This summer's Royal International Air Tattoo will host Europe's largest tribute to the United States Air Force on its 60th anniversary.
The airshow, which takes place on July 14-15 at RAF Fairford, home of the USAF's 420th Air Base Group, will feature a wide range of American military aircraft including B-52s, C-17s, B-1B bombers, F-15s, F-117A stealth fighters plus a number of historic aeroplanes such as the legendary P-51 Mustang. The USAF Thunderbirds aerobatics display team, based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, will also be making a rare UK appearance. On the ground, there will be the opportunity to meet aircrew and enjoy a wide range of American-themed entertainments including a star-spangled outdoor evening concert. Airshow organisers will be focusing their 60th anniversary tribute on the close relationship that has built up between the Royal Air Force and the US Air Force since the latter separated from the US Army in 1947. Among the special guests scheduled to join the tribute will be the RAF's Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy and Chief of the US Air Force, General T Michael Moseley. In addition to recognising the USAF's 60th anniversary, the Air Tattoo will also be marking the 65th anniversary of the US Air Force in Europe (USAFE).
One of the world's greatest aerobatic display team, the USAF's renowned Thunderbirds, are set to make a rare UK appearance at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.
The Thunderbirds last appeared in the UK six years ago but have never taken part in the Air Tattoo before. Formed in 1953, the Thunderbirds are based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and comprise six F-16 'Fighting Falcons'. Unusual for national aerobatics display teams, two of the pilots are women: Major Nicole Malachowski and Capt Samantha Weeks. In 2006, Maj Malachowski became the Thunderbirds' first ever female demonstration pilot. For the 2007 season, Capt Weeks from 12th Fighter Squadron, based in Alaska, will join her. The team is famed as much for its theatrical pre-flight ground routine, which is performed with pinpoint
accuracy, as it is for its stunning aerial displays. The Thunderbirds' performance at the Air Tattoo on July 14-15 will be their only UK appearance next summer and will be part of the airshow's official tribute to mark the United States Air Force's 60th anniversary. Air Tattoo Director Tim Prince said despite having been involved in the airshow for more than 35 years he still gets a thrill out of welcoming new acts to RAF Fairford. "The Thunderbirds team is one I've been particularly looking forward to welcoming for many years and people should not miss this rare opportunity to see them in the UK. They are quite unique in the airshow world, not least for the entertaining ritual they perform before each display. Youngsters, in particular, will be mesmerised. They will be but one of the mouth-watering ingredients we are confident will contribute to a memorable tribute to our USAF friends next July."
The Royal International Air Tattoo has official been crowned the best airshow in the UK!
Aircraft enthusiasts from around the country have officially crowned The Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford the best airshow in the UK – for the second year running!
The poll, by best-selling aircraft magazine Aircraft Illustrated and supported online by airshows.co.uk, was carried out earlier this year and was based on the 2006 airshow season.
Held in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, the Air Tattoo beat other venues ranging from the Farnborough International Airshow and the famous Biggin Hill event to more local displays, such as those held in the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire.
Air Tattoo Director Tim Prince, who is due to receive the award at a special presentation ceremony, said he was delighted that last summer's Air Tattoo was considered such a success by enthusiasts.
He said: "It's great to see that all the hard work carried out by the RIAT team at Fairford – and the thousands of volunteers who help us each year – has been recognised in this way. I believe the Air Tattoo struck a perfect balance between appealing to the enthusiasts and also to the general public who simply want a great day out. We intend to build on that success in July."
Aircraft Illustrated's Managing Editor Allan Burney said: "In Aircraft Illustrated's opinion, modern military airshows simply don't get any better than RIAT 2006. The stunning spectacles presented by the MiG-29M OVT and MV-22B Osprey displaying for the first time in Britain were enough to excite even the most hardened airshow enthusiast, and that's to say nothing of the airshow's other highlights — far too many to mention again!"