The Royal International Air Tattoo on the RAF Fairford airbase, succeeded again in having a large and more than impressive line-up on both the static show and for the air display. This years Tattoo attracted in total, more than 320 aircraft from 24 countries representing 37 air arms. With again several big highlights, starting with the USAF Thunderbirds which are on a European tour in celebration of "60 Years USAF". Besides that was also after a 2 year absence, and maybe on display for his last appearance ever outside the USA, the always beautiful F-117A Stealth from the 8th FS "The Black Sheep" based at Holloman AFB. First time appearance ever on the RIAT was a delegation of three SU-30 Flankers (one flying and two static), one Il-78 Midas and a Hawk Mk.115 from the Indian Air Force. A very disappointing "fly-by" was performed with one SU-30 Flanker, at a far to high altitude and distance. However the pilot on the SU-30 is a operational pilot and not a display pilot, could the fly-by be a little lower and more towards the crowd line. Anyway a very nice side to see such a great fighter.
The RIAT 2007 is the biggest airshow of the year and the largest military airshow in the world. It was a difficult time to hold a military airshow with so much uncertainty in the Middle East and elsewhere, yet the RIAT still managed to create an event to entertain and inspire everyone. The main event of the day is the nine hour flying display, with this year not so many exclusive aircrafts like last year. But with a Indian SU-30 and USAF F-117 in the flying program a unbeatable combination. For the 60th anniversary of the USAF where three solo display teams present, with for me as highlight the F-117A Stealth. The B-1B Lancer performed this year a great display in comparison with last year, every shape and side of the aircraft could be witnessed as the aircraft was doing high and low passes with swepped back wings. And last but not least was the F-15E Strike Eagle display team present for a great solo airshow, and in a Heritage flight with P-51 Mustang "Miss Velma".
Only two foreign display team where present to participate in this years airshow, but these two teams where hand picked. As already stated earlier where the USAF Thunderbirds present, a great time that is not often seen outside the USA. The other foreign display team where the Italian Frecce Tricolori, and my personal highlight of the day. With the largest amount of aircrafts in a display team around the world did they perform again a great airshow. With as absolute highlight the solo aircraft piloted by Maggiore Andrea Rossi, throwing his aircraft from a "Crazy flight" into a "Tail slide" as the absolute highlights.
The "local" display teams where present in the shape of the always brilliant Red Arrows, Army Blue Eagles, Navy Black Cats and Black Seahawks and Team Guinot as the historic part of the airshow. Two main themes where picked for this years RIAT, with large static amounts of aircrafts for both themes. The first theme was the 60th Anniversary of The United States Air Force, with the "Thunderbirds", a F-117A Stealth, F-15E Strike Eagle and B-1B Lancer as the flying highlights. The other was the "Agile, Adaptable & Capable" theme, and presents a dynamic demonstration of 21st century air power. It attracted therefore military aircrafts from all over the world, including Canada, India, Brazil, USA and almost every European country. Also a large amount of great solo display teams where gathered for this year. Two F-18 Hornet display teams where present by the Swiss AirForce and the Finnish AirForce, two F-16 display teams where present in the shape of a Belgium F-16AM solo display, which performed a great and newly restyled display including chaff-flares as the highlight. And the undisputable star of the show was the Dutch F-16AM solo display with the aggressive, agile and highly impressive display also including the chaff-flares as the finale of the display.
The Czech Republic was present with a L-159 ALCA and the always impressive Mil-24 Hind solo display, and the Spanish AirForce performed a great and thrilling display with the Eurofighter Typhoon. From the UK Navy was in my opinion the Nimrod MR2 the most impressive display flown, with high pitch fly-by's and every possible situation was flown infront of the large public.
On Saturday the weather was mostly sunny with scattered clouds, ranging from snowy white to pitch black, which provided some very challenging light conditions to photograph with. Overall also this year again a great and impressive airshow, see you again next year...