RIAT 2019

Freece Tricolori

I went to RAF Fairford a short while ago to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo. RIAT is a huge airshow which takes place each year at RAF Fairford. I’d never been to this particular airshow before and so I was quite excited. There were also a few aircraft types I had never seen static or flying before:

  • F35
  • Su-27
  • P8
  • F18 (a friend told me I had seen some at RAF Waddington years ago)
  • Patrouille de France
  • Freece Tricolori

Nearly all the other types of aircraft I had seen static or flying before. I have to say now that the very best displays were the F16s and F18. They were both incredibly impressive given how old their design is. The Flanker was amazing, utterly brilliant.

Here is a selection of some of the photographs I had once I’d returned home. Not all the credit goes to me, the kids took quite a few of the photos and did a good job.

The weather was a little cloudy at times but we coped. Photographs look better with a mixture of blue sky and fluffy Simpsons clouds.

The noise was amazing and I just loved the sound of the afterburning jets taking off and pulling many G to show off their capabilities. I also met some old friends while at the tattoo and it was lovely to arrange to meet them. I even managed to bump into George who is a colleague from the PAC at Amport, I knew he attended and I was hoping to see him.

I’m not too happy with the media page for the photos as I think the photo is too small on that, so the images link to the actual image file, I might get around to learning how to adjust that one day.

Cold War Jets

SR-71A with Habu Pilot @ Mildenhall

In around the year 1988 my friend and I travelled to the back garden of someone in the village of Mildenhall to camp for the weekend. The purpose was to spend the weekend at the Mildenhall airshow, which I had been to before but was important for a few reasons:

  • Aircraft
  • Military aircraft
  • Military might
  • Blackbird
  • More planes

When you are a plane nut then airshows are where you get your kicks. I can’t help what I like and planes have troubled me all my life. It’s possibly due to growing up underneath the flight path of Stansted Airport in Essex. It could be because of my dad who was involved in the industry when I was young or it could just be that an aluminium tube filled with people and fuel doesn’t really have any business being six miles up off the ground.

Somehow Alan and I had found the number of someone who lived near a walk-in entrance to RAF Mildenhall [actually a USAF base] and we had booked to camp in her garden. Then, each day of the show we walked in. My memory of the charges is not great but I seem to think we got in for something like £5 each whereas a car for the day was £40. I suspect those prices are wrong given what prices were like in the 80s but I can’t remember. I do know it was dirt cheap to walk in to the show rather than drive.

SR-71A with Habu Pilot @ Mildenhall
SR-71A with Habu Pilot @ Mildenhall

There’s only a few things I can remember from the airshow. I sort of remember the Blackbird flying, it was a privilidge to see that. I also remember both AB and I watching a helicopter display, possibly an Apache, when it did a form of a wing-over or loop. Both, AB and I were amazed and clapped. There weren’t many who joined in the clapping, only those in the know.

Red Arrows Cross Over @ Mildenhall
Red Arrows Cross Over @ Mildenhall

The Red Arrows were there, of course, I I’m not sure if this was before or after I had been to Cyprus, porbably before and so I was still excited by them. The above photograph was beautifully timed by me.

My father must have found the original negatives of these photographs as he has scanned them inot his computer. I suspect there are some more picture lurking in a box somewhere and I’ll have to keep scanning his computer to see what I can find.

Here are some more photographs from those days. They aren’t very good but them photographs weren’t back in the 80s. I wasn’t great with a camera and with only 24 or 36 shots on a reel of film you were very limited in what you could take.

AB and I had a great time at the airshow. It was a really good experience and well worth the camping and entrance fees. I do feel it’s a bit of a shame that the number of airshows has decreased over the years, but these beasts were probably also a show of strength during the cold war. They were interesting times and maybe I should be glad we don’t currently need massive forces to prevent mutual destruction [it feels like it’s heading that was again though].

Addendum: I have had confirmation of aircraft types from a US source:

Duxford Airshow

May 28 2017 was a good day. I travelled to Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire for one of their airshows. Now, I’ve been to Duxford a lot and have taken some lovely photographs. I discuss my favourite birds here and more photographs are here. You can just search in that little box just over to the right.

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford is so large that it takes more than a day to see everything and that’s without a flying display to watch. I only zoomed around the hangers and static aircraft, paused at the Bloodhound replica, and then watched the gorgeous displays.

Of the static aircraft on display some were open for a walk through, I visited all of these:

  • Concorde
  • Hermes
  • York
  • Comet
  • Ambassador
  • Viscount
  • Britannia
  • VC10
  • Trident
  • One-Eleven
  • Herald

Of the flying aircraft, I was most impressed with the Typhoon, Rafale, Bronco and the Autogyro. All of these exhibited remarkable agility, they were stunning to watch. It was very good to see a Typhoon display for my first time along with the Rafale too. The Bronco is iconic and looked lovely. Even the World War 1 display wasn’t boring!

If you don’t find the Catalina gorgeous then you aren’t into planes.

The weather was really hot for the day and the storms went either side of Duxford so we didn’t get wet. I had paid for a ticket upgrade so there was a marquee with tables and chairs where we sat. Along with posh portaloos and a seating area outside just by the tower this proved to be a worthwhile investment. Well worth doing as I could dump stuff and walk around with just the camera.

The photos above are a selection from the over 400 that were taken on the day. My challenge next time is to get the colours showing on the aircraft more when they are flying. Photographs of just silhouettes aren’t that interesting.