Skip Navigation

News Stories

 

AIR TATTOO SAYS "COME FLY WITH US"

Visitors to this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo in the Cotswolds are being offered the chance to pilot a revolutionary new aircraft in their world famous flying display.

FoSop, the manufacturer of the delta-winged R-49 'Seeker' claim that the pilotless aircraft is so easy to operate from the ground that they are offering one lucky visitor the chance to demonstrate it in the skies above RAF Fairford on July 20-21.

{SHOWIMAGE}

An Air Tattoo spokesman said the manufacturers were keen to demonstrate their aircraft for the very first time and after a series of quite stringent test flights, approval was given by the appropriate authority not only to fly the aircraft but also to permit it to be operated by a visitor on the ground."

A FoSop spokesman said that the cutting-edge technology developed to operate the R-49 'Seeker' was based around current COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) flight simulator software that can be freely purchased by the general public.

He said: "It's a large bird but it's so easy to operate that you don't need any special qualifications or previous experience of piloting UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). We'll be setting up a control centre on the flightline and inviting prospective 'pilots' to take part in a simulator test process to find the best operator. Once we have determined that, he or she will take control of the real thing.

"To focus the mind of the 'operator', and to make it more realistic, the person chosen to fly the R-49 Seeker will be required to occupy a fully-armed ejector seat."

Production of the R-49 'Seeker', is due to begin on the morning of April 1, 2014 with interest already being shown by a number of UK-based budget airlines.

General characteristics:

Length:28.7 metres (94ft 2ins)

Height: 6.9 metres (22ft 8ins)

Weight:Approx 34,000kg (75,000lbs)

Range: Intercontinental

Speed: 486kt (901km/h, 560mph)

Ceiling: 6,100 metres (20,000ft)

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - DAY SEVEN

Happy Easter! It's the final day of the Air Tattoo's 'Magnificent Seven' Easter Egg-stravaganza and that means there's another exciting participant to reveal for this summer's airshow.

Yesterday, we added the RAF Chinook Display Team to the list of acts appearing in the Air Tattoo's seven-hour flying display on July 20/21, joining the Typhoon, Tucano, Tutor, Apache Lynx and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight we announced earlier this week.

To view our Chief Executive, Tim Prince, revealing the last of the Magnificent Seven, please see the video below.


We hope you've all enjoyed finding out about the aircraft taking part in our daily competitions in which we've given away prizes including a half-day Caterham Driving Experience, framed original artwork, model aircraft, books and airshow tickets.

Today's competition prize is a little special – it's a Citizen Eco-Drive RAF Red Arrows watch worth £199. What's more, the winner will receive two tickets to the Air Tattoo so that they can be presented with their watch!

The RAF Red Arrows timepiece uses award winning technology pioneered by Citizen: Eco-Drive Technology. It starts with a simple, yet revolutionary concept: a watch that never needs a battery. Citizen Eco-Drive harnesses the power of light – from any natural or artificial light source – and converts it into energy which is stored in a permanently rechargeable lithium-ion cell. It will recharge continuously in any kind of light to run forever – even in the dark.

This good looking watch features the RAF Red Arrows logo on the dial and their official insignia appears on the case back. The watch features a 1/5 Second Chronograph, World Time in 24 Cities, 12/24 Hour Time, a Screw-Back case and is Water Resistant to 100 metres. Enhanced with a luxurious black leather strap complete with red trim, it comes presented in distinctive Red Arrows packaging.

Mark Robinson, Managing Director for Citizen Watch UK, said "We are delighted with our association with the RAF Red Arrows and we are thrilled with the success of this collection so far. Furthermore, we are really pleased to be able to work with the Air Tattoo to offer fans the chance to win this striking timepiece. The Red Arrows collection is our bestselling collection to date with this flight chronograph proving incredibly popular." To enter today's competition, click here

Good luck with today's competition but even if you are unlucky, don't worry, we hope to offer you many more opportunities to be a winner before July's airshow.

Congratulations to the winners of yesterday's competition, who receives the new Airfix 1:72 scale model of Dambusters Avro Lancaster B.III (Special).

Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, starting at £35, are available until next Thursday (April 4). All under-16s go free. Free parking.For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, click here.

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - DAY SIX

Welcome to the penultimate day in the Air Tattoo's popular 'Magnificent Seven' Easter Egg-stravaganza and there's yet more exciting aircraft to reveal for this summer's airshow.

Already this week, we've announced that an RAF Typhoon, Tucano and Tutor, will join an Apache and a Lynx helicopter plus the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at the airshow on July 20/21.

To view one of our airshow team revealing the latest aircraft participant, please see the video below.


As well as unveiling new aircraft each day, we're also giving you the opportunity to win a feast of fabulous prizes in our easy-to-enter daily competitions.

To celebrate today's announcement, we're offering a prize that will bring hours of entertainment to anyone who is passionate about aircraft – that's you!

It's a spanking new Airfix 1:72 scale model of Dambusters Avro Lancaster B.III (Special), featuring no fewer than 265 parts. Airfix has released the model to mark the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, in May 1943 and its attention to detail is simply stunning. To enter today's competition, click here

Good luck with today's competition but even if you are unlucky, you'll be able to visit the Airfix stand in the new Techno Zone located in the central Showground area at this summer's Air Tattoo.

The Air Tattoo's new Techno Zone will showcase some of the cutting-edge aerospace technology currently being used by the RAF and in industry. Visitors will be able to find out about the Royal Air Force, its capabilities and how it is applying state-of-the-art innovations to gain a leading edge.

You'll also have the chance to meet the team behind the Bloodhound SSC Project, which will see Wing Commander Andy Green attempt to become the first person to reach 1,000mph in a jet and rocket powered car in 2015. You'll be able to view a full size replica of the car and experience what it's like to travel at 1.4 times the speed of sound!

Sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the Techno Zone will engage and inspire engineers of the future as well as inform and excite visitors of all ages. It is also at the heart of the RAF Charitable Trust's ambition to support the Royal Air Force and develop a spirit of airmindedness in young people.

Congratulations to the winners of yesterday's competition, who each receive a copy of the fabulous Lancaster Bomber Pocket Manual 1941-45 (Conway Publishing, £7.99).

Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, starting at £35, are available until next Thursday (April 4). All under-16s go free. Free parking. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, click here.

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - DAY FIVE

Welcome to Day Five of the Air Tattoo's 'Magnificent Seven' Easter Egg-stravaganza which sees three more aircraft added to this summer's thrilling flying display at RAF Fairford.

Already this week, we've announced that an RAF Typhoon, Tucano and Tutor will be joining an Apache and a Lynx helicopter at the airshow on July 20/21.

To view one of our airshow team revealing today's aircraft, please view the video below.



As well as announcing participating aircraft each day, we're also giving you the opportunity to win a feast of fabulous prizes in our easy-to-enter daily competitions.

To celebrate today's announcement, we're offering you not one but five chances to be a winner. We have five copies of the wonderful Lancaster Bomber Pocket Manual 1941-45 (Conway Publishing, £7.99 www.conwaypublishing.com) to give away. The book is packed full of fascinating facts, pilot's notes and extracts of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson's log book from the period covering the legendary Dambusters Raid plus lots, lots more. To enter today's competition, click here

If thoughts of yesteryear fill you with feelings of warmth and nostalgia then you'll love the Air Tattoo's new Vintage Village this summer.

Here you'll find a spectacular range of classic cars, a cockpit collection, a Pilots' Mess Bar, an iconic Spitfire and the only airworthy Vulcan bomber located close by. Inside the vintage marquee you'll find re-enactors bringing to life the sights and sounds of 1940s Britain, with authentic musical entertainment from the period provided by popular singer Madeline Brown.

Add to this a range of retro shopping opportunities, a travelling tea room plus other attractions spanning the 1930s-1960s and you have all the ingredients for a truly magical trip down memory lane.

Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, starting at £35, are available until next Thursday (April 4). All under-16s go free. Free parking.For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, click here.

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - DAY FOUR

Day Four of the Air Tattoo's 'Magnificent Seven' Easter Egg-stravaganza sees two more aircraft added to this summer's thrilling flying display at RAF Fairford.

Already this week, we've announced that an RAF Typhoon, RAF Tucano and an Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopter will be demonstrating their capabilities at the airshow on July 20/21.

As well as announcing new participants each day, we're also giving you the opportunity to win a feast of fabulous prizes in our easy-to-enter daily competitions.

Congratulations to the winner of yesterday's competition who receives a pair of entry tickets to the world's greatest airshow.

To view one of our airshow team revealing today's aircraft, see the video below.


To celebrate, today's competition offers you the chance to win a highly detailed 1:48 scale, diecast Collector's model of a BAE Hawk T1A. The model can be displayed with the canopy open or shut and with the wheels up or down.

To enter today's competition, click here

Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, starting at £35, are available until next Thursday (April 4). All under-16s go free. Free parking. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, click here.

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - DAY THREE

Welcome to Day Three of the Air Tattoo's 'Magnificent Seven' Easter Egg-stravaganza of Aircraft.

Each day this week, we're announcing a new aircraft taking part in this summer's airshow along with an easy-to-enter competition. So far this week, we've announced an RAF Typhoon and an RAF Tucano in the flying display.

Congratulations to the winner of yesterday's competition, who receives a fabulous original hand drawn, framed, piece of collectable artwork featuring the Alex cartoon strip from the Daily Telegraph.

Today's aircraft is the third this week to be added to the Air Tattoo's seven-hour flying display. To view one of our airshow team revealing the latest participant, see the video below.



To celebrate, today we're offering you the chance to win two complimentary tickets to this summer's Air Tattoo valid for Sunday, July 21.

To enter today's competition, click here

Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, starting at £35, are available until next Thursday (April 4). All under-16s go free. Free parking. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, click here.

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - DAY TWO

Welcome to Day Two of the Air Tattoo's 'Magnificent Seven' Easter Egg-stravaganza of Aircraft.

Each day this week, we're announcing a new aircraft taking part in this summer's airshow along with an easy-to-enter competition. Yesterday, we not only announced that an RAF Typhoon piloted by Flt Lt Jamie Norris will be taking part in the flying display and we gave away a fabulous Half-Day Caterham Driving Experience and five runner-up prizes.

Congratulations to our winner and runners up who have all been contacted by email.

Today's aircraft, sporting a special desert camouflage paint scheme, will also be taking part in the Air Tattoo's seven-hour flying display. To view one of the airshow team announcing the latest aircraft participant, see the video below.


To celebrate, we're offering you a rare opportunity to own an original piece of artwork, courtesy of the creators of the Alex cartoon strip, as seen in the Daily Telegraph's Business section.

{SHOWIMAGE}The artwork was kindly donated by co-creator Russell Taylor, whose father Hal, a former RAF flying instructor and Air Tattoo supporter, led a team of enthusiasts to restore British Gloster Meteor T7 WA-591 that he flew 60 years ago. The aircraft was on static display at the Air Tattoo in 2011 and 2012.

To enter today's competition, click here

Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, starting at £35, are available until next Thursday (April 4). All under-16s go free. Free parking. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, click here.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN AIRCRAFT ANNOUNCEMENTS


Today (Monday, March 25) sees the launch of the Air Tattoo's 'Magnificent Seven' Easter Egg-stravaganza of Aircraft.

Each day this week, we'll be announcing a new aircraft taking part in this summer's airshow along with an easy-to-enter competition giving you the chance to win a clutch of cracking prizes including aircraft models, books plus a special aviation-themed Citizen watch.

{SHOWIMAGE}Today's prize is a fantastic half-day Caterham Experience voucher giving the winner the chance to get into the driving seat of a super Caterham sports car for the ride of their life*.

The half-day prize can be taken at one of six race tracks around the UK. There are also five runners-up prizes of a Caterham cap and T-shirt.

If you aren't the winner, do not despair. Caterham will be bringing its Caterham Experience roadshow to the Air Tattoo on July 20-21 giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of a Caterham sports car as they are driven around a twisting, testing track by a professional stunt driver!

You'll find the Caterham Experience in the Toys For Boys Zone, one of three new exciting interactive entertainment areas in the Air Tattoo Showground.

{SHOWIMAGE}The Toys For Boys Zone will appeal to boys and girls of all ages and will feature extreme sports, fast, adrenalin-fuelled rides and activities all designed with one thing in mind, to thrill!

In addition to the Caterham Experience roadshow, there will be an extreme sports display by some of the world's leading exponents plus the chance to whizz through the air, from height, courtesy of the Skyfall zipwire.

In order to introduce some of the team involved in organising the Air Tattoo, each new aircraft will be announced by a different person each day.

To view today's aircraft announcement, please watch the video below. For more information on the aircraft, click here

To enter today's competition, click here

Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, starting at £35, are available until next Thursday (April 4). All under-16s go free. Free parking. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, click here.

 

* Please note: terms and conditions apply to the Caterham Experience competition prize.

AIR TATTOO UNVEILS SHOW MAKEOVER

{SHOWIMAGE}This summer will see the Royal International Air Tattoo unveil a package of initiatives designed to make the world's greatest airshow even more enjoyable for the thousands of people who flock to the Cotswolds each year for this unique celebration of aviation.

New Visitor Service Stations, themed areas and a variety of other enhancements in the showground are being introduced to ensure that all the thrilling aerial action is matched by an equally-enjoyable customer experience on the ground.

Visitors to the Air Tattoo, which takes place on July 20-21, will be invited to try out three new Service Stations, which have been designed to bring together everything needed for a great day out including food courts, free wi-fi hubs, information booths, toilets, official merchandise outlets, banking services, street entertainment, seating and a shaded area providing cover.

Organisers believe improved signage on the showground, greater access to aircraft, participating pilots/aircrew and new enclosure opportunities will add further to people's enjoyment whilst at RAF Fairford.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said many of the initiatives have been introduced in response to feedback from visitors who said that with so much happening in the air and on the ground during the day it was a challenge to take in all that was happening and where everything was.

Mr Prince said: "Of course the aircraft are the stars of the show but we also recognise that the showground's a big area and there's lots going on over the weekend so it can be a bit daunting. We started by gathering together many of the facilities people use during the day into three strategically-located Service Stations.

"We've also extended the range of catering options in these areas so visitors can now enjoy vegetarian and Asian cuisine - plus deli bars - alongside the traditional burger and fish & chip options.

"We've looked at everything we do in terms of delivering customer satisfaction from the journey to the airshow, the event itself and the departure phase. We're confident visitors will welcome the enhancements we've introduced."

July will also see the Air Tattoo unveil three new entertainment zones on the showground: the Techno Zone, the Toys For Boys Zone and the Vintage Village each offering a range of exciting ground-based attractions and hands' on activities courtesy of leading brands such as Caterham and Animal.

Mr Prince said: "Most people know that our event is one of the greatest aviation spectacles in the world but there is so much more to the Air Tattoo experience than just that – and this summer we're going to prove it!"
{SHOWIMAGE}

23 March 2013

ROYAL NAVY SETS SAIL FOR AIR TATTOO

The wide variety of important roles performed by the Fleet Air Arm will be in the spotlight at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.

From anti-piracy and hunting enemy submarines, to Search & Rescue and surveillance, visitors will be able to see the range of helicopters performing these roles, and others, close up as well as speak to the crews.

Among the Royal Navy aircraft taking part will be a Merlin HM Mk1, which is capable of finding – and destroying enemy submarines, if necessary; a Sea King AsaC Mk7 which searches for aerial threats to the Royal Navy's fleet and a Sea King HAR Mk5 Search & Rescue helicopter.

An Air Tattoo spokesman said: "We are pleased to welcome the Royal Navy to this summer's Air Tattoo. We feel it is important for the public to recognise not only the different contributions made by the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Army – and civilian emergency services - in support of our aerial protection but also their different capabilities." {SHOWIMAGE}
21 March 2013

BREITLING TO SEND US THE FAB FOUR

{SHOWIMAGE}

Here's four good reasons why you won't want to miss out on the world's greatest airshow this summer.

The glamorous Breitling Wingwalking Team is the only formation, wingwalking team on the planet and they will be taking to the skies above the Cotswolds for a barnstorming aerobatic - and acrobatic - display.

The team's four intrepid wingwalkers- Freya, Sarah, Danielle and Stella - will be performing an incredible range of eye watering manouevres that have captivated airshow audiences around the world.

Further information about the hugely popular team can be found here.

For a taste of what you can expect to see from the Breitling Wingwalkers ahead of their appearance at the Air Tattoo, why not watch their promo video below.

To book your tickets for the best airshow in the world, click here.


WE'RE NOT FINNISHED YET!

We have just received a very welcome update from the Finnish Army who have informed us that they will increase their participation at RIAT 2013 to two NH90 TTH Helicopters. It is intended to display the previously notified example in a MEDEVAC configuration in the static display, whilst the second example is scheduled to make the debut appearance of this powerful helicopter in the Air Tattoo flying display.

For further information on the NH90, please click here.
{SHOWIMAGE}

AIR TATTOO IN TOP 10 GLOBAL AIRSHOW LIST

{SHOWIMAGE} One of the most widely-read newspapers in the United States has featured the Royal International Air Tattoo among its top 10 best airshows in the world.

USA Today, which has more than 2 million readers, listed the Air Tattoo alongside other aviation events in Canada, Germany, Florida and Nevada.

It stated: "The Royal International Air Tattoo should top your list of must-see events. RIAT includes in-air performances, two miles of stationary aircraft to check out and interactive activities for visitors of all ages."

The full list is: Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, Gloucestershire; Florida International Air Show, US; EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Wisconsin, US; Sun 'n' Fun International Fly-in, Florida, US; Tannkosh, Germany; Reno Air Races, Nevada, US; Miramar Air Show, San Diego, US; Abbotsford Airshow, Canada; Great Tennessee Air Show, US; Bournemouth Air Festival, UK.

Earlier this year, a leading UK aviation website – UK Airshow Review – announced that the Air Tattoo had provided six of the Top 10 airshow moments of 2012.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said it was great to know that the Air Tattoo's reputation stretches across the Atlantic and is recognised as a truly global event not only by aircraft enthusiasts but also by the wider public.

He added: "Our aim is to create a memorable family day out that blends all the thrills of a seven-hour flying display with an exciting range of interactive entertainment on the ground."

Tickets for this summer's Air Tattoo, which takes place at RAF Fairford on July 20-21, can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling the Ticketline on 0800 107 1940.

February 27, 2013

LOVE IS IN THE AIR AT THE AIR TATTOO

If aircraft received Valentine's Day cards then Vulcan XH558, which has just been confirmed for this summer's Air Tattoo, would be inundated today!

That's the belief of the airshow organisers who have chosen Valentine's Day to announce the participation of an iconic aircraft that continues to inspire strong feelings of passion among its army of supporters.

Vulcan XH558 is the only flying example of this large Cold War bomber in the world having been restored to flying condition in 2007 following a public fundraising campaign by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTTS) that helped raise more than £7 million.

The appeal of the delta-winged Vulcan owes as much to its curvaceous design as it does its sheer size and power. In the air, its thunderous yet graceful display is one of the most eagerly-anticipated on the UK airshow circuit.

As well as watching its display at RAF Fairford on July 20-21, visitors will be able to visit the Vulcan Village within the Air Tattoo's Vintage Zone to find out more about the aircraft and talk to members of the aircrew.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "It was people's love for the Vulcan and their desire to see it fly again that enabled the incredible fundraising team to do the impossible and bring this amazing aircraft back to flying condition."

VTTS Director Michael Trotter said that whilst he hoped Vulcan XH558 would appear at many more Air Tattoos, there was a possibility that this may be her last one. He said: "The engineering team is working with leading aviation industry specialists to ensure that XH558 can continue flying for as long as possible, but there are complex technical issues to be resolved.

"The Air Tattoo audience is substantial and very appreciative. We are always asked if we will be at Fairford as it is important both in the UK and for the aircraft's overseas supporters, many of whom come over specially to see her fly at the airshow."

The Air Tattoo is the world's greatest airshow and is staged in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. July's event will feature a thrilling seven-hour flying display, a large static aircraft park and a wide range of interactive family entertainment. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase Earlybird tickets, click here – all under-16s go free.

BRAZIL CONFIRMS TWO AIRCRAFT FOR 2013

{SHOWIMAGE}They'll be doing the samba in Swindon, the tango in Taunton and the lambada in Leeds!

Not to be outdone by Colombia's recent announcement that it would be participating in this summer's Air Tattoo, its neighbour Brazil has confirmed that it too will be taking part with two military aircraft!

A longstanding and loyal supporter of the Air Tattoo, the Brazilian Air Force – the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) - said it planned to send an R-99 and KC-130H to the UK this summer to take part in the world's greatest airshow.

The R-99 is modern aerial surveillance aircraft used by the Brazilians to patrol both the vast Amazon basin and its borders. The KC-130H is a tanker version of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft that has been modified to carry out a refuelling role.

Both aircraft will be located in the static park.

Aircraft Operations Deputy Director Tom Gibbons said: ""We are absolutely delighted to hear the news that the Brazilian Air Force will once again be attending the Royal International Air Tattoo, this time with a KC-130H Hercules and an Embraer R-99 surveillance aircraft.

"The Brazilians are staunch RIAT supporters and it is fantastic that they have committed valuable resource to the show this early in the year. The unusual R-99 aircraft fits neatly into our operational SkyGuardian theme and we look forward to welcoming both sets of crews to Fairford in July."
{SHOWIMAGE}
Image courtesy of Chris Lofting

'JUPITER' ENTERS AIR TATTOO ORBIT

By Jove! Organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds have just been told how the Colombian Air Force intends to trump its historic and colourful participation at last summer's airshow.

The South American country says it is planning to send one of its latest – and largest – military aircraft, a KC-767 'Jupiter' tanker/transporter, to the Air Tattoo on July 20-21. The aircraft will come from 811 Transport Squadron based in the country's capital, Bogota.
{SHOWIMAGE}
Last year, the Colombian Air Force made its European airshow debut at the Air Tattoo, sending two aircraft: a small T-90 Calima trainer and a colourfully-painted C-130H Hercules on the 5,200-mile trip to the UK.

Colombia has one of the best equipped and trained air forces in South America and, among its many roles, plays an important part in fighting drug-related terrorism.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "Last year, the Colombians sent one of the most eye-catching aircraft we have seen at the Air Tattoo for a long while and we wait with bated-breath to see what touches down in July!

"It's not every year that we get the opportunity to welcome aircraft from South America. I'm delighted that they found last summer's visit to us so valuable and enjoyable that they are keen to make the long journey once again - with an even more exciting aircraft."

The Air Tattoo is the world's greatest airshow and is staged in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. July's event will feature a thrilling seven-hour flying display, a large static aircraft park and a wide range of interactive family entertainment. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase Earlybird tickets, visit our ticket page – all under-16s go free.

January 31, 2013

10 Things You Didn't Know About Colombia


  • The official language is Spanish
  • Independence from Spain was won in 1819
  • It's the 26th largest country – by area.
  • The word 'Colombia' comes from 'Christopher Columbus'
  • It is bordered by six countries
  • It is known as the leading source of emeralds
  • Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya hails from Colombo.
  • The yellow in the national flag represents all the gold found in the country
  • Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is married to Colombian Stella Arroyave
  • Latin American singer Shakira is Colombian.

AIR TATTOO HAS 'SIX' APPEAL, SAY ENTHUSIASTS

A leading UK aviation website has announced that the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, in the heart of the Cotswolds, provided six of the Top 10 airshow moments of 2012.

UK Airshow Review, which has more than 8,000 members, said that last summer's Air Tattoo will be remembered as "one of the best shows in recent memory", providing "iconic moments and historic appearances".

Among the six highlights were rare appearances by the US Air Force B-2 'Spirit' stealth bomber, a Japanese Air Self Defense Force Boeing KC-767J tanker and a "thrilling" flying display by the South Korean Black Eagles aerobatic display team.

Other highlights featured in the Top 10 were displays by a Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum and an iconic EIIR formation by 27 Hawk jets to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Website spokesman Daniel Butcher said: "Each year, our team of writers and photographers collate a list of what they thought to be the defining moments of any given airshow season. That the Air Tattoo provided so many highlights in a year that saw strong competition is testament to the fact that it got the tone spot on, marrying exceptional aircraft with relevant static and ground displays, educated, entertaining commentary, and plenty of firsts and one-offs."

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said he was delighted that the Top 10 featured so many Fairford participants. He said: "It's largely due to our huge army of volunteers who return each year to help stage the Air Tattoo that the airshow has built up an international reputation for excellence. It is this reputation that helps us attract so many exciting and rare aircraft from around the world. It's great to know that all the hard work involved in bringing such a wide variety of aircraft to the Cotswolds each year is appreciated and it encourages us to achieve even greater things in July."

The Air Tattoo, which is staged in support of the RAF Charitable Trust, takes place on July 20-21, 2013. Organisers announced today (Monday, January 7) that they were extending by one week the period during which Super Earlybird tickets would be available. People now have until first thing Monday, January 14 to take advantage of a specially-priced Super Earlybird ticket, which offers a saving of up to 33 per cent on the price of admission. For full details, visit airtattoo.com

January 7, 2013

RAF DELIVERS AIR TATTOO 'XMAS GIFT'

Organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo have described news of the Royal Air Force's plans for next summer's airshow as an exciting, early Christmas present.

In a letter to the organisers this week, the RAF outlined an ambitious programme of involvement at the Air Tattoo, which takes place at RAF Fairford, in the heart of the Cotswolds, on July 20 & 21, 2013.

The RAF's Air Command said it hoped to send a flying VC-10 transport aircraft and TriStar air-to-air tanker plus a C-17, A330 'Voyager' and C-130J/K Hercules for either the flying display or static park.

Other RAF aircraft earmarked for the airshow include a Tornado, Search & Rescue Sea King helicopter, the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

The RAF said it also supported plans by the airshow organisers to bring together all the Typhoon operators of the world in line with its operational theme SkyGuardian.

A number of potential, exciting set pieces for the flying display were also suggested by the Royal Air Force, but airshow organisers said they were keeping these under wraps until next year.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "Though we shall have to wait until spring to receive official confirmation of exactly which RAF aircraft will be attending, it's great to receive such positive news so early.

"It is important for us to make sure that the Air Tattoo provides the most effective engagement opportunity for the Royal Air Force because of the incredible support they give us each year. Having knowledge of their plans so early on is fantastic and gives us a great head start with our planning. It was like receiving an early Christmas present!"

People planning to visit the Air Tattoo next summer have until Sunday, January 6 to take advantage of a specially-priced Super Earlybird ticket, which offers a saving of 33 per cent on the price of admission. For full details, visit airtattoo.com

December 21, 2012

Editor's note: for further information, please contact the Air Tattoo's Head of Press & PR Richard Arquati on 01285 713300 ext 5361 or email press.man1@rafcte.com

AIR TATTOO OFFERS SPICE OF 'LIFE'

The Royal International Air Tattoo has teamed up with the region's most popular lifestyle magazine to offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy the world's greatest airshow next summer from the comfort of a new enclosure.

Cotswold Life has been named as the airshow's official media partner for 2013, paving the way for the development of a number of new and exciting commercial opportunities.

Air Tattoo Commercial Director Caroline Rogers said: "We have been looking to develop a new viewing enclosure for 2013 that was both stylish and comfortable but with a traditional, retro atmosphere, so we are now launching the 'Spitfire Lawn'. We felt the Cotswold Life brand sits very comfortably with what we are trying to achieve and we'll be looking to reflect this for our guests next summer.

"You don't have to be a Cotswold Life reader to enjoy afternoon tea and a perfect view of the flying display from the Spitfire Lawn but we hope the association gives people a flavour of what to expect."

The airshow offers visitors a number of different enclosure options each featuring a package of benefits designed to enhance their Air Tattoo visit. Choices range from a simple grandstand seat or garden chair on the crowdline in the Viewing Village, to the VIP experience provided in the Lightning Pavilion (formerly the Trenchard Chalet).

Other enclosure options include the informal Pimm's Flight Deck, serving a picnic-style lunch with director-style seating; and the more formal Aviation Club, which offers VIP car parking, morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea. Enclosure prices range from £25 to £468.

The Royal International Air Tattoo, which is staged in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, takes place on July 20-21, 2013. It features demonstrations by many of the world's most exciting military aircraft and aerobatic display teams in a spectacular seven-hour flying display.

For more details about the Air Tattoo and the various ticket and enclosure options, visit airtattoo.com

18 December, 2012

2013 AIR TATTOO TICKET FAQ'S

For all the information you need about Air Tattoo tickets for 2013, please see below for our ticket FAQ's.

 

In the past, the price of an Air Tattoo ticket was the same for the Saturday and Sunday. Why has the Air Tattoo decided to charge less for the Sunday ticket in 2013?

Won't this mean that everyone will choose to come to the airshow on the Sunday?

We normally attend on the Saturday. Why did you choose to reduce the price of the Sunday ticket rather than Saturday ticket?

Will the planned flying display programme be the same for both days?

Why is there no longer an optional day-specific ticket?

Are all accompanied under-16s still able to enjoy the Air Tattoo free of charge?

What other changes have you introduced for 2013?

When will I receive my 2013 Air Tattoo ticket?

What is the cheapest ticket I can buy to get into the Air Tattoo in July?

What if I don't want to purchase my ticket via the internet?



To buy Air Tattoo 2013 tickets click here
 

INVITED COUNTRIES UPDATE

We have launched the 2013 Royal International Air Tattoo with Super Earlybird tickets going on sale along with a variety of enclosure and grandstand options in order to enhance your visit. As part of the build-up to the airshow on July 20-21, we shall once again be keeping you up-to-date with all the latest news and aircraft confirmations.

Whilst we are at an early stage in the process of attracting aircraft to RIAT 2013, nonetheless, we are happy to share with you some of the early feedback we have received following our embassy visits in October and from the invitations sent out to international military chiefs.

To see this information, please click here.

FRIAT 2013 MEMBERSHIPS NOW ON SALE

FRIAT 2013 membership packages are now on sale online!  A Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo package is the ideal way to enjoy the show with two, four or six day options.

For more information about FRIAT membership packages click here or buy online now!

SIGNED FRAME SETTLES INTO NEW HOME

A bid of £570 secured Sean Runcie a unique piece of Air Tattoo memorabilia from the 2012 airshow.

{SHOWIMAGE}
Sean, a motor vehicle servicing specialist from Corby in Northamptonshire, visited the Air Tattoo headquarters at Douglas Bader House recently to collect his framed print.

The large, one-off framed print featured the official 2012 Air Tattoo artwork created by renowned aviation artist David Bent.

It had been signed by many of those who took part in the airshow including the Red Arrows, the US Air Force's B-2 'Stealth' crew, RAF display pilots, the Vulcan crew, the South Korean Black Eagles team and the Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum display pilot.

Others signatories include the UAE's Al Fursan team, the Japanese Air Self Defense Force KC-767 crew and the USAF F-15E Strike Eagle team. In total, more than 280 signatures feature as well a number of colourful squadron patches, pins and stickers representing air arms from around the world.

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the RAF Charitable Trust.

Sean said: "I've been to the Air Tattoo for quite a few years and think it is great. I heard about the auction, took a look at the print online and thought 'that looks good'. It's great to have placed the winning bid at the auction. I know exactly where I'm going to hang it!"

SCOTTISH AIRSHOW PERFORMED 'VITAL' ROLE

Hot on the heels of helping organise the world's largest military airshow at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, a team from the Royal International Air Tattoo headed up to Scotland to help stage its national airshow.

The team from Air Tattoo Event Services (ATES), the air display arm of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises, worked closely with the National Museums Scotland to provide the flying element of Scotland's National Airshow 2012 at East Fortune. ATES, led by Air Events Executive and Flying Display Director Norman Webster co-ordinated the provision of aircraft displays, a flying control committee, air-to-ground radio service and display commentator.

The RAF Red Arrows headed up a four-hour flying programme which, this year, featured a bumper selection of UK military aircraft. The Royal Air Force was represented in the air by a Hawk, and Tucano – both sporting special Diamond Jubilee colour schemes – and an RAF King Air multi-engined training aircraft.

The Senior Service was well represented with a Search and rescue Sea King helicopter from HMS Gannet, Prestwick, Ayrshire and a notable appearance by the Royal Navy Historic Flight Sea Fury and Swordfish, the latter performing a memorable formation flypast with the Sea King.

In addition to the military hardware on display, there were a range of civilian acts to be seen with the Great War Display Team staging a four-aircraft 'dog-fight' and a Hughes OH-6 'Cayuse' helicopter making a rare flying display appearance.

Civilian display teams were well represented by the SWIP Team with a pair of SA1100 Silence Twisters and the RV8tors with a pair of VANS RV8 aircraft.

Local aviation was to the fore with Gavin Hunter flying a polished display in his Spanish-produced Bucker Jungmann and Jim McTaggart following closely behind in his Stolp Starduster, both flying from the nearby strip at Archerfield.

ATES Display Director Norman Webster said: "Once again, the Scottish audience showed themselves to be enthusiastic and vocal supporters of all things aviation, and the gasps of excitement and spontaneous applause made for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

"Special mention should also go to Scott McClaren and his team at Signature Flight Support at Edinburgh Airport for their help and support on what was, for them, an extremely busy weekend."

National Museums Scotland general manager, Grant MacKenzie said Air Tattoo Event Services had brought together a very strong flying display which delighted the 11,500-strong crowd.

He said: "The airshow at East Fortune is our biggest event and a vital ingredient in helping raise our profile. It'd become an important and popular feature on Scotland's event calendar.

"Not only does it benefit National Museums Scotland but it also provides an important platform on which the Royal Air Force can demonstrate its capabilities north of the border."

Air Tattoo Event Services was set up in 2010 to provide bespoke air display packages to the organisers of private, corporate or large public events such as outdoor concerts, conferences, gala dinners or staff family days.

For further information, please contact Tom Gibbons or Norman Webster on 01285 713300 ext. 5444 or by email at eventservices@rafcte.com


August 7, 2012

'CLASSIC' AIR TATTOO THRILLS VISITORS

ONE OF the best in recent years: that was the verdict after a star-studded line-up lived up to expectations at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Despite the inclement weather, over 130,000 visitors attended during the show period, and their resilience was rewarded with some truly spectacular flying, with the Black Eagles aerobatic display team from South Korea getting everyone talking with a breath-taking debut performance.

Organisers were delighted to provide a classic Air Tattoo line-up, made possible by: debut visits from the air arms of Japan, Colombia and South Korea; five other aerobatic display teams, including crowd favourites The Red Arrows, plus the first Air Tattoo appearance of Al Fursan (The Knights from the United Arab Emirates); and iconic aircraft such as the USAF B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, the ever-popular Avro Vulcan, and the Bell-Boeing Osprey MV-22.

A total of 39 air arms from 25 nations were represented at the event, bringing in 268 aircraft and 10 hot-air balloons. And 43 senior military representatives attended the Air Chiefs' Conference which preceded the airshow.

Considering the country had endured the wettest June on record, organisers made the decision to cap visitor numbers early, to ensure that the airshow could safely continue no matter what the weather. Safety was the paramount concern, and organisers were delighted that by Sunday afternoon their contingency plans appeared to be holding up.

Less than two per cent of the cars using our parking areas on Saturday (July 7) required assistance, and we are pleased to report that our teams were able to get all of them safely on their way.

The event got off to a spectacular start with the christening of the A400M "Atlas", the RAF's new next-generation transport aircraft, when the Air Tattoo was delighted to welcome Government officials. Peter Luff, Minister of Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, was the guest of honour at the official ceremony.

The weather failed to dampen spirits with the crowds enjoying a variety of showground activities: on the ground the Taiko drummers from the Iruma Air Base in Japan stole the show, performing choreographed drumming routines and encouraging young visitors to try the hand at drumming. The troupe arrived on board a Boeing KC-767J from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), the first operational aircraft from Japan to appear at a flying display outside Asia, and went down a storm with their colourful, noisy and exuberant routines.

Special guests included: HRH the Duke of Gloucester; HRH Lieutenant General Prince Feisal bin Hussein of Jordan, Patron of the Air Tattoo's Flying Scholarships for Disabled People; Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton; Gen Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff, USAF; the Rt Hon Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence; and Gen Sung Il Hwan, Korea's Chief of Air Staff.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "This has been a challenging year, but the great British public, and our overseas visitors, have supported us as they always do. We warmly welcomed our new visitors from Japan, South Korea and Colombia, who have helped the Air Tattoo maintain its reputation as one of the greatest international military airshows, and we continue to be grateful for the fantastic support from the RAF and the United States Air Force, who continue to see the benefits the Air Tattoo brings in terms of defence diplomacy.

"We are particularly grateful to BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin who have committed to extending their sponsorship until 2016, which is great news, and would like to thank our volunteers who play a pivotal role in making the Air Tattoo happen."

The Air Tattoo medical teams reported relatively few incidents over the weekend. Chief Medical Officer Sara Hall reported that 152 visitors had been treated for minor injuries, including hayfever, cuts and bruises, while several were transferred to hospital for further treatment. These included a gentlemen who developed leg pains after being involved in a road traffic accident off-site, and a lady who collapsed with a cardiac arrest.

And Senior Fire Officer Barry Scott reported a safe Air Tattoo, with the main incident being a request on Thursday from Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service for help in bringing a large fire near Royal Wootton Bassett under control.

First-time Air Tattoo visitor Freddie d'Ambrumenil, 27, from Bristol, said: "I loved all the different types of aircraft, the displays were fantastic, and it was great to see so many different nations represented. I enjoyed walking around and also the chance to interact with the crews and to see inside the aircraft. And I liked the vintage cars too – there really was something for everybody."

Grant McFadden, 34, from Glasgow in Scotland, said: "This is my first time at RIAT and it's been a brilliant day. There are so many aircraft from so many countries and my favourite flying display was from the Polish MiG-29: that was excellent!"

And the Couzens family – Gerry, 78, Matthew, 49, and 15-year-old Mark from nearby Swindon all enjoyed their day. Matthew said: "We're having an excellent time: we're on our way to see the B-2, and Mark and I are looking forward to seeing the Red Arrows," while Gerry added: "I served in Korea during World War II, so I'm naturally looking forward to watching the Black Eagles, and I hope to re-visit Korea next year, for the first time since the War."


July 8, 2012

'ZIMI' SIGNS OUT WITH LAST DISPLAY

THE Swiss aerobatic display team produced a top performance in the last display of this year's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. And it was a fitting farewell from team leader Capt Marc 'Zimi' Zimmerli who bowed out after his last overseas display with the Patrouille Suisse.

Zimi has been a team member for nine years, so today's display was a special event . . . and the Air Tattoo Fire Services team made it something to remember by organising a water arch from two fire trucks, under which all six of the Patrouille's F-5E Tiger IIs taxied after their display.

From there the team continued to their parking spot where a red carpet was rolled out, an honour guard of 12 team crew and five fellow pilots formed, and champagne was sprayed.

Zimi said: "It was a good display to end with – my last one in a foreign country -everyone worked well and I'm very happy. Yes, I'll be leaving the team but I'm moving back to an F-18 squadron which will be good."

The Air Tattoo extends its congratulations to Zimi on his time with the Patrouille Suisse, and wishes him all the best and an open invitation to come back to the airshow.


July 10, 2012

SOUTH KOREANS SCOOP TWO AWARDS

FIRST-TIME participants the South Korean Black Eagles emerged triumphant from the awards night yesterday (Sunday) at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, scooping two prizes.

The winners were announced at the traditional end to the event, the Sunday Night Hangar Party, when Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire, Chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, opened proceedings by thanking everyone for their contributions to RIAT 2012.

Sir John thanked volunteers and participants for all their efforts, adding: "The flying displays were magnificent, and hugely appreciated by the visiting chiefs and the ticket-buying public".

Air Cdre Nigel Wharmby of the Air Tattoo's Flying Control Committee made special mention of the RAF's 15 Sqn based at Lossiemouth in Scotland. He said: "They lost three of their aircrew last week in a tragic mid-air collision, and we're indebted to the station, the squadron and the role demo team for continuing, to come down here and perform the demo as a tribute to their colleagues." He also paid tribute to the members of RAF Valley and Yeovilton for the E2R flypast that was "meticulously planned and executed".

This year, the top award, the King Hussein Memorial Sword - presented in memory of the late HM King Hussein of Jordan, Patron of the International Air Tattoo (1983-1989) for the Best Overall Flying Demonstration - went to the Republic of Korea Air Force, 239th Aerobatic Squadron,"Black Eagles" Aerobatic Team. The sword was presented by HRH Lt Gen Prince Faisal of Jordan.

The team also collected the As the Crow Flies Trophy, voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo, and presented by David Higham, Director of Finance and Support Services for the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises.

Commenting on their two awards, Lt Col Young Hwa Kim, commander of the Black Eagles, said: "I am very honoured that we won the best award in the aviation industry. I can't express in words what we feel. I am very delighted with the team and pleased with our success."

The team had already won a trophy for their display at the Waddington Airshow the week before, giving them a haul of three awards to take back to their base at Wonju, South Korea.

The Paul Bowen Trophy - presented in memory of Royal International Air Tattoo co-founder Paul Bowen for the Best Solo Jet Demonstration – went to Sqn Ldr Scott Loughran of 6 Squadron RAF Leuchars, flying the Eurofighter Typhoon. The trophy was presented by Tim Prince, Director of the Air Tattoo and Chief Executive of the RAFCTE.

Sqn Ldr Loughran said: "I'm just delighted to have received this award. It's fantastic to achieve recognition for what the 6 Sqn team hoped would be an excellent display."

The Volunteer Reserve Forces Poignard Trophy was won by 37 Signals Regiment of the British Army who sort out the vital telephone system around the airfield each year. The award was presented by Gp Capt Richard Mighall.

Maj Dave Fraley, who received the trophy on behalf of the unit, said: "It's wonderful to be recognised for the work the regiment does here at the Air Tattoo. We have had a fantastic time, despite the weather, and we are looking forward to returning next year, our 35th year."

The Sir Douglas Bader Trophy – presented by Shell UK for the Best Individual Flying Display – went to Captains Michael Brocard & Cedric Ruet, from ETR 2/92 Aquitaine, French Air Force, flying the Rafale.

Alan Smith, Chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises, presented the trophy to Capt Brocard, who received the award for the second year in a row. He said: "I am very pleased to have been recognised again this year. The Air Tattoo is a great airshow, it has great air forces, a fantastic crowd: it has been great to display here again."

Gp Capt Geoff Brindle, whose Air Tattoo roles have included Lightning Display Pilot and Flying Display Director, presented The Lockheed Martin Cannestra Trophy – awarded by Lockheed Martin for the Best Flying Demonstration by an overseas participant - to Capt Adrian Rojek and Capt Artur Kalko flying the Polish Air Force Mikoyan MiG-29.

Capt Kalko commented: "We are very surprised, we didn't expect any award. We were very happy for the invitation and the opportunity to present the Polish Air Force, and its national heroes and RAF pilots."

The Steedman Display Sword - presented by The Royal International Air Tattoo in memory of the late Air Chief Marshal Sir Alasdair Steedman, Chairman of the International Air Tattoo (1981-1988), for the Best Flying Demonstration by a UK participant – was awarded to Flt Lt Paul A Farmer and his team, flying the Chinook from 18 Sqn, RAF Odiham.

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire presented the sword. Team spokesman Flt Lt Paul Farmer said: "It's amazing, a great honour and an absolute surprise. It's been a team effort over the weekend, and an incredible honour – I'm lost for words."

And finally, the Best Livery award went to the crew of the Polish Navy's Mil Mi-14 "Haze"' helicopter of 29 Eskadra based at Darlowo. They received the award from Gardiner Porter, Director, Military Aviation for Jeppesen.

Lt Yarek Lipinski, collecting the award on behalf of his crew, said: "This is the first time for the aircraft to visit the Air Tattoo, and we did not expect so much interest and appreciation." The Orca decoration of the aircraft took three days to prepare and five days to paint. It was made ready just a week before its Air Tattoo appearance.


July 9, 2012

 

BLACK EAGLES HONOUR VETERANS

MEMBERS of the South Korean Black Eagles aerobatic display team have met two Gloucester veterans of the war which kept their country free and democratic during this weekend's Royal International Air Tattoo.

Veterans and friends Denis Grogan and Tom Clough, members of the Gloucester Branch of the British Korean Veterans Association, met up with the pilots of the Black Eagles following their spectacular display at today's Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire.

Lt Col Young Hwa Kim, the commander of the team, told the veterans they were honoured to meet them, adding that the veterans had made great sacrifices for the Republic of Korea.

The veterans met the pilots and enjoyed a short tour of the Black Eagles' flight-line before spending the rest of the day in the VIP enclosures at the airshow.

Denis, 81, from Churchdown near Gloucester, served in Korea in 1951 and was in the Royal Air Force, supporting the little Auster observation planes which provided information for artillery positions.

He said: "It was wonderful to meet the team, and see the aircraft close up: I thought their display was wonderful, particularly when they used the smoke to show part of their national flag.

"I have returned to Korea twice since the war, and it's a wonderful country, where the people are truly appreciative of what the veterans did for them."

PHOTOGRAPH: Veterans Denis Grogan (wearing cap) and Tom Clough meet the Black Eagles aerobatic display team at the Royal International Air Tattoo.


July 8, 2012

ATLAS TAKES TO THE AIR AT FAIRFORD

The RAF's future airlifter, the Airbus A400M Atlas, is making its only UK flying appearance this year, taking to the air at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

The giant aircraft took to the skies over RAF Fairford yesterday as part of the RAF's Air Mobility flypast, along with the other transport aircraft based at nearby RAF Brize Norton. It will also appear in the flypast today.

Air Tattoo director Tim Prince said: "I am delighted the Air Tattoo was chosen as the venue for the naming ceremony for the A400M Atlas, and that Airbus Military's chief test pilot, Ed Strongman, was able to fly the Atlas in our weekend's eight-hour daily flying display programmes.

"Our visitors have been able to enjoy this fantastic aircraft on the ground, and they've also had two rare opportunities to see and hear this amazing machine fly in the skies over RAF Fairford."

The aircraft appearing at Fairford is one of six prototypes being used by Airbus Military for the development of the aircraft. The first aircraft made its maiden flight in December 2009 and the first production aircraft is due to enter service with the French Air Force at the end of this year or in early 2013.

The RAF will receive the first of the 22 A400Ms ordered in 2014. The fleet is due to be based at Brize Norton.

July 8, 2012

TWEETERS SING AIR TATTOO PRAISES

THE Royal International Air Tattoo's been going down well with visitors, who've been singing our praises via social media. There has been a deluge of positive comments, and tweets from the famous and not-so-well-known include the following:

Carol Vorderman ‏@carolvorders
Yep there are many bits of blue sky @AIRTATTOO ..... happy beyond happy and squealing lots x

JAMES MASON ‏@JAMESMASON76
...and being from Lincolnshire it was brilliant to see the Vulcan, Lancaster & spitfires do fly pasts all sounding on song: ))

Paolo di Gugliemo ‏@llanciawn
@AIRTATTOO I remember one of the most amazing things was walking into a Galaxy. I mean, it was like a cathedral!

Stuart Pryke ‏@StuartPryke
@AIRTATTOO today was awesome. Really really great!!

Jakey Snowdon ‏@JakeySnowdon
Had an awesome day @AIRTATTOO today! Plenty of pictures! B-2

Josh Smith ‏@JO5HSMITH
Great day at the air tattoo yest didn't rain too much

RAL ‏@Rudolf_13
Royal International Air Tattoo 2012, what an experience. I highly recommend it!

Want to get involved in the conversation below? Follow @AIRTATTOO on Twitter and tweet using the hashtag #RIAT


July 8, 2012

AMERICAN HONOUR FOR RAF OFFICER

THE Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford was the setting for a medal ceremony of special importance yesterday, when an RAF Air Commodore received a top American honour.

Air Cdre Colin Basnett, RAF, was presented with the United States' Legion of Merit to mark his outstanding work in Afghanistan. He received the medal from General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, with Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton also in attendance.

The Legion of Merit is a military decoration awarded for 'exceptionally meritorious conduct' in the performance of outstanding service and achievements, and is endorsed by the President of the United States himself.

The citation reads: "For especially meritorious service as Director of the Combined Air and Space Ops Centre from May 2010 to September 2010.

After the presentation, Air Cdre Basnett said: "To be presented with the Legion of Merit by General Schwartz, the Commanderin Chief of USAF,was an honour in itself. I am extremely proud, especially as670 American service men and women were under my command in Afghanistan. They moved mountains to deliver air power in support of allied troops on the ground, not just in terms of weapons delivery, but supply and transport too, the whole gamut of our combined capability."


July 8, 2012

JULIAN WINS FLIGHT SIM FLY-OFF

AN air battle royal took place at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire as six members of the Air Training Corps took to the (simulated) skies for the chance to fly-off against a pilot from the Breitling Jet Team.

The cadets - two glider pilots, along with four Qualified Aerospace Instructors - each had to fly a circuit on the Air Training Corps' customised flight simulators, both of which are available for visitors to try out themselves at the Air Tattoo this weekend.

With Bernard Charbonnel, Christophe Deketelaere and Frederic Schwebel from the Breitling Jets looking on as judges, the cadets took turns to fly a perfect take-off, barrel-roll circuit and landing in the legendary World War II fighter, the P-51 Mustang.

Cadet Flight Sgt Julian Caithness of 73 (Huntingdon) Squadron emerged as the winner and was then given the chance to pit his flying skills against Christophe "Douky" Deketelaere. While the P-51 Mustang is very different from the L-39 that "Douky" normally flies, and the Vigilants and Grob Tutors used by the Air Training Corps, the fly-off was an exciting one, and saw Julian declared the winner by virtue of a perfect landing.

"Douky" said: "It was great fun and it's always good to play aroundon simulators, although I think I am clearly unable to fly the P-51! It is important that we give young people the chance to learn about aviation though, and the Air Training Corps here in the UK does that and a lot more too."

Sqn Ldr Philip Jones, HQ Air Cadets, said: "It was great to see the Breitling Jet Team visit the Air Training Corps at Tri@RIAT and to get so involved with our flight sim fly-off. The Air Tattoo is the biggest single event of the year for the Air Training Corps, with two exhibition stands, three gliders and more than 600 Cadets helping to run the airshow."

He added: "We look forward to welcoming visitors over the weekend so we can tell them more about the ATC, where they can find their local squadron, have a close look at the gliders,and try the flight simulators for themselves."


July 8, 2012

B-2 CREW ENJOY AIR TATTOO WELCOME

THE CREW of the B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber visiting this weekend's Royal International Air Tattoo say they have been amazed and humbled by the welcome they have received at RAF Fairford.

Thousands of visitors have made their way to the western end of the airfield to get up close to the enigmatic aircraft.

Lt Col Matt Calhoun, who is charge of the aircraft's visit to Fairford, said: "We are thrilled to be here at Fairford, and representing the United States Air Force (USAF). We attend many air shows in the United States but we don't get to show the aircraft off on the international stage very often, so it's great to be the centre of so much attention."

His colleague Capt Ben Smith has been flying the B-2 Spirit for three-and-a-half years and will fly the aircraft from Fairford back to its home base of Whiteman AFB in Missouri. He said: "It's my first time here and the Air Tattoo and it's an awesome airshow, it's great to be part of it. The Spirit's an impressive aircraft to fly, but there's not very much room up in the cockpit."

The B-2 took 10 hours to fly from Whiteman to the Air Tattoo, emerging out of the murky Fairford skies to land at 7pm yesterday (Friday). Thousands of enthusiasts had braved the wind and the rain to catch a glimpse of the machine.

The last time a B-2 appeared in the static display at the Air Tattoo was back in 1999. The USAF has just 20 of the Stealth bombers, each one named after a US state: the aircraft appearing at the event is named the Spirit of New York.


July 7, 2012

VIP TREATMENT FOR AUCTION WINNER

ONE visitor to this weekend's Royal International Air Tattoo certainly had a day to remember.

Bob Gentry, a technical media consultant from Fareham in Hampshire, enjoyed a day of VIP treatment after his wife Tilly Casson won the special Air Tattoo prize in Terry Wogan's Children in Need auction on BBC Radio 2 last November.

"Once I heard what the prize was about, I went on the internet to find out more about it," said Tilly. "The auction only had 15 minutes left, I wanted Bob to have it so much, and, of course, it is a great cause."

It didn't take long for Bob to discover that Tilly had bid a four-figure sum as he was listening to the Radio 2 show at the time. He said: "I go to airshows each year, but I haven't been to an Air Tattoo for 15 years. When I heard the radio show and listened to the prize, I thought that sounded great and then I realised Tilly had got the winning bid."

As well VIP treatment on both days of the show, Bob had been due to arrive in style in a veteran de Havilland Vampire jet flown by Coventry-based Classic Flight. Unfortunately the poor weather in Coventry meant that the flight to Fairford had to be cancelled.

Once Bob arrived at Fairford, however, the couple were treated a no-stone-unturned tour of the airshow, visiting Air Traffic Control and enjoying lunch in the Patron's Pavilion in the company of other special guests of the show.

"Despite the flight not happening, I had a fantastic day with Classic Aviation and the Air Tattoo has been fantastic," Bob said, adding that he was particularly impressed by the spectacle of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor appearing at the show this year.

The Air Tattoo has been supporting Children in Need and Terry's auction since 2006, helping to raise more than £100,000.

CAPTION: Bob and Tilly, with Pudsey, and RAF crewmen from the Hawk T-2.

July 7, 2012

MODEL PUPILS ANSWER CHALLENGE

EIGHT TEAMS of students from Cotswolds schools teamed up with engineering firms to compete in a unique challenge at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford today (Saturday 7 July).

The Lockheed Martin TRI@RIAT Warrior Engineering Challenge asked the engineers of the future to design and build a scale-model ground machine, based on the Warrior armoured vehicle, capable of completing a number of challenges.

The students - from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, Balcarras School near Cheltenham, The Cotswold School at Bourton-on-the-Water, Carterton Community College, Greendown Community School in Swindon, The Ridgeway School from Swindon, Marling School in Stroud, and Malmesbury School - were teamed with engineers from local firms, and received their full design brief over breakfast at 8am this morning. The challenge was to create a ground vehicle, controlled electronically, to tackle a speed test and then an obstacle course. Marks were awarded for team work, design and efficient use of materials, and then for speed, accuracy and overall quality.

Clear winners were the Carterton Community College team of Ed Bleach, Courtney Sanderson, Amy Thomson and Kai Mills, together with engineer Chris Adlington from Defence Support Group (DSG). Their vehicle design earned top marks for efficient use of materials, and the vehicle produced an immaculate run in the obstacle course, carrying a payload of ping-pong balls over a ramp and sandpit.

The competition was judged by Tom Burbage, Executive Vice President for Lockheed Martin UK, and Air Commodore David Bywater and Dr Jim Glover, Directors of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises.

The trophy was presented to the winning team by Mr Burbage, who said: "This was a great example of focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). This is our fifth year of sponsoring the competition, and it's always amazing. We're very proud to sponsor the future of the industry."

Air Cde Bywater added: "It was an excellent challenge which will have given the youngsters a great insight into some important aspects of engineering. With professional engineers giving them some assistance, I am sure they will have learned a lot, and it was very encouraging to see the results."

And Dr Glover said: "We saw real ingenuity, enthusiasm, teamworkand enjoyment - and that's what engineering should be all about. It's an underated job at the moment but the UK remains at the leading edge of many aspects of the engineering world, including aviation,and we need to continue encouraging young people to take it up - they are the generationthat will keep us at the leading edge. Challenges such as what we've seen today can only help us to do that."

Photo: the winning team from Carterton Community College, pictured with, from left: Stephen Ball, Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin UK; Marillyn Hewson, EVP Electronics Systems of Lockheed Martin; DSG engineer Chris Adlington; Tom Burbage; and Air Cde David Bywater.


July 7, 2012

REDS SIGN UP FOR ARTWORK AUCTION

AEROBATIC superstars The Red Arrows took a break from display work at the Royal International Air Tattoo to sign up for a charity auction.

The entire Red Arrows team called in at Patrons' Pavilion to sign the original artwork by leading modern aviation artist David Bent, which has been used to advertise the Air Tattoo this year.

Last year David's Air Tattoo artwork was signed by pilots, aircrew and volunteers at the airshow, and the finished product is being offered at auction to the members of the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo, with the funds going to the Air Tattoo's parent charity, the RAF Charitable Trust.

Over 270 signatures have already been added to this year's artwork, and the result will also be donated to the Air Tattoo to help raise more money for charity.

July 7, 2012

CADETS ENJOY WEEKEND TO REMEMBER

TWO members of the Air Training Corps have already enjoyed a thrilling weekend at the Royal International Air Tattoo, albeit for very different reasons.

Cadet Warrant Officer Mia Webb (right) from 1046 (Fordhouses) Squadron, a Lord Lieutenant's Cadet for the West Midlands, was one of just two ATC Cadets specially invited to attend last night's RIAT Gala Dinner. She learned that she had been selected last weekend and, once her day's duties were complete, donned her best blues to attend the dinner.

"It was a great honour to be there," Mia said. "I was lucky enough to meet the Chief of the Air Staff and he talked to us for about 10 minutes, while we also met Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Cooper.During dinner I sat next to a former Red Arrows pilot, Andy Robins, so it was a brilliant nightand a real privilege to be there. It's back to work today though as I'm on the comms team!"

Meanwhile Cadet Sergeant Zoe Faith Ramos, from 94 (Feltham) Squadron, has had an incredible few days thanks to teaching herself Korean. It took Zoe just one day to learn the alphabet, after her sister sent her a Korean language book, and it has takenher just three years to pick up the language well enough to converse with the Korean Air Force's very own Black Eagles display team!

She said: "I met the team yesterday and they took me out to the aircraft where I was with all the pilots and the engineers. We chatted, shared jokes and they've christened me their little sister. It was so emotional watching them practise their display and I cried! They've signed my baseball cap and given me a model of their T-50 aircraft and some pin-badges. Best of all though, they all understood my Korean!"

It all goes to show just what hard work and dedication can help you achieve – an Air Tattoo never to be forgotten for these two Cadets, that's for sure.


July 7, 2012

THE B-2 STEALTH HAS LANDED AT THE AIR TATTOO!

The United States Air Force's Global Strike Command B-2A 'Spirit' stealth bomber has landed at the Royal International Air Tattoo!

The aircraft last appeared at RAF Fairford for the airshow in 1999. It has completed a mammoth 10,000-mile round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to take its place in RIAT's static aircraft park, where it is sure to be one of the stars of the show.

The B-2 first flew in 1989 and is a low-observable long-range heavy bomber. Capable of penetrating sophisticated air defences, Spirit can operate at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and can cover the globe with just a single air-to-air refuelling.

July 6, 2012

AIR TRAFFICKERS KEEPING AIR TATTOO SAFE

The Royal International Air Tattoo's team of volunteer air traffic controllers will handle nearly 1,000 aircraft movements during the 2012 show.

The team of 12 keep a close eye and ear on the aircraft from the the lofty perch of RAF Fairford's air traffic control tower, giving them a view of all the activity on the airfield's 10,000 foot runway and adjoining taxiways. The volunteers come from all across the UK, working at the major airports including Gatwick and Manchester, but their work at Fairford is very close to their hearts.

"It's a different experience working at the Air Tattoo," says Gary Elson, deputy senior air traffic controller at RIAT. "Working at airports we don't deal very often with military aircraft, let alone display teams. "Here at Fairford, we have to be flexible and think on our feet: sometimes, when a display is taking place, we have to hold aircraft off which means the airfield will suddenly get very busy."

The size of the airfield and the length of the runway means the controllers deal with aircraft of all shapes and sizes. This year they have been directing aircraft from the giant C-5 Galaxy of the United States Air Force down to the little Grob Tutors used by the RAF for training. The team work closely with nearby RAF Brize Norton as Fairford does not have its own radar system. The controllers are also enthusiasts themselves, and do their best to ensure photographers at both ends of the airfield see their favourite jets and helicopters.

"This year, we are particularly excited to see the Korean Black Eagles and the Al Fursan team. We have never seen them before, so they are something different," says Gary. "But there are also aircraft we might never see again such as the German Phantom and the French Etendard."

And keeping up to speed with social media, this year the team are even tweeting the aircraft movements, using the @RIATairtraffic handle.

July 7, 2012

DRUMMING UP A STORM AT AIR TATTOO

LOUDER than the Vulcan! The Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) Taiko Drummers made an entry with a bang at the Royal International Air Tattoo when they gave their first overseas performance.

The drummers have accompanied a Boeing KC-767J from Japan to the airshow: the visit marks Japan's first appearance at the Air Tattoo, making it the 53rd country to display at the event, and is also the first time the Japanese have sent an operational aircraft to a flying display outside Asia.

But the drummers made their own mark with a virtuoso performance in front of Japanese dignitaries and visiting media. Playing a variety of drums, flutes and cymbals, the 26-strong troupe from Iruma Air Base, led by Col Kimitaka Iwaki, performed several beautifully choreographed pieces – some serious, some joyous – and finished the session by inviting guest of honour Lt Gen Sugiyama and other members of the audience to join in.

All serving soldiers at Iruma Air Base, the drummers began the performance by saying they hoped to build a bridge of friendship between countries. This session certainly laid a solid foundation, and they'll be performing three times a day at the Air Tattoo: don't miss them!

July 7, 2012

{SHOWIMAGE}

ATLAS CHRISTENED AT AIR TATTOO

THE RAF has used the Royal International Air Tattoo to christen its next generation transport aircraft. The Airbus A400M - the first of which will be delivered in 2014 - will be officially known as the Atlas. The aircraft is set to become the backbone of the air transport fleet alongside the Airbus A330 tanker, which was christened Voyager at last year's Air Tattoo, and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster.

Despite the rain and gusting winds, air chiefs and guests from around the world gathered to hear more about the Atlas, before being given a peek inside the giant airlifter. Each one is able to carry twice as much as the C-130 Hercules, carrying 32 tonnes of cargo over a range of 4,500 km. It can move up to 116 paratroopers, large armoured vehicles such as Mastiffs as well as vast amounts of humanitarian and disaster relief.

The aircraft's ability to land on semi-permanent runways and rough ground also mean Atlas will be able to fly its cargo into the centre of operations, supplying tactical forward bases or evacuating casualities or refugees.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff said: "Atlas will be a uniquely capable aircraft and will provide both tactical and strategic airlift capabilities for use in peace, crisis and war. The name Atlas reflects the potential of this mighty aircraft to provide help and support to our Armed Forces and others in need across the globe.

"The programme is a good example of how European partners can work together to deliver world-class military capability."

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton said: "Atlas is going to be a major capability for Defence and the Royal Air Force is looking forward to Atlas joining our world-class fleet of air mobility aircraft. Atlas will offer a step change in the Royal Air Force's capability and with its significant payload it will be able to transport every type of UK Protected Mobility Vehicles directly to where they are needed as well as supporting forces on the ground through significant tactical air drop."

Despite the wet weather, Sir Stephen praised the Air Tattoo for its ability consistently to attract air arms from around the world. He said: "Every year, the Air Tattoo puts on a spectacular show for the public, the media, and the many others who attend each year. In a global sense it serves to display the capabilities of air power, and it's a great show that continues to grow every year."


July 6, 2012

VEHICLES CELEBRATE JUBILEE THEME

SOME Very Important Vehicles have arrived at the Royal International Air Tattoo today (Friday) to play their part in the Air Tattoo's Jubilee-themed events.

A selection of vehicles with royal connections have been parked on the taxiway adjacent to the Diamond Jubilee Lawn for public display. All but one of the cars are owned by Her Majesty The Queen, and they have been lent to the Air Tattoo with the support of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust.

The vehicles include: a 1951 Ford V-8 Shooting Brake, which was owned by King George VI; a 1969 Austin Princess Vanden Plas Limousine, delivered to the Royal Mews in 1972; a 1961 Vauxhall Cresta used by the Royal Mews to convey staff and luggage to stations and airports; and a 1961 Alvis TD 21 three-litre series II drophead coupe built for Prince Philip.

Also on display is a Humber Super Snipe Mark IV, one of four special open-topped models built for the Queen's 1953-54 Royal Commonwealth Tour, which retains its ER 1953 number plates. The Humber is loaned by Mr Dennis Cunningham.

The display also features childrens' cars including: a Citroen/Daimler electric car from around 1928, used by The Queen and Princess Margaret; an American-style Imperial 1 Midget Racing Car, a gift for Prince Charles in 1955, which has been used by a number of royal children; an Austin J40 built by disabled miners in Wales; an Aston Martin Volante Junior, presented to Prince Charles in 1988; and a James Bond Aston Martin, produced for Prince Andrew in 1966, and powered by two 12-volt batteries – the car even features revolving number plates, concealed dummy machine guns and water jets.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Buckley.

July 6, 2012

AIRCRAFT WITH ATMOSPHERE

VISITORS to the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford this weekend will be able to see an aircraft that deliberately flies into violent storms and investigates volcanic ash clouds.

The BAe-146 Atmospheric Research Aircraft, from the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM), is making its first-ever appearance at an airshow, taking a break from research flights around the world to investigate weather, climate and the environment.

FAAM is jointly managed by the Swindon-based Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Met Office. The flying laboratory is fitted with highly-sophisticated scientific equipment that measures wind speed, temperature, humidity, the composition of particles in clouds and other atmospheric properties.

In 2010, the aircraft flew to the edge of the volcanic ash cloud that brought UK air traffic to a standstill, last year saw it fly into the most disruptive cyclone that Scotland had seen in decades, and in May this year it flew into the heart of ferocious storms battering southern England. The data collected will help improve weather forecasting by giving scientists unprecedented knowledge about what happens in the turbulent depths of a storm.

July 6, 2012

AIR TATTOO FIRE FIGHTERS HELP OUT

A FIRE engine on duty at the Royal International Air Tattoo played a pivotal role in bringing a huge blaze near Royal Wootton Bassett under control yesterday.

Smoke from the fire, at recycling firm Swindon Metal Solutions in Littleworth, was visible from the airshow site at RAF Fairford, 19 miles away.

Air Tattoo Senior Fire Officer Barry Scott said: "We received a request from Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service to provide an appliance with a larger pumping capacity than they had, such as an airfield fire truck. We responded with a crew and vehicle and assisted in bringing the fire under control."

He added: "Our truck was in the thick of it, using a big roof-mounted water monitor to tackle the blaze, so that Wiltshire were able to concentrate on supplying the machine with water."

The alarm was raised at 15.03 and eight crews, plus an aerial appliance, were called out. The Air Tattoo team offered their help and were asked to assist at 16.42, remaining at the scene until the blaze was under control, and getting back to the Base at 22.15.

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager Dave Geddes was officer in charge at the scrapyard fire. He said: "This was a fire that was extremely challenging to contain, so to have an additional water bowser and foam from the crash tender meant that we were able to bring things under control much more quickly than might otherwise have been the case. We are very grateful to the airshow's Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation for supporting us at this incident, especially when there is so much else going on with preparations for the Royal International Air Tattoo."

An Air Tattoo spokesman said: "We were delighted to be able to offer help and to play a role in bringing this major incident under control. This is an excellent example of the expertise and teamwork that our volunteers bring, not only to the Air Tattoo but also to the area at large."


July 6, 2012

WARTIME POLISH HERO FLIES AGAIN

A WARTIME hero was being honoured at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire today, when an aircraft bearing his likeness touched down.

Polish fighter pilot Miroslaw Feric fought in the Battle of Britain, and two images of the air ace are on the tailfin of a specially-decorated MiG-29 from the Polish Air Force which landed at the Base, home of the world's largest military airshow.

The aircraft, which flew in from Minsk, near Warsaw, was met by members of Feric's family – his son Philip, who lives in Hampshire, wife Penny and daughter Antonia - plus Sqn Ldr Richard Willis from RAF Northolt, and the chairman of the Polish War Memorial Committee.

Philip, who lives in the New Forest, said: "I was only four months old when my father died so I have no memories or stories of him, as my mother was killed in an air raid, and I was brought up by two great-aunts. But since the downfall of Communism in Poland, the country's opened up and I've been able to find out more about my father. There have actually been a lot of tributes to him in Poland, with a school named after him, and a medal struck on the 40th anniversary of his death, and I think this image on the tailfin of the MiG is a great tribute."

He added: "When the aircraft first took off in its new livery, the pilot Capt Grzegorz 'Iceman' Czubski, apparently said: 'Feric is flying again', and that's just marvellous."

The 'Feric' MiG is one of the first two to be painted, 70 years after Capt Feric's death, and the plan is to paint 20 in total with the images of Battle of Britain heroes.

Feric trained in Poland before the war, and first saw action defending the Warsaw area after the invasion of his country. After being evacuated to Romania, he escaped from internment and reached France where he flew Morane MS-406 fighters protecting aircraft works. Following the fall of France, he was evacuated to Great Britain, entering service with No 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, based at RAF Northolt. He flew Hawker Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain, and in 1941 flew Spitfires on missions over France. He was killed at RAF Northolt in February 1942.

Tickets for the Air Tattoo, priced from £39, are available here. Under-16s go free. No tickets will be available on the gates.

Photograph courtesy of Calyx.

July 4, 2012

DOUBLE AIRSHOW FIRST FOR COLOMBIA

THE COLOMBIANS have landed . . . and that means it's all systems go for this weekend's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

The Colombian Air Force C-130H Hercules transport aircraft was the first arrival of around 300 aeroplanes which are scheduled to touch down at this year's airshow. And it was a double first for the South American nation as this year marks their Air Tattoo debut, making them the 52nd nation to participate at the event since 1971.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: "It's always very exciting to see countries send aircraft for the first time – and we consider it a great honour. Not only does it demonstrate the value of the Air Tattoo to many of the world's air arms in terms of defence diplomacy but it also shows that the Air Tattoo's reputation for providing a unique platform upon which nations can display their aviation excellence is truly global."

The Colombians provided real value, flying in two aircraft-in-one. The Hercules, beautifully decorated in the national colours of yellow, blue and red, and featuring a sea eagle design, flew in from Bogota via Lajes in the Azores, carrying a new basic trainer, the T-90 Calima, on board. It is believed that this will be the T-90 Calima's first appearance outside Colombia.

Bringing in the smaller aircraft proved something of a technical challenge, but the engineers of the Colombian Aeronautical Corporation Industry were up to the challenge, designing a special crate which enabled the T-90 to be mounted at a 45-degree angle, with the engine and wings dismounted, to fit neatly inside the Hercules.

Tickets for the Air Tattoo, priced from £39, are available here. Under-16s go free. No tickets will be available on the gates.

  • Click here for photos of the Colombian Air Force C-130H Hercules arriving at RIAT 2012

July 3, 2012

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We are currently receiving a high volume of enquiries about the Air Tattoo. We would be grateful is you could view our Frequently Asked Questions and Answers here before contacting us. If your question is with regard to the weather please see the statement below.

"Following the unfortunate need to cancel the 2008 Air Tattoo when the United Kingdom suffered a continuous period of rainfall over the preceding months, significant work was undertaken to make the showground and car parking arrangements for subsequent events at Fairford resilient in the face of such conditions. Had these been in place in 2008 the Air Tattoo would have taken place. These arrangements remain for all Air Tattoos staged at RAF Fairford. We have no intention of cancelling the event in 2012."

July 3, 2012

JAPAN ACTS TO STRENGTHEN MILITARY TIES

Japan said its announcement today that it would be sending an aircraft to participate in its first ever European airshow next week was a step towards developing closer military ties with the UK.

A Japanese KC-767J from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force will arrive at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on Thursday (July 5) for the weekend's Royal International Air Tattoo (July 7-8).

Other than for State visits, it will represent the first time a Japanese military aircraft has touched down on British soil.

Capt (Navy) Atsushi Minami, Defence Attache at the Japanese Embassy in London said the decision to send an aircraft to the Air Tattoo was taken following visits to Japan by the RAF's Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton last year.

Capt Minami said: "When Prime Minister Cameron paid an official visit to Japan, our two prime ministers agreed in a joint statement to upgrade bilateral defence co-operation in various fields. On instruction from the two Prime Ministers, the Japanese Defence Minister and the UK Defence Secretary signed a Defence Cooperation Memorandum earlier this month (June).

"The prodigious economic growth of countries in East Asia amid the delicate strategic balance in the region represents both an opportunity and a challenge for Japan and the UK. Japan and the UK are each other's most important partners in Asia and Europe, respectively. We hope our participation in the Air Tattoo will enhance defence cooperation between our two countries."

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, said: "I am absolutely delighted to see the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force participating in this year's Royal International Air Tattoo. During my visit to Japan, late last year, I was particularly keen to secure the attendance of the JASDF for the 2012 Air Tattoo and I am very pleased that the Taiko Drummers have also travelled to Fairford to provide some outstanding entertainment and to showcase some Japanese culture; It is my pleasure to welcome them to the United Kingdom."

In addition to its 14 crew, on board the KC-767J will be a troupe of 26 Taiko drummers from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. They plan a series of performances during the airshow.

The aircraft, one of four JASDF tankers, will arrive via Elmendorf US Air Force Base, Alaska, on July 5.

July 2, 2012

{SHOWIMAGE}

STEALTH SET TO STEAL SHOW AT AIR TATTOO

Organisers of next week's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford have announced that one of the most popular and distinctive aircraft ever to appear at the airshow will be among almost 300 others taking part from around the world.

The US Air Force B-2 'Spirit' stealth bomber, which last touched down at RAF Fairford for the airshow in 1999, will make a 10,000-mile round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to take pride of place within the Air Tattoo's static aircraft park.

The B-2 'Spirit', built by Northrop Grumman, remains the only long-range, large-payload aircraft that can penetrate deeply into protected airspace. It can fly more than 6,000 nautical miles un-refuelled and more than 10,000 nautical miles with just one aerial re-fuelling, giving it the ability to reach any point on the globe within hours.

It has the ability to deliver massive firepower in a short time anywhere in the world and through previously impenetrable defences. It has both a conventional weapons and nuclear capability. First flown in 1989, the B-2 stealth bomber has since taken part in a number of military operations including Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said that securing the B-2's participation in the Air Tattoo was a great coup for the event.

He said: "The B-2 is high on the list of people's must-see aircraft because of its distinctive and mysterious, sleek shape and the fact it rarely appears at airshows outside of the USA. Anyone who has seen it will tell you what an incredible looking aircraft it is. It's simply unique.

"With seven aerobatic display teams, special flypasts and aircraft such as the B-2, Vulcan, Osprey and Rafale, I can confidently say that no other airshow in the world this year will be as exciting as the one we have planned at Fairford next week."

The last time a B-2 'Spirit' appeared at the Air Tattoo was in 2004 when it performed a flypast without landing. Since then, the B-2 has never been seen at any other European airshow.

More than 250 aircraft are due to land at the Gloucestershire air base for the event, starting with the arrival from Colombia of a C-130 Hercules. It will be the first time Colombia has ever taken part in an airshow in the United Kingdom.

Tickets for the Air Tattoo, priced from £39, are available from the ticket page. Under-16s go free. No tickets will be available on the gates.

 

June 28, 2012

SLOVAK AIR FORCE MIG-29 CONFIRMED FOR AIR TATTOO

Following an absence of 13 years, a MiG-29UB from the Slovak Air Force will once again touch down at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire – much to the delight of the thousands of fast jet fans attending next week's Air Tattoo.

The return of the Slovak Air Force to the Air Tattoo is extremely welcome, especially given that the air arm last appeared at the show in 2000, and has not sent a MiG-29 since 1999.

Not for many years either has the Air Tattoo boasted 'Fulcrums' from two different countries, with the flying display this year by a Polish example adding to the Slovak jet's static showing.

The aircraft will be joined on static display by a Slovak Air Force Let-410, a twin engined, short range transport aircraft.

June 27, 2012

THE COLOMBIANS ARE ON THEIR WAY TO THE AIR TATTOO

The Colombian Air Force will be sending a C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, based at Bogota and a new basic trainer called the T-90 Calima from Cali.

To carry the T-90 Calima the engineers of the CIAC (Colombian Aeronautical Corporation Industry) have designed the crate that you can see in the photo. The T-90 aircraft must be mounted at a 45 degree angle with the engine and wings dismounted to fit perfectly inside the C-130H Hercules.

June 25, 2012

NEW AIRCRAFT ADDITIONS CONFIRMED FOR AIR TATTOO

The Air Tattoo have made 43 additions to the aircraft particpation list today (Thursday 21 June).

Making a very welcome, and probably last, appearance on static display at the Air Tattoo this summer will be a German Air Force F-4F Phantom. Phantoms are rarely seen at European airshows as the type has been withdrawn from service in all but the German, Greek, Japanese, Turkish and US air forces. Germany has just one squadron remaining – Jagdgeschwader 71 (fighter wing 71) based at Wittmund.

Also added to the participation list is one of the world's largest aircraft and the largest aircraft in the USAF airlift, the C-5 Galaxy. The C-5 Galaxy can carry a fully equipped combat-ready military unit to any point in the world on short notice and then provide the supplies required to help sustain the fighting force.

At this late stage we are still expecting to confirm at least one 'very special' aircraft, which should be announced shortly.

To view the full list of confirmed aircraft click here. Those added today are shown in bold italic.

June 21, 2012

ANTARES DROPS ANCHOR AT MILITARY AIRSHOW

Anchors aweigh! It'll be plain sailing for one of the more unusual items on static display at the world's largest military airshow this summer.

Among the 300 aircraft on display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on July 7-8 will be Tingdene Marinas' Beneteau Antares 7.80.

Set to make waves, the Beneteau Antares 7.80 is a versatile day-boat with modern sporty lines. Features include a wheelhouse saloon that converts to a double berth, a galley corner, separate WCs and a totally adaptable cockpit that converts to a sunbathing platform.

Though it may not feature all the characteristics of some of the more high performance static display items – its maximum altitude and combat capabilities being two of its weaker points – the Antares does possess some unique characteristics.

Steve Arber, Operations Director of Tingdene Marinas Ltd said: "Most people wouldn't expect to see a boat on display at one of the world's largest airshow which is precisely why we're there!

"I hope that when people see the boat among the vast array of aircraft on display it will make them stop and want to take a look.

"There are a number of reasons why we felt it was an appropriate place to promote the benefits of our stylish Beneteau Antares 780 not least the sheer numbers of people who attend the event. Whilst its cruising speed might be somewhat slower than your average fast jet it has the same sleek lines - and costs considerably less!"

Visitors can view the Beneteau Antares 7.80 in the central showground area.

How it compares:


RAF Typhoon FGR4

Maximum altitude 55,000ft

Max speed 1,500mph at 5,000ft

Length 15.96 metres

Cost £126 million each

Fuel tank capacity 5,700 litres

Propulsion system 2 inboard engines

Inside WC None

Armament AMRAAM, ASRAAM, Mauser 27mm cannon, Enhanced Paveway II, 1000lb Freefall bomb

Sunbathing platform None

Alternative uses racing against F1 cars

Berths None

Foghorn None


Beneteau Antares 7.80

Maximum altitude 0ft (sea level)

Max speed 28mph (25knots)

Length 7.23 metres

Cost Around £46,950 inc VAT

Fuel tank capacity 200 litres

Propulsion system 1 outboard motor (90HP Honda)

Inside WC One

Armament None

Sunbathing platform One

Alternative uses Fishing and water sports

Berths Four

Foghorn One


June 21, 2012

AIR TATTOO SITE BUILD 2012

It's a beautiful sunny day in Fairford and the site build for RIAT 2012 is progressing well! Click on the link below to take a look around the site ahead of the Royal International Air Tattoo 2012...
 

June 19, 2012

AIR TATTOO TO SERVE UP TRIPLE TREAT

Organisers of Europe's largest airshow are preparing to serve up a triple helping of historic aircraft as three new nations prepare to touch down at RAF Fairford for the Air Tattoo next month.

Colombia has confirmed it will be sending a C-130H Hercules plus a rare training aircraft whilst the Republic of Korea will be represented by its aerobatic display team, the Black Eagles.

In May, the Koreans began shuttling 10 of its T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft to Manchester airport on board a 747 jumbo jet. The aircraft arrived in pieces and have since been reassembled at RAF Leeming.

Details of the third new participating nation are due to be announced by the Air Tattoo next week.

As well as almost 300 aircraft taking part in the airshow on July 7-8, the Air Tattoo will host one of the largest gatherings of international air chiefs ever assembled in the UK.

More than 44 military chiefs, representing air forces from countries including Brunei, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uruguay, New Zealand, the US and Singapore, will be joining more than 130,000 people over the weekend.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said the Air Tattoo's international reputation as one of the world's biggest and best airshows helped secure the 250-plus aircraft from more than 22 countries.

He said: "I'm delighted that 41 years after the first Air Tattoo, the world's air arms still see the Air Tattoo as the place to demonstrate the capabilities of their aircraft and aircrew. Everyone involved in next month's Air Tattoo is very excited because we believe we shall be staging one of the greatest aviation events anywhere in the world this year. It's really not to be missed."

Among the highlights of the Air Tattoo's eight-hour flying programme will be displays by seven international aerobatic teams, the only flying Vulcan bomber and a special flypast by the RAF's heavyweight airlift fleet featuring the VC-10, TriStar, C-17, C130, A330 and A400M. There will also be a recreation of the mass flypast by 27 Hawk jets in 'EIIR' formation that took place over Windsor Castle in May as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Tickets for the Air Tattoo are only available in advance and are priced from £39. Visit the ticket page or call 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

Photograph courtesy of Charles Cunliffe.

June 19, 2012

RAF TO FLY EPIC 'EIIR' TRIBUTE AT AIR TATTOO

The dramatic flypast of RAF Hawks that flew over Windsor Castle at the weekend as part of the Armed Forces' tribute to HM The Queen will provide the centrepiece of the Royal International Air Tattoo's Diamond Jubilee celebrations at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire this summer.

Visitors to the airshow on July 7-8 will be able to see a repeat of the EIIR flypast, comprising 27 BAE Systems' Hawk fast jets from RAF Valley in Anglesey and RAF Leeming in Yorkshire.

Other Diamond Jubilee attractions will include specially-painted aircraft, a display of current and historic aircraft with 'Royal' connections and a Diamond Jubilee Lawn featuring a wide variety of themed attractions with a street party atmosphere.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said the Air Tattoo would provide the perfect complement to this summer's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

He said: "Mass flypasts are only rarely staged because of the incredible amount of practice and planning involved. To have the opportunity to feature the EIIR element of the Armed Forces' official tribute to the Queen at Fairford is not only a great honour but it will also provide a wonderful spectacle for our visitors."

The Air Tattoo is staged in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. Tickets, priced from £39, are available from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

Photograph courtesy of Phil Whalley - Avpics.

May 21, 2012

FLYPAST OF RAF HEAVYWEIGHTS

GIANT aircraft from the RAF's air transport and air-to-air refuelling fleets will fill the sky over RAF Fairford next month when they take part in a unique flypast at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

A VC-10, TriStar, A330 Voyager, C-17 and C-130 Hercules from RAF Brize Norton will be joined by Airbus Military's A400M for a flypast representing the past, present and future of the RAF's airlift capability.

The flypast will be particularly poignant as it will provide a final opportunity for Air Tattoo visitors to bid farewell to the VC-10 before the fleet is finally retired in March 2013. It was from RAF Fairford that the first RAF Transport Command VC-10 sortie was flown by 10 Sqn in the late 1960s.

The flypast is part of the Air Tattoo's operational theme Skylift 2012 which will bring together some of the aircraft that help project air mobility around the globe by providing air-to-air refuelling and delivering troops and equipment quickly and safely to support combat, peacekeeping or humanitarian campaigns.

Among the other international military aircraft supporting the Skylift 2012 theme will be a German Airbus A310, a Hungarian An-26, an Italian KC-767, a Polish An-28, an Omani Airbus A320 and a USAF KC-135. Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "This is an incredible opportunity to witness an entire generation of mighty RAF aircraft flying together, as the old and the new combine to perform a unique flypast as well as giving the VC-10 a spectacular send-off."

This summer's Air Tattoo will feature aircraft from around the world, including South Korea, Russia, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. The eight-hour flying programme includes the European debut of the United Arab Emirates' Al Fursan display team, the Red Arrows and the unique MV-22 Osprey.

The Air Tattoo is staged in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. Tickets, priced from £39, are available from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.


Jun 1, 2012

SPARKLING START TO AIR TATTOO PREVIEW

DARE-DEVIL parachutists provided a taste of what's to come when they dropped in to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire today (Tuesday, May 29).

Members of the RAF Falcons parachute display team unfurled a Diamond Jubilee flag as they drifted down to earth from 3,000ft at a special preview of the Royal International Air Tattoo.

The world's biggest military airshow, which will take place on July 7 and 8, is this year celebrating HM the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and a sparkling display of aircraft touched down to publicise this summer's event.

Children's tv presenter Barney Harwood flew in as the day's special guest, arriving in style courtesy of an RAF Hawk flown by Fairford-born display pilot Flt Lt Phil Bird.

The logo on the flag delivered by the RAF Falcons had been chosen from thousands of entries in a children's design competition run by the BBC's Blue Peter programme, and presenter Barney performed the official raising of the flag, accompanied by the Fanfare team from the Band of the RAF Regiment.

Barney said: "I got my first Airfix kit at the age of eight, and that was a Hawk, so it was incredible to actually fly in one. It relays the message that anything is possible: I used to work in a kennels and now here I am in an RAF jumpsuit. It's such a beautiful aircraft and it was so exciting to fulfil a lifelong ambition."

Five spectacular aircraft touched down at the Gloucestershire airbase, including a Chipmunk with a royal connection - WP903, painted in the bright colours of the Royal Flight, is the actual two-seater trainer aircraft in which Prince Charles learnt to fly – and an RAF Tucano, painted in special Diamond Jubilee livery.

A deHavilland Vampire T11, which entered service with the RAF 60 years ago, was also on show, while a US Air Force MC-130 Hercules, operated by US Special Forces, also flew in, symbolising the close links between the airshow and the USAF.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "It's been great to provide a preview of what's in store in July, as we have an exceptional line-up of aircraft. As well as a special mass flypast of Hawks in an E II R formation, the Air Tattoo will feature seven aerobatic display teams including Al Fursan, a newly-formed team from the United Arab Emirates who'll be making their European debut at the airshow.

"Two countries, Colombia and South Korea, will be making their Air Tattoo debuts, the iconic Avro Vulcan will be here to thrill the crowds, and many of the world's top fast jets will also be joining us in July. The world really is coming to Fairford this year – make sure you don't miss out on the action."

Click here to see the full set of photos taken by the RIAT Photography team

Click here to see photos taken by Mark Watkins

May 29, 2012

POLISH AIR FORCE MIG-29 CONFIRMED FOR AIR TATTOO

One of the world's most potent Soviet-built jet fighters, will make a welcome appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford this summer.

The Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum is a legend among modern-day combat jets, combining supreme power and agility with remarkable versatility.

Developed in the mid-1970s, in response to a rapid stream of highly-capable new fighters emerging from the United States, the MiG-29 made its first flight in 1977 and joined the then Soviet Air Force six years later. It's since been acquired by many other nations, several of them in Eastern Europe including Poland.

The MiG-29 can fly at approximately Mach 2.25, or almost 1,500 miles per hour, and it can operate at an altitude of over 59,000 feet. Seven hardpoints allow it to be armed with air-to-air missiles and other weapons while, including export variants, the MiG-29 has been modified many times to create over 15 upgraded versions.

The Polish Air Force solo MiG-29 comes from one of two squadrons – the 41st Tactical Squadron based at Malbork, or the 1st Tactical Squadron based at Mińsk Mazowiecki. Together, these units operate a total of 28 single-seat MiG-29As and eight two-seat MiG-29UBs.

Once relatively prolific at the Air Tattoo, this will be the first MiG-29 of any kind to appear at the Air Tattoo since 2006 (MiG-29OVT) and will be the first in-service MiG-29 to appear at Fairford since the German and Hungarian air forces each sent examples of the type in 2003. The last Air Tattoo appearance of a Polish MiG-29 took place at RAF Cottesmore in 2000.


May 4, 2012

BLACK EAGLES SET TO SOAR INTO AIR TATTOO

 

Few aerobatic display teams performing in Europe this year will be as eagerly anticipated as the Black Eagles from South Korea.

The team, comprising eight T-50 'Golden Eagle' supersonic light-trainer aircraft, will make their debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo on July 7-8, as part of their first ever season in Europe.

Their visit is the culmination of more than 20 years' planning by the Air Tattoo, who first contacted the Republic of Korea's London embassy in the mid-1980s.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "Each year we would visit the embassy to build relations and explain the background to our event. Finally, in 2002, we had a breakthrough when the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) sent some of their pilots and senior military representatives to experience the airshow first hand – and they have been back most years ever since. It is a great honour for us to feature their display – and we're pleased for the UK aircraft enthusiast community who will, I'm sure, be relishing the thought of seeing such rare visitors."

In order to get the aircraft – nine in total, including one spare – they will have to be dismantled in Asia and flown the 5,000 mile journey in a fleet of large transport aircraft before being reassembled in the UK.

The T-50 was developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in response to the increased demands on future trainer aircraft to keep up with higher-performance military fighters such as the Typhoon, the F-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter.

Classic Aircraft magazine editor Ben Dunnell said: "It's no coincidence that the T-50's manufacturer KAI should be so keen to put this very capable advanced jet trainer on display at the airshow, given the number of potential deals for such aircraft in discussion amongst the world's air arms, many of whose chiefs now attend the Air Tattoo. With key competitors such as the BAE Systems Hawk and the Russian Yakovlev Yak-130 also due to participate, RIAT 2012 will be an important stage for jet trainer manufacturers."

The Republic of Korea's Defence Attaché in the UK, Captain Chong-Ho Choi, said he was delighted his country's air force pilots could demonstrate their flying capabilities in Europe for the first time. He said: "The Black Eagles are extremely proud to be representing the Republic of Korea Air Force. Their aim will be to perform the best flying display possible not only for the People of the Republic of Korea but also for the rest of the world. It is privilege to be taking part in this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo and I hope everyone will enjoy our magnificent display."

Red Arrows team leader, Squadron Leader Jim Turner, said: "On behalf of the Royal Air Force and the Red Arrows, I am delighted to welcome the South Korean Display Team, the Black Eagles both to the United Kingdom and the Royal International Air Tattoo. The opportunity to engage with other highly respected professional display teams is always an exciting opportunity and one we look forward to."

Note: an earlier version of this press release stated that the Air Tattoo would be the first European airshow to feature the Black Eagles. However, we now understand they might be planning to appear at the Waddington Airshow before coming to the Air Tattoo.

May 3, 2012

GLOVES OFF AS FIGHTERS ENTER AIR TATTOO 'RING'

Fast jet fans will be in seventh heaven following news that two of the world's leading fighter jets have been added to the flying programme at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.

A Rafale multi-role jet fighter from the French Air Force and a JAS-39C Gripen from the Swedish Air Force will join an RAF Typhoon in the eight-hour display, giving the Air Tattoo audience a rare opportunity to compare the speed and manoeuvrability of three of the world's most potent fighters.

Designed and built by France's Dassault Aviation, the Rafale is capable of carrying out a very wide range of missions including air defence, reconnaissance, air-to-ground precision strikes and nuclear strikes.

The delta-winged aircraft's display last year was so impressive that pilot Capt Michael Brocard walked away with the Paul Bowen Trophy for 'best solo jet display'.

Capt Brocard will be back and will be looking to retain his 'crown' against stiff opposition from the likes of the SAAB's Gripen - flown by SAAB test pilot Fredrik Muchler.- and a BAE Systems' Typhoon, piloted by Squadron Leader Scott Loughran, as well as others such as the Russian Yakolev Yak-130 and BAE Systems' Hawk.

The Gripen (Griffin) is a lightweight 4th generation, single-engine multirole fighter with a swing role capability enabling it to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions within a single sortie. The aircraft scheduled to take part in the RIAT 2012 flying display will come from the Flight Test Centre in Linkoping, Sweden.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: "A number of trophies are awarded to pilots and aircrew at the end of every Air Tattoo, each recognising different aspects of aviation excellence. The trophy for the best solo jet display is always fiercely fought for by the world's leading display pilots.

"In terms of sheer power, noise and extreme manoeuvrability, nothing compares to the solo fast jet displays. They are the Formula One of military aviation – except they are noisier, faster and a lot more expensive to buy!"

April 26, 2012

RARE JET SET TO BE TSAR OF THE SHOW

A state-of-the-art combat jet used to train Russian Air Force fighter pilots will give a rarely-seen demonstration of its light attack capabilities at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.

It will be the FIRST TIME the Yak-130 'Mitten' has displayed outside of Russia in light attack configuration with a full complement of weapons.

The Yak-130, which will come from the Irkut Corporation based in Moscow, is a two-seat, subsonic jet trainer/light attack aircraft. It entered service with the Russian Air Force in 2010. The aircraft can replicate the characteristics of the latest generation fighters and carries a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry.

The participation of the Yak-130 in July's display cements the Air Tattoo's reputation for showcasing aircraft from Russia, which began in 1992 when a Su-27P 'Flanker' 595 and Tu-134 appeared at Boscombe Down followed, in 1993, by two Mig-29s and the Tu-95MS 'Bear' at RAF Fairford.

The first of 55 Yak-130s ordered by the Russian Defence Ministry entered service with the Russian Air Force in 2010. RuAF Commander-in-Chief Col Gen Alexander Zelin announced in March that a new aerobatics team flying Yak-130s would be created by 2015.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: "To have such a rare Russian aircraft display is quite a coup and simply adds to what is already shaping up to be quite a spectacular display. We know how much aircraft enthusiasts enjoy seeing Russian aircraft – and Russian-built aircraft – at Fairford and we work hard to achieve this. This year's Air Tattoo already has an abundance of aviation riches but now it seems the whole world wants to be at Fairford this July!"

This year's Air Tattoo will see organisers join with the RAF to stage special aerial tributes celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. For further details, visit airtattoo.com or call 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

April 4, 2012

B-52 PROVES JUST THE TICKET FOR AIR TATTOO

Visitors to this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo, which will be celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, will have good reason to celebrate 60 glorious years of a different kind!

Among the hundreds of aircraft taking part in the airshow, at RAF Fairford, on July 7-8 will be the giant B-52 'Stratofortress' strategic bomber, which first flew in April 1952.

The aircraft, which has become synonymous with the US Air Force Base having been stationed in the Cotswolds during the conflicts in the Gulf and Kosovo, will come from 307 Bomber Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, based at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

This iconic aircraft is among the latest to be confirmed for this summer's Air Tattoo. Other US military aircraft so far confirmed for this summer's airshow include a KC-135R Stratotanker from the US Air Force Reserve Command; an MV-22B Osprey from the US Marine Corps and a P-3C Orion and E-6B Mercury from the US Navy.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said that ever since the Air Tattoo was first staged at the US Air Force Base at Greenham Common in 1973, strong and enduring links have been forged between the airshow and the US military.

He said: "The US Air Force supports the Air Tattoo in so many different ways that it would be impossible for the airshow to take place without it. No where else in the world does the US military offer such support – in terms of logistics, personnel and aircraft - for a civilian airshow. It is a totally unique relationship that we at the Air Tattoo are extremely grateful and honoured to enjoy."

News of the B-52's participation comes as Air Tattoo organisers urge people planning to attend this summer's airshow to buy their tickets before the end of tomorrow (Saturday, March 31) to ensure they take advantage of their special Earlybird ticket offer. From Sunday (April 1), day-specific tickets for the airshow will cost £39 plus a £4 booking fee for orders taken online or over the telephone. The Earlybird price of £34 and no booking fee represents a saving of up to £9 per ticket.

March 30, 2012

RARITIES JOIN AIR TATTOO LINE-UP

Aircraft fans looking for something a little out of the ordinary this summer will be delighted by news of the latest participants released by Air Tattoo organisers.

Not only will the airshow be featuring the first ever UK appearance by the Colombian Air Force, but a special atmospheric research aircraft which has never appeared at an airshow before will also be on display.

The Colombian Air Force will be sending a C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, based at Bogota and a new basic trainer called the T-90 Calima from Cali.

It is believed that the T-90 Calima's participation in July will mark its first appearance outside of Colombia.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said everyone was looking forward to welcoming Colombia as the 52nd nation to participate in the airshow since 1971.

He said: "It's always very exciting to see countries send aircraft for the first time – and we consider it a great honour. Not only does it demonstrate the value of the Air Tattoo to many of the world's air arms in terms of defence diplomacy but it also shows that the Air Tattoo's reputation for providing a unique platform upon which nations can display their aviation excellence is truly global."

The BAe146-301 Atmospheric Research Aircraft (ARA) is part of the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) and is based at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.

The aircraft is fitted with highly sophisticated scientific measuring equipment that collects information for the UK atmospheric research community including the Meteorological Office and the Natural Environment Research Council.


March 22, 2012

Photo courtesy of FAAM.

RAF AIR POWER ON SHOW AT AIR TATTOO

Two of the world's most potent fast jets are among a stellar line-up of RAF aircraft joining celebrations marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.

As well as displays by the RAF's frontline fighting force, the Typhoon and the Tornado, visitors to the Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 7-8 will be able to see a range of training aircraft including the Tutor, Tucano and King Air as well as historic RAF warbirds such as the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster.

Also taking part will be the legendary RAF Red Arrows, originally formed at RAF Fairford in 1965 who will be performing with seven rather than the usual nine Hawk jets in 2012.

There will be another special homecoming for the RAF's solo Hawk display pilot Flt Lt Phil Bird who will be performing in his home town of Fairford. He said: "Becoming a fast jet pilot in the RAF was a life-long dream and the idea of displaying in front of the crowds at my home airshow is something I am incredibly excited about."

It is also likely that the A400M, the new heavy transport aircraft that will supercede the C-130 Hercules in RAF service, will be put through its paces by its Airbus Military test pilot at the airshow.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said the level of RAF participation reflected the important role the Air Tattoo plays in enabling the Service to demonstrate to the public the capability of its aircraft and the professionalism of its men and women. He added: "We're really looking forward to working with the Royal Air Force to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with an exciting aerial tribute that will live long in the memory."

Other Air Tattoo highlights this year include displays by the Vulcan bomber, a US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey and the European debut of the Al Fursan aerobatics display team from the United Arab Emirates. Air Tattoo 'Earlybird' tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.


March 15, 2012

HOME IS WHERE THE HAWK IS FOR PILOT PHIL

ONE of the RAF pilots displaying at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo will have good cause to recognise the view of Fairford below – because he lives there!

Flt Lt Phil Bird, who is the RAF's solo Hawk T1 display pilot for 2012, lives in Fairford, Gloucestershire, with his wife Lucie. He attended Meysey Hampton Primary School and Farmor's Secondary School and served behind the bar at The Bull Hotel in Fairford.

Phil will be the last RAF pilot to demonstrate the BAE Systems' Hawk T1 as the solo display aircraft will be replaced by the upgraded Hawk T2 next year.

The 32-year-old pilot said: "Fairford has been home for me for more than 30 years. It's where I went to school, where my family are and where my wife and I now also live. As a result, displaying the Hawk T1 in its final display season at the Air Tattoo is the absolute highlight of the season for me.

"Becoming a fast jet pilot in the RAF was a life-long dream and the idea of displaying an RAF fast jet in front of the crowds at my home airshow is something I am incredibly excited about."

Phil joined the RAF in 2002 after studying Economics at Manchester University. He was selected to be a fast jet pilot and, after training, was posted to 43 Sqn at RAF Leuchars, Scotland where he flew the Tornado. Having trained as an Electronic Warfare Instructor, Phil joined 19 Sqn to instruct the Tactical Weapons Course at RAF Valley, a role he now performs on 208 Sqn.

Phil's enthusiasm for flying was sparked at an early age by his father John, an RAF pilot himself. Phil's wife Lucie flies C-130 Hercules at RAF Brize Norton.

Organisers of this summer's Air Tattoo are working alongside the Royal Air Force to stage a number of special aerial tributes to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Other RAF participants in the flying display include the Red Arrows, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, an RAF Typhoon, Tornado, Tucano, King Air and the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team.

Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

March 15, 2012

 

AIR TATTOO STRIKES GOLD AT AWARDS

Organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford are delighted that the airshow has won 'Best Event of the Year' in the 2012 Cotswolds Tourism Awards.

The Royal International Air Tattoo, which raises money for the Fairford-based Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, is not only one of the Cotswolds' biggest outdoor events but also serves as an important showcase for the Royal Air Force and the world's aerospace industry.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said the award reflected the incredible effort put in by staff and volunteers to stage the most exciting airshow in the world each July.

He said: "Over the years, we've found that for many of our visitors, the Air Tattoo has provided a gateway to the Cotswolds – introducing them to the beautiful countryside and the many wonderful places to visit. We have heard many stories of people who've been to the Air Tattoo from around the country – and abroad – returning to enjoy longer holidays in the area in order to make the most of what's on offer."

Judging was carried out by a confidential, impartial panel selected for expertise in relevant areas.

Cotswolds Tourism Manager Chris Dee said: "The Cotswolds thrives on the high quality of local tourism businesses and services. These awards reward our achievers and help us to highlight the best of what's on offer here."

This year's Air Tattoo, which takes place on July 7&8, will see the event join with the RAF to stage special aerial tributes celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Mr Arquati said: "Although we're still four months away from the airshow, we've already secured an incredible line-up of exciting aircraft that will be unrivalled anywhere else in Europe this year including the first display outside of the Middle East of the United Arab Emirates' aerobatics display team Al Fursan."

Special Air Tattoo 'Earlybird' tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

March 9, 2012

RARE OSPREY TO SWOOP AT AIR TATTOO

A unique-looking aircraft that is both a helicopter and an aeroplane will make a very rare appearance in the UK when it takes part in the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford this summer.

Having stolen the show at the Air Tattoo 2006 where it marked its UK flying display debut, the US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey – the world's first tilt-rotor aircraft – will be making a welcome return to Fairford on July 7-8.

A cross between a helicopter and a fixed-wing aeroplane, the Osprey's rotor blades can tilt mid-air enabling it to take off vertically and then reconfigure to fly like an aeroplane. Not only does this allow it to reach speeds twice as fast as a helicopter but it also enables it to carry heavier payloads and fly at higher altitudes.

In 2007, the aircraft was deployed operationally for the first time, supporting routine cargo and troop movements in Iraq. Two years later, the aircraft performed its first offensive combat mission, Operation Cobra's Anger, transporting US Marines and Afghan troops into Helmand Province to disrupt the Taliban's communications and supply lines. In 2010, Ospreys performed their first humanitarian mission, operating in Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response following an earthquake in the country.

The US Marine Corps plans to send two MV-22Bs, one for the flying display and the other for the static park.
Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said few other modern aircraft have been so revolutionary in terms of their design and operational capability. He added: "In musical terms, adding the Osprey to the flying display is a bit like Glastonbury adding Jay-Z to the bill – it's sassy, has lots of good moves and looks downright cool."

This year's Air Tattoo will see organisers join with the RAF to stage special aerial tributes celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Special Air Tattoo 'Earlybird' tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.


March 8, 2012

ELLIE'S U-2 DREAMS COME TRUE

When nine-year-old Ellie Carter from Devon wrote to the organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo asking if they would invite her favourite aircraft to July's event – little did she know what lay in store.

Ellie's letter asked if the airshow would invite a US Air Force U-2 spyplane because she loved the fact it flew on the edge of space and that teamwork was required to operate and land the aircraft safely.

But in her enthusiasm Ellie only gave her name, age and the fact she lives in Devon, leading to an international "hunt" for the youngster which captured the attention of the US crew of the spyplane at Beale Air Force Base, in California.

Luckily the Monkleigh Primary School pupil keeps a close eye on the Air Tattoo website and spotted the plea from organisers trying to track her down.

After her mother, Lorna Carter, got in touch it was arranged by the crew of the U-2 spyplane - who had been inspired by Ellie's letter - for her to come to the US airbase and be shown around the aircraft.

She was also given the rare opportunity to sit in the chase car travelling at approximately 120mph as it attempted to keep up with the landing U-2 plane, which had just completed a 12-hour flight from Sacramento at altitudes on the edge of space.

"It was really fun," Ellie said afterwards. "The whole day was amazing. I never thought I would ever be able to do anything like this."

Speaking about the letter, she added: "It just went everywhere, it went to Fairford and then to the Pentagon and Beale Air Force Base, which was really amazing."

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: "When we put Ellie's letter on our website we never expected to be contacted by U-2 pilots offering to help.

"The US Air Force bent over backwards to ensure Ellie had a day she would never forget and we are hugely grateful to them for making such a rare and unique experience possible.

"We very much hope we will see U2s returning for the Air Tattoo itself on July 7-8 when they would take their place alongside other iconic aircraft such as the Vulcan bomber and Avro Lancaster to inspire thousands of other people – young and old."

Click on the video below to see Ellie meeting the pilot of the U-2:

March 6, 2012

AL FURSAN CONFIRMED FOR EUROPEAN DEBUT

Aviation history will be made this summer when a newly-formed Middle Eastern aerobatics display team makes its European debut at a UK airshow.

Al Fursan – The Knights – from the United Arab Emirates Air Force will display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on July 7-8.

Featuring seven Alenia Aermacchi MB-339A Italian trainer aircraft, the team first performed at the Dubai Airshow in November to mark the UAE's 40th anniversary. The fighter pilots were trained in formation flying by the Italian Air Force display team the Frecce Tricolori, who also fly the same aircraft.

Alan Peaford, Editor-in-Chief, Arabian Aerospace magazine said: "The Al Fursan team surprised everybody at the Dubai Airshow in November when it made its first appearance with an incredible performance. The team's international debut at Bahrain stole the show.

"Coming to the UK for the Air Tattoo is a major step up for the team and really puts the UAE pilots in front of a world audience. I believe they will surprise people with their skills and professionalism. We have seen what the UAE has done to change world perception in football, golf and horseracing – I think they might be about to do the same in the world of display flying."

The Al Fursan aircraft are painted predominantly in black and gold to represent the desert's golden sands and the black oil which lies beneath it. Smoke generators produce red, green, white and black smoke to represent the colours of the national flag.

Al Fursan team leader Lt Col Nasser Ahmad said: "The Al Fursan pilots and their Director, Brigadier staff pilot Khaled Omar, are privileged to represent their country at the world's largest military airshow. For us, the Air Tattoo offers an important opportunity to exchange ideas, build relations and share our experience with other military display teams. It will be an honour to perform our aerobatic display in the UK in July which we dedicate to our new British and European friends. Equally, the Al Fursan team will be very proud to paint the lovely British sky with the colours of the UAE flag." {SHOWIMAGE}Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, head of the RAF, said he was pleased to welcome his Arab partners. He said: "I am delighted that Al Fursan has agreed to perform at this summer's Air Tattoo. This will be the team's first display in Europe and I can think of no better place for the team to demonstrate their flying prowess than at one of the world's largest military airshows."

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "During the past 46 years, the Red Arrows team has performed more than 4,300 displays, projecting both the professionalism and capability of the Royal Air Force around the globe. That such a fledgling display team as Al Fursan, representing a comparatively young nation, should have the enthusiasm and confidence to make its European flying debut on such a significant stage speaks volumes. We are honoured to have been chosen by the UAE Air Force as the European airshow at which to demonstrate its military pilots' close formation aerobatic skills."

The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. Countries that have already confirmed they will be sending aircraft to the airshow include Brazil, Hungary, France, the US, Switzerland, Poland and Latvia.

Special Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

All photos courtesy of Katsuhiko Tokunaga.

February 20, 2012

AVIATION JEWEL SET FOR DIAMOND DISPLAY

Sixty years since it first took to the skies, the most iconic aircraft of the Cold War era will be at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo for a double celebration as the airshow marks the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Named The Spirit of Great Britain, the delta-winged Vulcan XH558 is the only remaining airworthy Vulcan bomber. Not only will it take part in the flying display on July 7-8 but it will take centre stage in the airshow's Cold War Zone, enabling people to see it close up on the ground.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "Anyone who hasn't seen the Vulcan display really ought to while they have the chance. Those who have seen it, return again and again to experience its power, grace and beauty. It conjures up similar emotions to those felt by people who saw Concorde display. There's a palpable sense of awe in the crowd.

Dubbed 'the people's aircraft', Vulcan XH558 is funded largely by public donations. Not only is she the last flying Vulcan but she is also the only remaining airworthy example of the RAF's famous Cold War V-Force, the UK's strategic nuclear strike force which comprised Victors, Valiants and Vulcans.

The Vulcan, which first flew on August 30, 1952, has a special relationship with the Royal Family as the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Prince Michael of Kent have all piloted the aircraft.

Organisers of this summer's Air Tattoo are working alongside the Royal Air Force to stage a number of special aerial tributes to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Countries that have already confirmed they will be sending aircraft to the airshow include Brazil, Hungary, France, the US, Switzerland, Poland and Latvia.

Special Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.


February 9, 2012

EAGLE-EYED ELLIE SOLVES 'MYSTERY'

The search for Ellie is over! Having spotted our plea on the Air Tattoo website, nine-year-old Ellie Carter from Devon alerted her mother who kindly got in touch with us.

The 'hunt' was sparked after Ellie sent us a heart-warming letter asking if we could feature her favourite aircraft – a US Air Force U-2 spyplane - at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.

However, in her enthusiasm, Ellie did not include her full postal address making it impossible for us to respond to her wonderful letter.

Fortunately, Ellie regularly views the Air Tattoo website and spotted our plea.

According to her mother Lorna, Ellie's love of U-2s began shortly after her first visit to the Air Tattoo in 2010 when she asked for an aeroplane book.

Lorna said: "Ellie is fascinated by aviation, engineering, science and the stars and as soon as she read about the U-2 it all seemed to come together.

"She tells me all about how the U-2 is the hardest aeroplane to fly, the roles it performs and how cool it would be to fly that close to space. At Christmas, the gift Ellie most wanted was a U-2 model aircraft. We eventually found one which Ellie duly painted. It now hangs proudly above her bed among the stars and planets on her ceiling.

"The Air Tattoo was responsible for Ellie growing up a lot overnight. She loved the day so much, as did all of us that we decided to go again last year.

"As there is always so much to see, we decided to buy weekend tickets but when we could only get a B&B for five days we thought we'd make a holiday of it and enjoy a few days in the Cotswolds.

{SHOWIMAGE}"We arrived on the Wednesday and went for a walk around Kempsford but the combination of Ellie's enthusiasm and the excitement of all the aircraft arriving meant we spent three days watching all the aircraft land - and seeing nothing of the Cotswolds!

"The show days themselves were great and Ellie's holiday money, which she had saved, was spent on a flying suit. The Air Tattoo made her so happy that when we left she cried for probably 10 miles on the way home before falling asleep. Ever since, she has been counting down the days to this summer's Air Tattoo and we've booked again for the week – which we now call 'Ellie's week'."

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said he was very pleased that Ellie had spotted the story on the airshow website.

He said: "We've now responded to Ellie and, spurred on by her, we are re-doubling our efforts to secure a U-2 for the airshow in July. We've even sent a copy of her letter to Beale Air Force Base in California, where the aircraft are based, to let them know how important it is to one little girl in particular, that a U-2 takes part in the Air Tattoo.

"Realistically, US Air Force U-2s are very rarely seen at airshows in the UK so to see one in July would be pretty amazing – but if one did come, there would be one young girl whom we'd all have to thank!"

 

February 8, 2012

WE'RE TOP OF THE TV ADVERTS

AT THE International Council of Airshows (ICAS) annual convention in Las Vegas in December, the Air Tattoo won the category for Commercial Television Ad: Large Show.

John Cudahy, ICAS President, wrote to say: "Congratulations - your entry was chosen from a very strong collection. We hope that you'll display with pride the award certificate as clear documentation of your achievement."




February 8, 2012

AIRSHOW 'DESPERATELY SEEKING' DEVON ELLIE

It's a case of 'Desperately Seeking Ellie' for the organisers of the world's largest military airshow after we received a touching letter from a Devon schoolgirl.

Nine-year-old Ellie Carter wrote to the Royal International Air Tattoo, to ask if we could feature her favourite aircraft at this summer's airshow – a US Air Force U-2 spyplane!

But in her letter (see below), Ellie only gave her name, age and the fact she lives in Devon. Now we are keen to find her so that we can respond to her plea.

Richard Arquati, spokesman for the Air Tattoo, said that whilst we often received requests from aviation fans asking for particular aircraft to feature at the airshow, few were so articulate or as passionate as Ellie's.

He said: "It's wonderful to hear how hard Ellie is working to achieve her ambition to become a pilot and the extent to which the U-2 aircraft has inspired her. We'd very much like to contact her to thank her for her delightful letter and to see how we might help encourage her further."

The U-2, which is also called the Dragon Lady, flies so high that the pilot has to wear a space suit. Though they are rarely seen at airshows in the UK, U-2s occasionally land at RAF Fairford on their way back to the US following top secret missions.

The U-2 is unusual in that it is always met on landing by a ground crew in high performance vehicles who chase the aircraft down the runway in order to fix stabilisers under the wingtips as the aircraft rolls to a stop.

Mr Arquati added: "Although we have a number of exciting aircraft already confirmed for the airshow it's too early to say whether a U-2 will be joining us. However, if the US Air Force does send one, we'd very much like to make sure Ellie doesn't miss it – hence our appeal. We very much hope she will get back in touch with us."

This summer's Royal International Air Tattoo takes place on July 7 & 8 when it will be marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. All accompanied under-16s enter free.

February 1, 2012

{SHOWIMAGE}

AIR TATTOO FLIES HIGH IN AWARDS

READERS of an online aviation magazine have awarded the Royal International Air Tattoo the prestigious title of the Best UK Airshow of 2011.

Airshow and aviation magazine Airscene polled its readers in December and the Air Tattoo won the most votes, beating other well-known airshows such as those held at Duxford and RAF Waddington.

Airscene Editor Ian Grigg said: "The Air Tattoo was the worthy winner of Airscene's Best UK Airshow category for 2011. The airshow regularly sets the benchmark against which all other UK and international airshows are measured, delivering an incredible flying display programme featuring the most exciting blend of military and civilian aircraftfrom around the world."

Last summer saw the Air Tattoo celebrate its 40th anniversary with a flying display featuring nine aerobatic display teams, the only flying Vulcan Bomber, vintage World War Two aircraft as well as the world's latest fast jets. On the ground, visitors were able to see a range of international aircraft including a rare Russian-built Su-27 and the RAF's latest air-to-air refueller, the A330 'Voyager'.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "It is always good to see the very hard work put in by our 1,600-strong volunteer team each year recognised by the public. I am confident that with the exciting line up of aircraft we have planned for July that we will be up there once again battling for the title in 2012."

This summer's Air Tattoo takes place on July 7-8 when organisers will be joining forces with the Royal Air Force to stage a special Diamond Jubilee celebration in honour of Her Majesty The Queen.

Earlybird tickets are now available by clicking here or by calling 0800 107 1940. All tickets must be purchased in advance. All accompanied under-16s go free.


January 25, 2012

CHARITABLE TRUST OFFERS INJURED WARM WELCOME

Injured RAF Service personnel taken to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine Selly Oak will receive special welcome bags thanks to the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.

The bags, which contain a dressing gown, towels, T-shirts, shorts, jogging pants and flip-flops, are handed to RAF patients when they first arrive at the hospital.

The initiative is being funded by the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, which has initially granted just over £5,000 to fund the scheme. Trustee Alan Smith, who recently presented the hospital staff with the bags, said he was enormously impressed by the level of care provided by both military and civilian staff. He said: "I was particularly impressed by the committed and flexible tri-Service approach at the hospital, towards which the Royal Air Force is making a massive contribution. The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust welcome bags certainly meet an important need as RAF patients arrive for their vital early treatment and care."

Warrant Officer 'Alfie' Jones, the RAF Military Representative at the hospital, said he was particularly pleased to receive the Welcome Bags. He said: "To be given one of these bags helps give the patients back their identity. As the RAF is the minority service at the hospital here the bag reminds patients that they are in the RAF, a fact of which they are very proud."

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine Selly Oak is a tri-Service unit providing medical support to military operational deployments and provides secondary specialist care for members of the Armed Forces.

The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust is the parent charity of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises which organises the Royal International Air Tattoo each year at RAF Fairford. The Trust is keen to support project-based initiatives, and welcomes applications for grants from charities and organisations that are part of the Royal Air Force family.


January 24, 2012

 

AIR TATTOO TICKET SURGE REPORTED

People planning to attend next summer's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford have already snapped up thousands of specially-discounted tickets, organisers have revealed.

Almost 5,000 tickets for the event have already been sold, a 300 per cent increase in sales compared to the same point last year. Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said the surge in ticket sales was a reflection of the current economic climate.

He said: "People still want to enjoy quality days out with their families but they are increasingly looking for value. We all need to make our money go further which is why I'm delighted that so many people have taken advantage of our fantastic deal. There aren't many major outdoor events in the UK that offer families with children aged under 16, the opportunity to enjoy a memorable day out for less than £60."

Next July will see the Air Tattoo join with the RAF to stage a series of aerial and ground-based tributes to Her Majesty the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee.

A number of countries including Brazil, Hungary, France and Latvia have already confirmed their participation in the airshow and a rare Polish Mil-14 helicopter will be making its first appearance in the UK.


January 3, 2012

NEW AIRCRAFT AREA LAUNCHED ON AIRTATTOO.COM

Discovering which new aircraft have been added to the Air Tattoo participation list is all part of the exciting build-up to the world's greatest airshow! So we've decided to make it even more tantalising.

Not only will we be revealing which aircraft have confirmed their participation each week but we shall also keep everyone regularly informed about those we're talking to as well as other bits of background news that we hope will add to your enjoyment of RIAT 2012.

Each Thursday at midday, the official Aircraft Participation List will be updated on the Air Tattoo website. There will be occasions when, for marketing/promotional purposes or when timing is a factor, confirmation of certain aircraft may be released on a day other than Thursday, however, we promise to keep these to a minimum.

In addition to the official Aircraft Participation List, airtattoo.com will be trialling a new 'traffic light' feature to support the official list. This will name every country that has been invited to the Air Tattoo.

If we enter into discussions about possible participation - an amber light will appear alongside. When we receive written confirmation from a country's air arm or civilian operator that they plan to attend RIAT 2012, a green light will appear alongside.

Countries with green lights will go to the top of the list followed by those with amber lights. Countries that have declined their invitation will be listed below under a red button.

All green lights will be hyperlinked to information relating to the aircraft, air arm/civilian operator and whether it is flying, static or a visitor. Alongside the 'traffic light' feature will run a dedicated blog providing brief details behind each country's amber-light.

Tim Prince said: "We're very excited about this new initiative and I'm sure visitors to our website will enjoy viewing the extra information we'll be providing.

"The new 'traffic light' feature was inspired by a similar one we saw on the website of the Hungarian Airshow at Kecskemet in 2010. I believe it will give everyone a better understanding of the processes involved in attracting aircraft to the airshow.

"In the past, the only information we provided were updates on air arms that had accepted our invitations. However, in response to feedback we've received, we have decided to share not only all the names of the countries we invite but also details of those we are in discussions with.

"I hope this will give a taste of some of the excitement we feel when an air arm, air attaché or foreign military chief first replies to our invitation indicating possible aircraft participation. The 'highs' and 'lows' of air arms confirming or declining our invitations and the ensuing negotiations are all part of the roller-coaster ride we experience during the Air Tattoo build-up and we are happy to share the experience with you all."


December 15, 2011

AIR TATTOO UNVEILS FACE OF AIRSHOW

A FICTIONAL fast jet pilot named 'Ace Mandala' has been unveiled as the face of next summer's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, organisers have announced.

Ace will feature prominently on billboards, in advertising and on poster sites around the UK in the run-up to next summer's airshow on July 7-8.

Ace is the creation of renowned artist David Bent, who was inspired following a trip to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in 2007 at the invitation of the Red Arrows. The Red Arrows first saw David's work on display at the Air Tattoo and shortly after his visit to Cyprus, the artist was invited to become the Reds' artist in residence.

It was whilst photographing one of the display pilots in his Hawk jet that the idea for Ace came. David said: "Although Ace made his first appearance on the 2011 posters we hadn't given him a name or an identity. I believe he symbolises all the skilled, adventurous and brave airmen who fly. We decided we'd develop him as a character so that he could become the face of the Air Tattoo. Ultimately, I hope Ace will be to the Air Tattoo what The Stig is to Top Gear."

Air Tattoo Marketing Deputy Director Helen Webb said when she first saw David's artwork she was immediately struck by his vivid use of colours and his ability to convey all the excitement aviation has to offer. She said: "We felt that if David could apply the same eye-catching techniques to creating a poster image for the Air Tattoo then it could have a big impact.

In the past, members of the Red Arrows have said their journey to becoming a world-class pilot was first inspired by a visit to the Air Tattoo. By bringing 'Ace Mandala' to life, we hope to convey the sort of excitement and thrills that can spark the imagination of a future fast jet pilot."

Next summer's Air Tattoo on July 7-8 will see the airshow join forces with the Royal Air Force to stage a special Diamond Jubilee celebration in honour of Her Majesty The Queen. A limited number of special Super Earlybird tickets, priced £29, are available by visiting the ticket page or by calling 0800 107 1940. All tickets must be purchased in advance. All accompanied under-16s go free.


December 6, 2011

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“This is the best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

Sign up for emails about the Air Tattoo, Concerts and Merchandise