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Air Tattoo Blog

Our Favourite Moments from the 2019 Air Tattoo

Published: 20 Dec 2019   updated: 03 Feb 2020

Preparations are well underway for the 2020 airshow at Air Tattoo HQ. We are working very hard to ensure that we have another safe and successful event that the whole family can enjoy.

Whilst we're busy working on 2020's show, we can't help thinking back on this year's show as 2019 comes to a close. So we thought we would share our favourite moments from the Air Tattoo this year! We know it's one that we won't forget in a hurry.

1. Tim Peake

For our Head of PR Richard, the moment of the airshow was "seeing Tim Peake stopped in his tracks as he walked on the showground by a young university air squadron member. She told Tim that she wanted to study space medicine. He was so enthusiastic and supportive, it appeared, in only that brief moment, to have totally inspired her."

For Jo from the Trust, her favourite moment of this year's show was taking two of our Arkwright Engineering Scholars, Niamh and Alice, into the 'Audience with Tim Peake'. It was a fascinating talk and seeing two young minds absorbing it all highlighted the variety of informative experiences avaliable at RIAT.

2. Spanish Harriers

Kate, our HR director loved seeing the Spanish Navy Harriers this year.

"The harriers were one of only two types of aircraft that I'd heard of when I first began my journey to join the RAF. The harriers will always be special to me."

For our Air Operations Manager Tom Gibbons seeing the Spanish Harriers at the show was also his highlight.

"In hindsight, RIAT 2019 was a memorable occasion for me as I knew that I was considering the possibility of the event being my last following 30 years as both volunteer and permanent staff. We'd worked hard for quite a few years to try to secure an appearance from an AV-8B Harrier whether that be an Italian, Spanish or US Marines example and after a couple of near misses, we finally secured the participation of a pair of EAV-8B+ Harrier II aircraft from the Spanish Navy. Both aircraft were earmarked for the flying display and the Spanish Navy could not have been more supportive and helpful in the work up to their appearance at Fairford in July.

Their RIAT appearance started with an element of drama as one aircraft suffered a brake unit fire on arrival. Swift action from the RIAT Airfield Services Team engineers saw the fire quickly extinguished and following checks by Spanish Navy engineers who were flown over to investigate the incident both aircraft appeared in the Sunday display. We'd scheduled the Harrier pair as the last display item on Sunday with the display also being the last flight in the aircraft by the squadron commanding officer, I may have had a little dust in my eye as the last item in the display was complete and the aircraft returned to parking via a fire service salute for a welcome post-flight beer. Something inside me clicked and I knew deep down that it was time to draw stumps on my RAFCTE/RIAT career, a month later my decision was made.

The experiences, memories and most importantly people have been fantastic and I'll forever look back on the great times we've had at Fairford, Boscombe Down, Cottesmore, Scampton and East Fortune in Scotland. I thank you all."

3. The Red Arrows

Zoe who works on the Digital Team loved seeing the Red Arrows at the show this year. "It was fantastic to see them on Sunday jetting off to RAF Scampton ready to make their final preparations for their North American Tour!"

For Becca who works in Merchandise her highlight of the Air Tattoo was seeing the British Airways flypast. She watched it uninterrupted from the back of one of the Merchandise trailers. For her, it was a very well timed break!

4. Fairford Eye

For Simon who works in HR, it was being on the Fairford Eye and seeing the showground laid out around him. "It was a wonderful opportunity to see the extent of the event!"

5. Our Volunteer Mark Williams

For our Head of Ground Operations, his choice is a personal one.

"Mark Williams aka my mentor made it to RIAT 2019. For a while, it was touch and go as to whether he'd make it to August 2019."

Mark was involved in a car accident in June which involved a lot of broken bones including his neck. It was great to see Mark pick up the final cone in the pack up of the Air Tattoo.

6. Tony Foulds

Jon who works in the Digital Team loved meeting Tony Foulds. Tony has looked after a memorial in Sheffield dedicated to ten US airmen for decades.

"He was loving being at the show and seeing his American friends again. I also really enjoyed chatting to 'Toro' the USAF F-16 pilot about his display routine. He was equally blown away by what RIAT is, which put in perspective for me just what a great event we put on."

7. WAH-64D Apache

Wendy who works in FRIAT loved seeing the Apache helicopter's fantastic display!

"Working in FRIAT, I had the best view of the Apache. It certainly made me jump!"

Looking back on 2019's show has made us very excited for 2020! If you haven't got your tickets yet you can get them HERE!

“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, Former Formula 1 Racing Driver

“Probably the most complete air show I’ve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

“This is THE best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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