Skip Navigation

Latest News

Air Tattoo Honours Top Displays

Published: 22 Jul 2019   updated: 05 Aug 2019


A memorable three-day Royal International Air Tattoo 2019 concluded with the traditional Sunday night prize giving, during which trophies were presented to several of the show's top displays.

The Paul Bowen Trophy for the best solo jet display - named in honour of the late Paul Bowen, co-founder of the Air Tattoo - went to Lt Col Yurii Bulavka, pilot of the Sukhoi Su-27P1M from the 831st Guards Tactical Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force. "I will say only one thing", commented Bulavka. "Thank you for your attention, wonderful Air Tattoo. See you next time!"

The Italian Air Force's Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team of 10 Aermacchi AT-339A jet trainers, regulars at the Air Tattoo, scooped the RAFCTE Trophy, awarded to the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant. Team leader Maj Stefano Vit said, "It is really a great honour for me and for all the team because it's a special trophy. The Air Tattoo is the biggest airshow in Europe, and winning this trophy is a big reward. It's nice to leave an occasion like this."

Following a triumphant event, including flypasts with the British Overseas Airways Corporation-schemed Boeing 747-436 of British Airways as part of the BA100 events and the French Air Force's Patrouille de France team as a salute to the 50th anniversary of Concorde's first flight, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, won the Steedman Display Sword for best display by a UK participant. Team manager Sqn Ldr Doug Smith commented, "This is absolutely fantastic. We adore coming to RIAT every year - it's a tremendously well-run airshow - and to come away with the trophy for best display from the UK is stunning. To do the flypasts with the 747 in BOAC livery and the 'double Concorde' formation was really, really good."

The evening's double winner was Capt Arto Ukskoski, who flew the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet from Fighter Squadron 11 of the Finnish Air Force. He took home the Sir Douglas Bader Trophy for best individual flying demonstration and the As The Crow Flies Trophy for best display as judged by the enthusiast members of Friends of RIAT. "I am quite surprised", said Ukskoski, "because there are so many good aircraft and so many good pilots. It's amazing, especially for the Finnish Air Force because we don't do so many airshows internationally every year."

One of the most regular performers at recent Air Tattoos, Swedish Air Force Saab JAS 39C Gripen pilot Maj Peter Fallén from F 7 wing of the Swedish Air Force, received the King Hussein Memorial Sword for best overall flying demonstration. An emotional Fallén said, "This means so much to me. I'm almost in tears now, because RIAT has been a big part of my career as a display pilot. I've been flying here for six years, and it's been the main event every year. I'm so grateful."

The RIAT Chief Executive Trophy, presented by outgoing Air Tattoo CEO Andy Armstrong, went to the Spanish Navy's EAV-8B Harrier II+ duo. Mr Armstrong referred particularly to the initiative shown by the squadron's commanding officer following a brake fire suffered by one of the two aircraft on arrival, which led to repairs being affected and participation in the weekend displays.

Finally, the trophy for best livery was presented to the Eurofighter EF2000 operated by Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 71 'Richthofen' of the German Air Force, stationed at Wittmund.

“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

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