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Air Cadets "Pottering" Around at Airshow

Nine Air Training Corps cadets were delighted when they had a surprise meeting with one of the stars of the Harry Potter movies at the Royal International Air Tattoo on 16th of July.  Matthew Lewis, 17, who plays Neville Longbottom in the film series, was taking a break from filming "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and met nine cadets who were working at the world's largest military airshow. And, as Matthew is a former member of 2168 Squadron of Yeadon, there was plenty to talk about.  Cadet Luke Sherwood, 16, from 304 Squadron, Hastings, said "We had a good laugh and talked about what Matthew did when he was a Cadet."  Cadet Danielle Hartstone of 2491 Squadron, Lyneham added "I was very surprised and delighted to meet such a famous film star. I'm a massive Harry Potter fan."

Chief of the Defence Staff Greets Prince Feisal

Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup greets HRH Lieutenant General Prince Feisal bin Hussein of Jordan and his son Prince Omar at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire today (July 16).

Crowds Turn Out For Aviation Spectular

The combination of a thrilling display programme plus glorious weather resulted in one of the most successful Air Tattoo's in recent memory. This was the view of Air Tattoo Director and co-founder Tim Prince who said there was little more his team of 3,000 volunteers and 44 permanent staff could have done to put on a more spectacular airshow.  He said: "Everyone I have spoken to has said what a wonderful time they have had and how much they have enjoyed the day. Not only do we try and pull out all the stops during our flying display but we have tried to provide a wide range of entertainment on the ground for people to enjoy.  "The team has risen to the challenge of improving on last year's Air Tattoo and this has been reflected in the increased attendance for this year."  Early indications suggest that around 167,000 people attended this year's Air Tattoo, an increase of around four per cent on last year.  Among the highlights of the flying display were the UK debuts of the V-22 Osprey and the MiG-29OVT plus three joint flypasts; one by the Red Arrows and a VC-10, another by the Patrouille Suisse and the PC-21 and another by the Spanish display team, the Patrulla Aguila and a Spanish Air Force Typhoon.  On the ground, the enthusiasm and friendliness of the aircrews, in particular the Royal Jordanian Air Force aircrew and the Pakistan Air Force aircrew, won the hearts of many.  Indeed, the crew of the Pakistan Air Force C-130 Hercules will be departing RAF Fairford tomorrow with two trophies: It won the Page Aerospace Trophy for the best static aircraft on display and the BAE Systems 'Spirit of the Meet' Trophy was awarded to its crew.  In the air, the display by the Russian MiG-29OVT, piloted by Paul Vlasov, won the As The Crow Flies Trophy, voted for by around 1,500 aircraft enthusiasts who are members of the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo.  Among the guests to attend over the weekend were Sir David Jason, Jeremy Clarkson and legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Other guests included HRH the Duke of Kent, HRH Lieutenant General Prince Feisal bin Hussein and his son Prince Omar, the UK's Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy and Secretary of the US Air Force Mr Michael Wynne.  In total around 300 aircraft participated in this year's airshow from around 24 countries. The crew from the Royal Australian Air Force 707 travelled the furthest: from Richmond, New South Wales.  Despite the large number of people who attended on the two days, there were relatively few major traffic problems. Admissions co-ordinator Peter Williams said: "On Saturday morning, visitors travelling on our 'blue' route from the M4 experienced delays simply due to the increased volume of traffic. The other routes were fine.  "On Saturday evening there was some delay with cars exiting the Green route heading north and west and this was primarily caused by people leaving earlier-than-expected because of the heat. However, on Sunday evening, departures along all of the routes were much more measured.  "I think people do expect a certain amount of queuing with an event the size of ours but it is our job to minimize this. I think this was, in most cases, achieved."  Over the weekend, 25 children became separated from their parents but all were reunited. During the airshow, 232 people attended the medical centre or first aid points in the showground suffering from conditions ranging from heat exhaustion to cuts. The medical team received 45 requests for an ambulance and three people were subsequently transferred to hospital one a child with suspected meningitis.  Ian and Helen Meek with niece Megan and nephew Scott, from Shaw Hill in Swindon, were in the airfield by mid morning. "We got in without any problems," said Ian, "and thoroughly enjoyed the day. There were plenty of things to do for the family and it was good value for money." While Scott enjoyed the flying display, Megan thought that the stalls were great and showed off some new bangles.  Meanwhile, Mrs Susan Cox, 57, from Greatworth near Banbury said: "We had a great day except it was a bit warm. But RIAT warned us to drink plenty of water." Her grandson Jonas said: "I loved the Red Arrows. It was really exciting when they flew straight at each other." Husband Philip, 58, said: "I thought the identity tags provided for children was a really great idea. It made us feel confident that the children were safe."  The Royal International Air Tattoo is held in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.  Tim Prince said: "The Trust was set up last year to support a wide range of RAF charities and to promote the RAF itself and encourage airmindedness in young people. It had enjoyed a very successful first year and now looks as though it will be enjoying a very good second year thanks to the support we received at the weekend by so many wonderful people."

Legendary Astronaut Drops In To Air Tattoo

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, pays a visit to the Royal Jordanian Air Force C-130 Hercules at the Royal International Air Tattoo and is greeted by Col Nabil Ababneh, Commander, Royal Jordanian Air Force (Air Lift Wing)  Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, with his wife Lois at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on Saturday, July 15.

New Guinness World Records At Air Tattoo

Two new Guinness World Records were established at this year's Royal International Air Tattoo*.In a stunning display of throwing accuracy, teenager Robert Lambert from Winchcombe in Gloucestershire hurled three balls into decreasing size holes in a mere 1.4 seconds, beating his closest challengers by a good margin.  Meanwhile, 21-year-old Loughborough University student Sam Foakes was attempting to beat his own Guinness World Record of 33 gyrator spins on one wheel of a BMX bike.  At his first attempt, Sam raised the record to 35 spins but, later in the day, he returned to set a new mark of 37 spins, the best ever recorded in a public event.  As part of the highly successful Tri@RIAT exhibition, the Guinness World Records' competition attracted thousands of young Air Tattoo visitors and its success delighted Craig Glenday, Editor of Guinness World Records.  "We must have attracted over 10,000 participants over the two days of the Tattoo," said Craig who was also running a special prize draw for 20 copies of the 2007 Guinness World Records which is due to be on sale on September 29th.  * The successful record attempts are subject to ratification by Guinness World Records.  By John Roche

Reds' Tribute to Elegant Veteran

One of the RAF's most renowned aircraft, the versatile and hard-working VC-10, celebrated 40 years in service with a spectacular flypast at this year's Royal International Air Tattoo.  The Red Arrows, Britain's prestigious aerobatic team, are pictured honouring this valuable asset by formating on a VC-10 C1K tanker aircraft from 101 Squadron, based at nearby RAF Brize Norton.  The VC-10 was introduced into military service with the Royal Air Force in 1966. During its civilian airline service, the aircraft had a distinguished career as a stylish and popular airliner with the former BOAC, now British Airways.  It still remains as one of the fastest airliners in the world, capable of cruising at Mach 0.86.  The Air Tattoo display aircraft was flown by Flt Lt Jez Lewry and Flt Lt Rupert Smith.

Stunning Pakistan Aircraft Scoops Three Awards

Pakistan's gesture of thanks to UK and US forces for their help in last year's earthquake disaster turned into a spectacular winner at the Royal International Air Tattoo at the weekend.  The Tattoo's Rapid Global Effect theme was so current and appropriate that Pakistan entered a unique aircraft, 6 Squadron's L382B, the only civilian version of the C-130 Hercules still flying.  With huge, colourful illustrations of the humanitarian work carried out after the earthquake, the aircraft walked away with the Tattoo's prestigious Concours d'Elegance competition, lifting the Page Aerospace Trophy as well as the BAE Systems' Trophy for winning the Spirit of the Meet competition.  The crew were also presented with an engraved bowl for having the Best Livery at this year's Air Tattoo. It was presented by Air Tattoo director Tim Prince.  "This is a wonderful result and we are elated that the Tattoo judges acknowledged what we wanted to present," said Wg Cdr Haseeb Gul, who commanded a 19-strong team of aircrew and medical personnel in the medical evacuation configured aircraft.  He explained how the extraordinary illustrations were conceived and created. "We all got together, aircrew and ground crew, to discuss what would truly represent the humanitarian teamwork involved last year, "said Wg Cdr Haseeb.  "Once we had agreed the general design, the artists and painters were called in and the work was only finished two days before we flew over here." The aircraft belongs to No.6 Air Transport Support Squadron, founded in 1942 and the oldest squadron in the Pakistan Air Force.  Wg Cdr Haseeb and his team were presented with their trophies by Mr Paul Gibbs, Managing Director of Page Aerospace, and Mr Nigel Whitehead of BAE Systems.

Trophy Nets Cash For Children's Charity

The Barclays' Premiership Trophy helped raise more than £1,500 for a national children's charity during last month's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.  The Trophy, which is currently held by Chelsea Football Club, was on display during the Air Tattoo and visitors were invited to make a small donation to Cherished Memories in return for having their photographs taken with English soccer's most prized piece of silverware. Barclays generously agreed to match whatever amount was raised during the world's largest airshow.  Cherished Memories was started nine years ago by Suzette Bradnam after her father was diagnosed with cancer. She organised 'once in a lifetime' trips on Concorde and to Brands Hatch for him and although he succumbed to the disease, the family was left with cherished memories to remember the special times rather than the suffering.  Suzette realised how other families could benefit where a loved one's life was limited and she set her mind on organising trips for families who have children with life threatening illnesses or who were terminally ill. In 2003, the Cherished Memories Support Group was formed and became a registered charity and it currently helps more than 350 children.  For the third year running, a group of youngsters from Cherished Memories attended the Air Tattoo as guests of US aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman.  Volunteers from branches at Barclays in Gloucestershire, Swindon and Newbury helped raise the money at the Air Tattoo and recently presented Suzette with a cheque for £1,513.

Helen Linsley, Barclays' Cirencester branch manager said: "We were delighted to arrange volunteers among our staff to raise money at the airshow. Not only is Cherished Memories a fantastic charity to be involved with but it is great to help a charity linked to our local Air Tattoo."  Suzette Bradnam said: "The donation is priceless in that it helps us to be able to continue providing these special days which encourage family bonding. We make a point of videoing these events because we have found it helps the healthy siblings with the grieving process later on.  "We are really grateful to Barclays for the donation and to Northrop Grumman for giving 64 children such a memorable day out last month. Without it, they would not have been able to meet the Red Arrows and other pilots and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience."

US Veterans Enjoy Cruise Break At Tattoo

"This has got to be the best in the world,"  was ex-US Navy flyer Bernie Fipp's unequivocal verdict after his day at the Royal International Air Tattoo on Saturday.  Vietnam War veteran Bernie along with another US Navy veteran Tom Sudberry, delighted Air Tattoo organisers when they declared their intention to leave their Round Britain cruise at Liverpool and hire a helicopter to reach Fairford for the Tattoo.  "We have always had Paris and Farnborough on our wish list," said Tom, "but a retired admiral friend of ours insisted that RIAT was a pure airshow and THE one to visit. So we booked a cruise round the British Isles to keep our wives happy and here we are!"  Bernie, 66, and Tom,64, caught up with old friends and flying colleagues while taking in key moments of the display. " What impressed us," said Bernie, "was the variety in the show and the exceptional way it has been organised.  "There was never a dull moment," he added, "with combat aircraft, aerobatic teams and historic aircraft giving the programme real sustained interest."  And as they stepped into the Jet Ranger for the flight back to Liverpool, Tom chortled: "We'll get so much cocktail party value out of this and all our flying stories have been refreshed."  Now Bernie and Tom are resuming their interrupted cruise but not for long. They jump ship again at Dover on Friday for a trip to Farnborough . . . and don't bet against them flying over from the States in future for more RIAT entertainment!  By John Roche.

“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

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