a giant Boeing CC-177 Globemaster airlifter.

The show also bought together the five new aircraft types which will eventually go on to form the Royal Air Force’s new training aircraft fleet including the Grob G120TP Prefect, the Embraer 100 Phenom and the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II to be provided by Affinity Flying Training Services, as well as the Airbus H135 Juno and H145 Jupiter helicopters being provided by Airbus Helicopter. It was the first time all five aircraft have appeared together in public.

Special guests included HRH the Duke of Gloucester, the Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and the US Ambassador to the UK Lewis Lukens.

Among a large number of industry guests were BAE Systems’ Chairman and CEO Sir Roger Carr and Charles Woodburn; Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson; Dave Perry, Chief Global Business Development Officer at Northrop Grumman and the CEO of Boeing Defence Leanne Caret. Military guests included Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier and USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein. In total, a record 63 military delegations attended the airshow, representing air arms from around the world.

RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises’ Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said the airshow was a great success, with the US Air Force’s 70th anniversary celebrations exceeding everyone’s expectations.

“The Air Tattoo already enjoyed an incredibly strong relationship with the US Air force built up over the past 40 years but following this airshow I think that bond has become even stronger.

“Though a few of the flying displays were affected by the weather on the Saturday, most of the flying over the three days took place in dry, warm conditions. Thanks to my team which includes an incredible army of over 2,000 volunteers, we’ve staged a safe and thoroughly entertaining event that UK plc, and the world of aviation, can be proud of.”

Airshow visitors were keen to express their enthusiasm and enjoyment of the event. Pam Alexander, from Kemble in Gloucestershire, said: “I regularly attend the Air Tattoo because I love aircraft and the atmosphere at the airshow is incredible. It’s really well organised.”

Samantha Rowles, from Taunton, said: “This is my first time ever at the Air Tattoo. It’s amazing – loud and full of aeroplanes. It’s been a great show.”
Jeffery Toomey, from Evesham, said: “I have been coming here for years and it simply gets better and better. I can’t wait for next year when it’s the RAF’s 100 anniversary – what a show it will be then.”

www.airtattoo.com

B2 stealth bomber wows crowds at Royal International Air Tattoo

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

B2A Spirit and F15 at RIAT

The United States Air Force’s bat-like Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and UK-based F-15 Eagle fighters wowed the crowds at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire with a flypast during an epic transatlantic “Global Power” training flight on Sunday 16 July, flying in from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

The show is marking the 70th anniversary of the formation of the U.S. Air Force with flying displays by the Thunderbirds air demonstration team and the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter.

www.airtattoo.com

Israel Air Force returns to RIAT after 15 years absence

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Israel Air Force at RIAT

After a 15 year absence, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has returned to the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford.

The 40-strong crew arrived in a Shimson C130J Hercules after an eight and a half hour flight before appearing on the static display.

The team, which includes aircrew, technicians, media, foreign affairs, security and specialist paramedics, is at the airshow demonstrating the 669 Squadron’s specialist operations capabilities.

Providing humanitarian assistance across the world, the aircraft carries specialist equipment for medical support, turning the aircraft into a flying hospital with staff who have been through extensive training, from scuba diving to taking blood and carrying out CPR.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, Head of Israel Air Force Foreign Affairs, said: “It is our 70th birthday and we are discovering common interest and values with the British military. We are pleased to be part of such a big air show and are enjoying every minute of it. We are definitely enjoying the cooler British weather as it is 40C in Israel at the moment!”

Lt Col Hecht is no stranger to Great Britain as he was born in Glasgow. His family moved to Israel when he was eight years old and he still has a strong Scottish accent. “It is great to be back here and just be part of a world famous air show,” said Lt Col Hecht.

Throughout the years, the IAF has deployed to many countries around the world providing humanitarian aid. Aid delegations that include search and rescue teams, equipment and food are sent rapidly to disaster areas in order to assist local teams.

www.airtattoo.com

Skyhawk makes long awaited return to Air Tattoo

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Skyhawk

AN aircraft that last made an appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo 40 years ago is set to make a welcome return later this month.

The rare A-4N Skyhawk will arrive from Germany and go on static display at the airshow on Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16. The Skyhawk is a single engine attack aircraft that was developed for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. It is a carrier-capable aircraft that has seen extensive wartime use, from Vietnam to the Falklands conflict.
Owned by Discovery Air Defence, the Canadian company began operating a fleet of seven Skyhawks from Wittmund in 2015 after winning a contract to provide an adversarial air support to help train Luftwaffe crews. The A-4s are contracted to provide services ranging from threat simulation, target towing to flight test support.

The aircraft taking part in the Air Tattoo originally flew with the Israeli Air Force and has since been modified with modern navigation equipment and glass cockpits, whilst retaining some of the key military capabilities like the A-4’s air-to-air refuelling systems.

The last time an A-4 visited the Air Tattoo was in 1977, when a small number of A-4Gs visited Greenham Common from 805 Squadron, Royal Australian Navy. The aircraft launched from HMAS Melbourne, which itself was attending the Silver Jubilee Fleet Review in Portsmouth.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: “Confirmation that an A-4 Skyhawk is participating in the Air Tattoo is great news and will be welcomed, in particular, by all our enthusiasts. The type last appeared at an Air Tattoo 40 years ago when the event was staged at RAF Greenham Common and since then we’ve been trying hard to get one back.

“It’s a compact little fighter that in its heyday punched above its weight and played important roles in significant conflicts during the 60s, 70s and 80s. Its rarity alone makes it one of the stand-out aircraft taking part in this summer’s airshow.”

Saturday tickets for the Air Tattoo have sold out but there are a limited number available for Friday, July 14 and Sunday, July 16. To view prices and enclosure options, visit www.airtattoo.com. All accompanied under-16s are admitted free of charge. Free parking.

Old Meets New at Air Tattoo

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Frenesi

The Royal International Air Tattoo’s celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force at RAF Fairford on July 14-16 will feature a special ‘then and now’ formation of American fighter aircraft, as a North American P-51D Mustang from the Second World War teams up with a present-day Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor.

This USAF Heritage Flight display will involve a P-51D visiting from the United States and flown by leading US warbird pilot Dan Friedkin. Provided by Comanche Fighters of Houston, Texas, the Mustang in question is named Frenesi and only emerged from a 12-year restoration earlier this year.

Built in 1944 as an F-6K reconnaissance variant, the aircraft was only on US Army Air Force strength for a short time before being deemed surplus to requirements during 1946. It spent a period in civilian hands prior to 30 years’ service, from 1954-84, with the Dominican Air Force.

Back in the US as a preserved warbird, the Mustang was active again by 1990, and painted as 357th Fighter Group aircraft Frenesi (named after a wartime song of that title, popularised by legendary US band leader and clarinettist Artie Shaw). It has been returned to those markings following its recent restoration for Comanche Fighters by Midwest Aero Restorations of Danville, Illinois.

The original Frenesi was the mount of Lt Col Thomas Hayes, who flew Curtiss P-40s and Bell P-400s in the Pacific theatre before being deployed to Britain with the 357th Fighter Group and stationed at Leiston, Suffolk. Hayes scored eight-and-a-half aerial victories in combat, two in the Pacific and the remainder over Europe. He chose the name Frenesi for his P-51D as the song was a favourite of his and his wife’s.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati welcomed news of the Heritage Flight’s participation, saying it was a great addition to the airshow’s USAF 70th celebrations. “To see two iconic military fighters, which operated 70 years apart, fly side by side will be a fitting anniversary tribute and will be a sight not to be missed.”

The USAF Heritage Flight programme was established 20 years ago to mark the air force’s 50th anniversary. Its displays bring together civilian-owned warbirds and modern military aircraft. RIAT 2017 will feature the sole Heritage Flight performance in Britain this year. The F-22 accompanying the Mustang will be flown by Maj Dan ‘Rock’ Dickinson of the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, following on from his spectacular solo demonstration of the state-of-the-art air dominance fighter.

www.airtattoo.com

More US aircraft join Air Tattoo salute

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Osprey

Visitors to this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds will be able to view one of the biggest gatherings of US military aircraft at a UK airshow in recent years.

In addition to the USAF display team the Thunderbirds, a B-1 and B-52 bomber and a stateof-the-art F-22 fighter jet already revealed, the Americans have announced that many more exciting aircraft will be arriving at the air base as the airshow prepares to stage the biggest celebration of the US Air Force’s 70th anniversary anywhere in Europe.

The airshow, which takes place on July 14-16, will also feature two CV-22B Ospreys, whose unique tiltrotors enable them to fly like a helicopter or like a fixed-wing aircraft. The aircraft, one of which will be in the flying programme and the other on display in the static park, has been used as a Special Forces transport aircraft thanks to its impressive speed and manoeuvrability.

Also confirmed for the static park will be two F-16C fighter jets from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany; an MC-130J Commando II tactical transport and tanker aircraft, based at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, used to support Special Operations; and a massive C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft which will travel all the way from Charleston, South Carolina.

Finally, the United States Navy will be showcasing the world’s most capable maritime patrol aircraft, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, on the ground at RAF Fairford. The aircraft is on order for the Royal Air Force, who will take delivery of their first example from 2019, based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: “The Air Tattoo enjoys a great relationship with the US military which stretches back almost four decades and over the years this has resulted in some very memorable tributes marking key milestones in the USAF’s history.

“Earlier this year the US military promised us their full support in marking their 70th anniversary and now we’re seeing them deliver. It’s fantastic. The range of American military aircraft on display at the Air Tattoo is going to be awesome – and there’s still time for more to be added!”

The Air Tattoo is staged annually at RAF Fairford in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. To view prices and enclosure options, visit www.airtattoo.com. All accompanied under-16s are admitted free of charge. Free parking.

Air Tattoo welcomes US Air Force heavyweights

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

B52 RIAT

The US Air Force has confirmed that two of its largest and most formidable aircraft will be flying into RAF Fairford, its only European airfield for heavy bombers, to take part in the Royal International Air Tattoo this summer.

The aircraft, a B-52H Stratofortress and a B-1B Lancer will join other US Air Force aircraft including the F-22 Raptor and Thunderbirds display team as part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force. Also taking part in the airshow will be an historic P-40 Kittyhawk and P-51D Mustang, both of which flew with the US Army Air Force prior to the establishment of the US Air Force in 1947.

A long range strategic bomber, the B-52 entered service with the US military in the 1950s and became a frequent sight in the Cotswolds’ skies during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Operation Allied Force in 1999 and Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when they operated out of RAF Fairford. The first operational B-1B flew with the US Air Force in 1986 and provided the air arm with a long range bomber that was both fast and manoeuvrable. It was last seen at the Air Tattoo in 2009. The B-52H will come from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and the B-1B from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

The Air Tattoo’s links with the US Air Force stretch back to 1972 when the Americans permitted the airshow to be staged at RAF Greenham Common, near Newbury. When the Air Tattoo had to find a new home in the 1980s, the US Air Force offered RAF Fairford and the first Air Tattoo was staged in the Cotswolds in 1985.

Reflecting this strong relationship, the Air Tattoo has staged a number of memorable celebrations marking key USAF anniversaries over the years and 2017 promises to be no different.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: “The US Air Force has played an important role in our history and has helped us become the greatest military airshow in the world. We’re both committed to ensuring that July’s anniversary celebrations continue to be both memorable and exciting for what will undoubtedly be another sellout airshow.”

The Air Tattoo is staged annually at RAF Fairford in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. The deadline for purchasing Earlybird admission tickets has been extended by 24 hours to midnight on Wednesday May 3. To view prices and enclosure options, visit www.airtattoo.com. All accompanied under-16s are admitted free of charge. Free parking.

The Clock’s Ticking For Earlybirds

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

As the Royal International Air Tattoo’s ‘Earlybird’ ticket offer draws to a close, airshow organisers are predicting that Saturday tickets for the summer event will sell out by next week.

Thousands of general admission tickets have already been snapped up for one of the UK’s most eagerly anticipated annual outdoor events which takes place at RAF Fairford on July 14-16.

This year’s event will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force (USAF) with aircraft including the state-of-the-art F-22 Raptor and USAF Thunderbirds Demonstration team already confirmed to take part in the flying display.

All enclosure tickets for Saturday, July 15, have already sold out and general admission tickets for Saturday are set to follow suit as the Air Tattoo Earlybird discount ends at midnight on Tuesday, May 2. Those still looking to purchase tickets for the airshow can take advantage of last minute Earlybird offers, with a £5 discount on Friday tickets and an £8 discount on Saturday and Sunday tickets. Entry is free for all children under 16 who are accompanied by an adult ticket holder.

Head of Marketing Helen Webb said: “The airshow provides is a great day out for the whole family and with the added excitement of the USAF 70th anniversary celebrations this year, tickets are selling at record speed as people don’t want to miss out.”

Also taking part in the airshow’s extensive flying display will be a wide range of international military aircraft from nations including ltaly, the Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Finland, Sweden and Slovenia who will be joining the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the legendary Red Arrows in demonstrating their capabilities.

In addition to the action in the air there will be a wide variety of entertainment and activities on offer throughout the showground, including the adrenalin-fuelled ‘Wall of Death’ in the Autodrome (as seen on Channel 4 with Guy Martin), the latest engineering technology in the Techno Zone as well as a nostalgic recreation of the 1940s in the Vintage Village.

Helen added: “Tickets for the Air Tattoo sell out year-on-year and I’m confident we’ll see the same result this year. By getting in quick and purchasing your tickets before the end of the Earlybird offer you can not only guarantee yourself a place at the world’s greatest airshow but also secure a great price.”

The Royal International Air Tattoo is held annually at RAF Fairford in aid of the RAF Charitable Trust. The Trust funds a wide range of projects and initiatives that Promote the Royal Air Force, Support its people and Encourage in youngsters an interest in aviation.

The Earlybird discount means that up until midnight on May 2, people can purchase Friday tickets at the reduced price of £34, and £47 for Saturday and Sunday. To find out more about the Air Tattoo, and to book tickets please visit www.airtattoo.com or call 01285 713456.

RAF puts its full force behind Air Tattoo

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

RIAT Lancaster

Reflecting its close relationship with the Royal Air Force, the Royal International Air Tattoo has confirmed that this summer’s flying display will feature some of the Service’s most iconic aircraft, including the world-famous Red Arrows.

The world’s premier aerobatics display team will once again colour the skies over Fairford with red, white and blue on all three days of the Air Tattoo. The nine BAE Systems Hawk T1/T1A jets, which comprise the renowned Red Arrows, will perform their trademark combination of close formations and precision flying under the leadership of Sqn Ldr David Montenegro.

Also joining the flying display line-up will be the RAF’s leading multi-role combat aircraft, the Typhoon FGR.4. Capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations, from policing and peace support, through to high intensity conflict, the Typhoon shows the enormity of present-day UK air power. Displayed by Flt Lt Ryan Lawton of 29(R) Sqn at RAF Coningsby, the incredible agility and power of the Typhoon is set to thrill spectators.

Taking a step back in time, the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will display two of its most famous and successful WW2 aircraft – the Lancaster and Spitfire – as it celebrates its 60th anniversary. A regular and hugely popular inclusion in recent Air Tattoos, the heavy bomber and fighter aircraft will evoke memories of Britain’s aviation history.
This summer’s Air Tattoo (14-16 July) will pay special tribute to the US Air Force on its 70th anniversary, having a distinct American theme with a special performance from one of the world’s most popular display teams, The Thunderbirds.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is staged annually at RAF Fairford in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Earlybird admission tickets are available until midnight on May 2, starting at £34. All under-16s go free. To buy tickets, or for more information about aircraft participating at this year’s show, please visit www.airtattoo.com

F-22 joins Air Tattoo’s USAF 70th Salute

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

USAF F22a Raptor

One of the world’s most advanced fighter jets will be making a welcome return to the Royal International Air Tattoo this summer as part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force.

Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor is the latest aircraft to be confirmed for this summer’s Air Tattoo, which takes place at RAF Fairford on July 14-16.

Air Tattoo visitors will be able to witness the stealthy, fifth-generation fighter’s incredible agility which is achieved thanks largely to its thrust-vectoring engines. The aircraft will join the hugely popular demonstration team the Thunderbirds as part of a special US tribute marking the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force (USAF).

The Raptor entered service with the USAF in December 2005 but it was not until 2010 that the aircraft performed its first UK flying demo – at the Air Tattoo.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said visitors to the airshow this summer should be prepared for an impressive and powerful display from the state-of-the-art fighter.

He said: “Very few aircraft can match the cutting edge capabilities demonstrated by the F-22 so we’re really pleased to be able to welcome it back this year. We were the first airshow in the UK to showcase the Raptor and were lucky enough to secure it again in 2016. Its display at both airshows proved hugely popular and I’m confident its display will surpass expectations yet again.

“Without the support of the US Air Force, the Air Tattoo would not be the huge success it is and one way we can demonstrate our gratitude is to stage a fitting salute to mark the air arm’s significant anniversary.”

The Royal International Air Tattoo is the world’s biggest military airshow, held annually at RAF Fairford in aid of the RAF Charitable Trust. For more about the Air Tattoo, or to buy tickets for the event, please visit www.airtattoo.com