2005 Edition


RIAT Index

Part One: The Show

Part Two The Big Themes

Part Three: The Fairford Mix

Part Four: The Flying Displays




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The Royal International Air Tattoo, officially the world's biggest military air show according to the latest addition of The Guinness Book of World Records, returned for 2005 under blazing shot summer skies. As usual the show offered the largest static parks and flying display seen anywhere in the UK and a multitude of other attrations. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of Author.

 RIAT 2005 was another highly successful event for what is now Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises. RAFCTE estimates that somewhere in the region of 160,000 people  attended over the two public days which is about a 7% increase over last years audience. This has not been just luck, RIAT has been on a serious marketing offensive recently with hoardings on the side of the M4 and a small stand at Paddington Station. Adverts for the tattoo have also been noted in the International Festival of the Sea programmes as well as quite wide coverage on BBC Radio 2 where RIAT offered a VIP package as part of the Children In Need Appeal. This is all well and good, but after 2002 RIAT learnt that you have to offera really good package to the public else they won't ome back. 2003 was a great show but attendance was way down and lead to all sorts of speculation over RIAT's future. So what was 2005 like.

The RIAT emergency services are the biggest in the country for the the time together and are formed of a mixture of civil and defence personnel all using their training in a very difficult environment.

Well, the first experience of RIAT anyone has is the task of getting in. Since 2003 this has actually been very good and so it was in 2005. For those who need to get in early there is the inevitable queue at the gates until the gates open at half past seven in the morning. The Queues start early, and by about half past five, it's starting to build up. In previous years, and on the Saturday this year, as the opening time approaches there always seems to be people wanting to jump the queue. This can be quite a problem as those who have queue often get involved in minro arguments with the queue-jumpers. Sunday though saw the introduction of queuing channels in an attempt to avoid this and it appears to have worked and everyone seemed much happier getting into RIAT. Following the terrorist attacks on London, it was unsurrprising to see much stricter security checks on entry to the airfield. They checked every part of peoples baggage but despite this there were no complaints and the whole operation was relatively swift.

At the Stakeholders Forum back in March, we were told a lot more effort was being put into the showground to make it a generally nicer place. Although this didn't mean wholesale changes, it was evident that a lot of investmant had taken place. The important places was all well marked by a series of banner like flags above the marquees and the concessions were really well placed. A free showground shuttle bus is also an excellent idea as the showground is massive and you could walk for miles. From the enthusiasts point of view, the positioning of the static park is always a bowl of contention at any large military show. This too had clearly had some though put into it. The arrangement of several aircraft was somewhat innovative such as the arrowhead of F-16s or arrangement of Tornados, Jaguars and Global Hawk. Several of the show stars such as the Romanian MiGs were positioned with their Cold War Adversaries such as the Phantoms or in areas of uncluttered backgrounds which is really good news for photographers. Away from the flying there was plenty to see and do. Aircraft wise, there was really very little directly related to the 60th Anniversary of the Second World War. However, on the ground such was a Home Front Exhibtion complete with classic military vehicles, re-enactors and dancing. For those a little more technically minded there was also a major exhibtion of Robots fronted by Professor Noel Sharkey who advised and judged on BBC's Robot Wars and TechnoGames.

The public voice of RIAT is suppied by AirSound with the voices of Chief Commentator Sean Maffett and Mike Whitehouse who are both very experienced commentating at a number of highly varied events around the country.

As ever, as the flying display finished there was an impressive two hour concert from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force featuring the winner of Channel 4's Musicality, Donna Hazelton and the Royal Air Force Squadronnaires. The concert has become quite an event in itself and proves to be very popular event in it's own right with lots of flag waving and all that!

Of course, the major event at RIAT is the flying display which is covered in much more detail in it's own review, but overall it was a highly diverse and entertaining affair. Although there may not have been an absolutely show star, there were many highlights from a number of displays many of which were new to RIAT. Displays ranged from the much more traditional military hardware and warbirds, which we have become used to at RIAT, to the tiny Pitts S2S Purple Violet and the DHL Cargo Boeing 757. As always, there were a number of awards to the displays which really shone to the judges, flying control committee and FRIAT members which are detailed at the bottom of this page.

RIAT 2005 was hugely enjoyable airshow packed with variety. No other show comes close to offering it visitors such a lineup of aircraft, the concert, ground exhibtions and other activities all in the one package. This is not just another airshow, it a true festival event and is way too big to all be seen in the one day. Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Knight, chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, hosted the awards ceremony. He thanked everyone involved for an exciting and safe airshow. “This was one of the best shows we have ever done and you must say to any doubters that it was exciting, very professional and will have people flocking back in huge numbers each year. It brings money in for important charities and it is without question, the finest airshow in the world. Join me in thanking Director Tim Prince and all his staff who made it possible,” said Sir Michael.

Director of RIAT Tim Prince added “It is most heartening that in our first year under the new Trust, the team has put on a fantastic airshow. I believe it has been a success for our many stakeholders, including the various international air arms, the many aircrew, our hardworking volunteers, the Royal Air Force and, of course, the people who matter the most – the public. We would like to extend our congratulation to RAFCTE and all the volunteers involced in bringing such a quality event to us again. RIAT 2006 will be held over 14th-16th July 2006 where the theme will be Global Mobility.

Royal International Air Tattoo 2005 Flying Display Awards

The Paul Bowen Solo Jet Aerobatic Trophy

As a tribute to the late Paul A Bowen, co-founder of the Royal International Air Tattoo (1947-2004), this trophy is awarded to the best solo jet demonstration

2005 Winner: Capt Olli Siivola, Finnish Air Force flying an F-18C Hornet

The Sir Douglas Bader Trophy

As a tribute to the late Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, President of the Royal International Air Tattoo between 1976 and 1982, this trophy is awarded for the Best Individual Flying Demonstration, excluding display teams of six or more aircraft and solo jet demonstrations

2005 Winner: Major Wandent Brawdsen flying AH64D Apache helicopter from 301 Sqn Royal Netherlands Air Force.

The Lockheed Cannestra Trophy

This Trophy is awarded for the Best Flying Demonstration by an Overseas Participant, excluding aerobatic display teams of six or more aircraft

2005 Winner: Jointly to French Air Force Mirage 2000 pilots Capt Yannick Vallet and Capt Fabrice Camliti.

The Steedman Display Sword

This award is presented by the Royal International Air Tattoo in memory of the late ACM Sir Alasdair Steedman, Chairman of the International Air Tattoo between 1981 and 1988 for the Best Flying Demonstration by a UK Participant, excluding aerobatic display teams of six or more aircraft

2005 Winner: Flt Lt Carl Zarecky flying RAF Chinook of 18(B) Sqn RAF Odiham.

The King Hussien Memorial Sword

This award is presented for the Best Overall Flying Demonstration in memory of His Majesty King Hussein, Patron of the International Air Tattoo 1983-1999

2005 Winner: Il Frecce Tricolori , the Italian Air Force International Display Team

`The As The Crow Flies Trophy

This trophy is presented by the Friends of The Royal International Air Tattoo in memory of the late Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley-Milling, controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund and Founder Chairman (later Vice Patron) of the Royal International Air Tattoo awarded for the Best Overall Flying Demonstration

2005 Winner: Major Wandent Brawdsen flying AH64D Apache helicopter from 301 Sqn Royal Netherlands Air Force.

RIAT 2005 Best Livery

2005 Winner: KC-135R, 77 Air Refuelling Sqn, USAF Reserve

 copyright Flightline UK 2005