Royal International Air Tattoo 2012, RAF Fairford - 7th-8th July - Thursday Arrivals

Thursday may well prove to be the best day of RIAT weather wise, but for some reason it seemed very quiet today with few rehearsals and some large gaps of little activity. However there was still plenty of interest.

Perhaps the biggest news of the day was the arrival of the Boeing KC-767J from the Japanese Air Delf Defence Force. Apart from state visits, the aircraft's arrival at RAF Fairford marked the first time a Japanese military aircraft has visited the UK. The aircraft is the star of an impressive static display of airlifters and tankers.
Elsewhere there were some stunning special schemes. Two of the Norwegian F-16s sported smart tiger schemes as did the German Tornado IDS. It does seem slightly odd that a year in which RIAT is not celebrating the NATO Tiger Association that some many tiger schemes turn up!
There were also some special arrivals from the Royal Air Force. A rare attendee is a VC-10 from nearby RAF Brize Norton for static display. The aircraft is wearing a special scheme celebrating 50 years of RAF VC-10s and the 95th Anniversary of 101 Squadron. The BBMF's pair of Chipmunks also appeared to drop off WK518 which is now wearing the scheme it wore when it was based at Gatow.
For a thursday there seemed to be few rehearsals, but those that did occur were top quality. The Polish Air Force MiG-29 gave a typically smokey and powerful performance. The Belgian F-16 also rehearsed but the team are without their usual display aircraft. However they do have another special schemed aircraft for the display. Al Fursan and the Black Eagles took to the air as did the RAF Tucano. The weather could be interesting tomorrow with a band of very heavy rain curving over the centre of the UK. Fairford will hopefully escape the worst of it!!!

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