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Category Archives: RIAT

AIRSHOW NEWS: Sell out Air Tattoo for Reds 50th Season

A SELL-OUT crowd of 140,000 turned up at RAF Fairford over three days to join celebrations marking the Red Arrows’ 50th display season at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

They were rewarded with breath-taking aerobatic displays from fast jets, transport aircraft, helicopters and classic warbirds. The aviation fans’ favourite was the rare appearance of two classic Cold War ground-attack strike aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-22s from Poland, while the visitors were also treated to the last UK appearance of the A-7 Corsair from the Hellenic Air Force.

Seven aerobatic display teams flew in to join the Red Arrows’ celebrations thrilling the crowds with their precision flying. On Friday (July 11), team leaders from the Patrouille de France, Frecce Tricolori, Patrouille Suisse and the Breitling Jet Team performed a special anniversary formation flypast with the Red Arrows.
Red One, Squadron Leader Jim Turner, said: “We love all the European display teams and are most grateful to all those that have helped us celebrate this weekend.”

In total 240 aircraft from 31 air arms representing 25 countries took part in the Air Tattoo.
Senior military guests included: Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford and US Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh III; plus air chiefs from 48 other countries including Turkey, Singapore, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Japan and Montenegro.

Industry guests at the Air Tattoo included Mrs Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin; Mr Hakan Buskhe, President of Saab Global and Mr Simon Laffin, Chairman of the Flybe Group. Celebrities Alan Carr, Robson Green, Carol Vorderman, Adam Henson, Sir David Jason and Bruce Dickinson also attended the three-day show.

Royalty was also represented at the airshow with HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Michael of Kent and HRH Prince Feisal of Jordan enjoying the airshow.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince, who retires immediately after the airshow, said: “It’s great that such a bumper crowd was able to enjoy what we had to offer over the three days. The weather was good, the flying was fantastic and once again the Red Arrows lived up to their star billing. My thanks go to all those who visited the airshow, the many aircrew who participated and everyone who contributed to the successful staging of this event. Under my successor Andy Armstrong, I am confident the Air Tattoo will continue to be a wonderful celebration of international aviation and an event of which UK plc can be rightly proud.”

The Air Tattoo medical teams reported no major incidents and a relatively quiet time for those on duty. Senior Medical Officer Sqn Ldr Darren Ellison said: “We dealt with 250 patients with no major problems, just a range of minor illnesses from heat-related issues to blisters and abrasions.”

Senior Fire Officer Barry Scott said: “We’ve enjoyed a very quiet show. The main excitement was being on stand-by for the Apache role demo when we thought the pyrotechnics might set the grass on fire, but we weren’t needed, and that’s the way we like it.”

First-time visitors to the show were a Colony of Beaver Scouts from 1st Purton & Lydiard Scout group. Parent Emma Hudson-Ellis, from Swindon, said: “We’ve been here since 7.30am and have had a fantastic day. The flying displays are absolutely brilliant, especially the Red Arrows, who we always love to see, and we’ve still got quite a lot to see on the ground before we go home.”

Mark Smeaton from Nailsworth in Gloucestershire, had brought his family on their first visit to the Air Tattoo. He said: “The quality of the flying is just amazing, especially the formation displays. The whole show seems very well organised, and everything’s covered. Our five-year-old was more than slightly traumatised by the noise of the Eurofighter, but two members of the Air Tattoo CREW instantly leapt to our rescue, supplying earplugs and generally saving the day. We were impressed, and we’d definitely come again!”

The Royal International Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust which, in turn, awards grants in support of the RAF family, including serving personnel and Air Cadets. Since it was established in January 2005, the Trustees have awarded over £2.1 million to a wide range of projects and initiatives.

Belgian Air Force Display Dates 2014

Today, at their Launch Day, the Belgian Air Force released details of their 2014 display season. The UK is supported on four occasions with the F-16 visiting RIAT and Yeovilton and the Red Devils supporting Cosford and Cleethorpes. (Thanks to Chriss Janssens/Blue Foam)

Red Devils
8 June: Cosford (UK)
14-15 June: Bergnuestadt (Germany)
22 June: Karup (Denmark)
28-29 June: Dax (France)
5-6 June: Nancy (France)
26-27 July: Cleethorpes (UK)
6-7 September: Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic)
13-14 September: Kleine-Brogel

A109BA display team
21-22 June: Cazaux (France)
28-29 June: Dax (France)
14 July: Valenciennes (France)
24 August: Kristianstadt (Sweden)
30-31 August: Sliac (Slovakia)
6-7 September: Payerne (Switzerland)
13-14 September: Kleine-Brogel

F-16 Solo display team
18 May: Lens (France)
20-21 June: Gilze Rijen (Orange Country)
28-29 June: Rome (Italy)
5-6 July: Nancy (France)
12-13 July: Fairford (UK)
20 July: Amary (Estonia)
26 July: Yeovilton
30-31 August: Payerne (Switzerland)
13-14 September: Kleine-Brogel
20-21 September: Bardolino (Italy)
26-28 September: Athens (Greece)
27-28 September: Malta

AIRSHOW NEWS: Air Tattoo makes Aviation History

AVIATION history will be made in the UK this summer when, in a major airshow ‘first’, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter, makes its much-anticipated European debut.

This hugely important multi-role combat aircraft, which has never before been seen outside of the US, will display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 11-13.

Three examples of the F-35B, the short take-off/vertical landing version of the Lightning II optimized for operation from austere bases and smaller ships, will be based at RAF Fairford: two from the US Marine Corps and one destined for the UK. The flying displays on all three days of the airshow, will see participation by one aircraft.

The aircraft’s appearance at Fairford will allow a whole new audience to see at close quarters this highly advanced multi-role platform, which, in F-35B form, will demonstrate the ‘hover’ capability required for operation from, for example, Britain’s forthcoming new aircraft carriers.

Its appearance at RAF Fairford in July will be the latest in a long list of legendary military aircraft that have made their UK debut at the Air Tattoo. These have included the F-14 Tomcat in 1976, the MiG-23 in 1991, the Typhoon in 1995 and the V-22 Osprey in 2006.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Designate, Andy Armstrong said: “Not only will people witness aviation history being made at the Air Tattoo this summer but they will also see a breath-taking demonstration of the future of combat aviation. Those people who, like me, enjoyed seeing the legendary Harrier display its hovering capabilities in the past will relish the opportunity to see its state-of-the-art successor.”

In the words of Lockheed Martin, the F-35B combines for the first time ‘the most lethal fighter characteristics: supersonic speed, radar-evading stealth, extreme agility and short take-off/vertical landing capability.’

The stealthy Lightning II is a vital aircraft for the air arms of the nine countries who have, thus far, signed up to become part of the programme: apart from the US and UK, also involved are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey.

The type is rapidly entering service with the US Air Force in CTOL (conventional take-off and landing) F-35A guise, and with the US Marine Corps in F-35B form. The UK plans to procure 138 F-35Bs for joint operation by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and has begun pilot and maintainer training on the aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The F-35 will, in future, become a common sight in our skies – but it will perform its first international display at this summer’s Air Tattoo.

The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Tickets for the event are only available in advance. Specially-priced Earlybird tickets for this summer’s Air Tattoo, on July 11-13, are available until May 31 from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

AIRSHOW NEWS: F-35 Lightning II jet to make maiden British flights at Air Tattoo and Farnborough


The combat aircraft will fly in Britain for the first time this summer at 2 airshows.

The F-35 Lightning II will make its international debut in July at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford and in the same month will also fly at the Farnborough International Air Show.

This will be the first time the combat aircraft has flown outside of the United States. The selection of 2 UK airshows demonstrates the significant role that Britain has in the programme. Approximately 15% of every aircraft is built in the UK.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“The US and the UK have worked closely together on the F-35 project from the beginning. We are the only country that is a Level 1 partner in the project, which is sustaining tens of thousands of jobs in the UK.”

“This fifth generation stealth combat aircraft will be a major boost to British combat air power and it is entirely fitting that the F-35’s first stop outside the United States will be in the UK – its second home.”

The MOD has 3 aircraft which are all currently based in the US undertaking training with Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots. Orders for further aircraft will be placed over the next few years.

The UK’s first operational Lightning II squadron, 617 Squadron, is scheduled to transition to RAF Marham in Norfolk from the US in 2018 ahead of flight trials of the Queen Elizabeth Class Carrier later that year.

The F-35 Lightning II will be capable of undertaking a wide range of operations from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions to high intensity combat, including air defence for a Carrier Task Group and offensive support for ground forces.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is open to the public from 11-13 July and Farnborough International Air Show is open to trade visitors from 14-18 July and open to the public 19-20 July.


AIRSHOW NEWS: Italians in Air Tattoo Show of Force

The Italian Air Force has confirmed no fewer than five flying items for this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds.

Headlining the Italian involvement in the weekend’s flying display on July 12-13 will be the country’s national aerobatic team, the world-renowned Frecce Tricolori. Flying 10 examples of the Aermacchi MB339 PAN jet trainer, the Frecce are joining celebrations to mark the 50th display season of their British counterparts, the Red Arrows.

Few aerobatic teams can claim to be as exuberant as the Frecce, famed for the closeness of their large formations, the spectacular manoeuvres of their soloist, and the spine-tingling finale flypast set to the tones of Pavarotti while the MB339s stream in smoke the colours of the Italian flag.

Tremendous support for the Air Tattoo is also being provided by Italy’s air force flight test centre, the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (RSV). It will this year send four aircraft to give solo displays, comprising a Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoon, Panavia A-200 Tornado, AMX International A-11 and Alenia C-27J Spartan. The RSV’s test pilots always put on top-quality performances, those in the twin-turboprop C-27J transport being especially notable for their aerobatic agility, and regular winners of Air Tattoo flying display trophies.

A particularly rare item is the AMX attack aircraft, not seen in a British flying programme since 2001. The Typhoon will provide an interesting contrast with the Royal Air Force example also displaying, while the Tornado is expected to be the sole representative of the swing-wing combat aircraft in the flying display during this, the type’s 40th anniversary year.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati commented: “All of us at Fairford are delighted at the support Italy has confirmed for RIAT 2014. The addition of the Frecce Tricolori to the Red Arrows’ birthday celebrations is great news, and such a level of participation from the RSV has not been seen for many years.”

The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Tickets for the event are only available in advance. Specially-priced Earlybird tickets for next summer’s Air Tattoo, on July 11-13, are available until May 31 from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

AIRSHOW NEWS: New Air Tattoo Chief Executive relishes opportunity

The man who will step into the shoes of Tim Prince, as Chief Executive of the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises following RIAT 2014, says he feels privileged to be taking over such a unique organisation.

Andy Armstrong, whose appointment was announced this week, said he hoped to use his business experience to give something back to the RAF family.

He said: “I am genuinely excited and feel very privileged to be taking over the controls of such a unique organisation. I look forward to working alongside everyone at Douglas Bader House and hope to meet many of the extraordinary volunteers, whom I have heard so much about, as we get ready for this summer’s Air Tattoo.”

Andy, who is married with two children, will be working closely alongside Tim throughout the build-up to this summer’s airshow before formally taking over immediately after.

A marketing graduate, Andy has a strong track record in developing a wide range of consumer businesses, most recently managing the transition from physical to digital delivery of filmed entertainment as Managing Director Northern Europe for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

He believes his interest in the Royal Air Force and his desire to support it was inherited from his father, who was the ATC Corps Chaplain for more than a decade.

“My enthusiasm definitely came from him,” said Andy. “I remember being taken to an Air Tattoo when I was very young, to see one of the first displays of the Harrier. Watching an aircraft stop in mid-air, hover and then fly backwards for the first time was something I, and thousands of others that day, will never forget.”

On leaving school, Andy was awarded a Cadet Flying Scholarship, which enabled him to obtain his Private Pilot’s Licence and he continued flying with the University Air Squadron whilst studying at Strathclyde University.

Andy said: “Having personally benefited from the support of the RAF family, I think joining the RAFCTE and RIAT team is a fabulous opportunity to use all my experience to ‘give something back’.”

Tim said he was pleased to be handing over the reins to someone who not only valued what had been achieved in the past but who had the experience to take the organisation forward.

He said: “I know Andy has been attracted by the determined yet caring ethos of our highly capable and enthusiastic team and fully understands that aircraft comprise the core element of the Air Tattoo. I am so pleased that I will be handing it all over to someone who values all that we have done in the past and who is looking forward to using his considerable experience to take the organisation forward.”

Andy, who lives in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, was appointed following a rigorous recruitment process, which attracted a number of very strong candidates.

Air Tattoo and RAFCTE Chairman Alan Smith said: “I am delighted that Andy has agreed to take up the job of leading our unique organisation following Tim’s decision to retire after 43 years spent making a fantastic contribution to military aviation in general and the Royal Air Force and its charities in particular.”

“In discussing the job with him, I was immediately struck by Andy’s strong commitment to continue to support the RAF Charitable Trust whilst safeguarding the interests of our permanent staff and our thousands of volunteers. Most importantly, Andy clearly understands what our customers expect from the company in running what is still the largest military airshow in the world.”

AIRSHOW NEWS: U.S. set to approve international debut of F-35 fighter

From Reuters News Agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department is poised to approve the first trans-Atlantic flight of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet in July, when the new warplane is expected to take part in two international air shows near London, according to multiple sources familiar with the issue.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is “very close” to a decision that would allow two or three F-35s to fly at the Royal International Air Tattoo, or RIAT, an annual military air show outside London, and the larger Farnborough air show, held every two years, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Britain, which contributed $2 billion (1.2 billion pounds) to the development of the new radar-evading fighter jet and plans to buy 138 F-35s in coming years, asked for the jet’s participation to help showcase the increasing maturity of the new radar-evading plane. Britain was also the first international partner on the program.

Details of the F-35′s international debut are being worked out, including how much it will cost to fly the planes to London and who will pay for it, but no issues have emerged to prevent the appearances, the sources said.

The costs will likely be shared by Britain, the Pentagon’s F-35 program office, the U.S. Marine Corps and industry.

Lockheed and Britain’s Ministry of Defense declined comment. Officials at the F-35 program office had no immediate comment.

“Having the aircraft front and centre on the UK stage will focus attention on the fact that it’s a fairly mature program at this point, with over 100 jets built,” said one of the sources.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond is due to meet with Hagel during a visit to the United States this week, but they are not planning an announcement about the F-35′s UK debut, said one of the sources.

Current plans call for at least one of the participating F-35s to be one of the three F-35 B-model jets already built for Britain, with a UK pilot at the controls.

Participating in the international air shows will allow the Pentagon’s F-35 program to carry out additional training and learn how the plane’s logistics, maintenance, aerial refuelling, and security systems work overseas, the sources said.

“This will be an opportunity to learn real-world lessons and allow additional time to resolve any problems before the first airplanes are delivered overseas,” said one of the sources.

Lockheed and Britain’s Ministry of Defence declined comment. Officials at the F-35 program office had no immediate comment.

Lockheed is the main contractor on the $392 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program. Northrop Grumman Corp and Britain’s BAE Systems are the biggest suppliers.

Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, builds the single engine that powers the plane. Britain’s Rolls Royce Group builds the lift fan that enables the B-model of the F-35 to land like a helicopter.

Boeing Co’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet is also due to fly at the RIAT air show.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Ros Krasny, Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)

AIRSHOW NEWS: Super Hornet to create Airshow Buzz

Boeing has announced that it will be displaying its powerful Super Hornet on the Saturday and Sunday of the Royal International Air Tattoo, July 12-13, 2014.

The multi-role fighter, originally developed for the United States Navy but now also in service with the Royal Australian Air Force, has appeared several times at the Air Tattoo in two-seat F/A-18F form since its debut in 2004.

Once again, its manufacturer Boeing will lease a US Navy example for the RIAT 2014 flying displays. It will offer a rare chance for a British audience to witness at close quarters the power and manoeuvrability of the Super Hornet, a development of the earlier F/A-18 Hornet that will itself be displayed at the Air Tattoo this year by the Swiss Air Force.

The single-seat F/A-18E and two-seat F/A-18F are both combat-proven aircraft from operations by the US Navy in theatres such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Boeing test pilots have put on some exciting displays in the Super Hornet at previous Air Tattoos, and 2014 will be no exception. Their efforts have featured several times in the RIAT flying display awards, showing the qualities that make the F/A-18E and F so popular with service pilots.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: “The Super Hornet is an outstanding display aircraft, rarely seen at British events. I am sure that the Boeing test pilots will show its capabilities to fine effect.”

The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Tickets for the event are only available in advance.

Specially-priced Earlybird tickets for next summer’s Air Tattoo are available until May 31 from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

AIRSHOW NEWS: RAF Announces Air Tattoo High Flyers

The Royal International Air Tattoo was given a boost this week after the RAF announced which aircraft would be starring along with the Red Arrows in this summer’s flying programme.

Legendary aircraft such as the Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane and Dakota will be joined by the RAF’s state of the art multi-role combat aircraft, the Typhoon and the basic trainer aircraft, the Tucano on Saturday July 12 and Sunday July 13. The Typhoon and Tucano will also be flying on Friday, July 11, as part of the special Red Arrows Pit Day.

The power and agility of the Typhoon makes it one of the most eagerly anticipated performers at the airshow. Piloting the multi-role combat aircraft in 2014 will be Flt Lt Noel Rees from 29 (Reserve) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby.

Demonstrating the capabilities of the Tucano, which provides basic fast jet flying training to RAF and Royal Navy student pilots, will be Flt Lt Dave Kirby. The aircraft, which features the Royal British Legion logo, poppies and the words ‘Lest we Forget’, is operated from No 1 Flying Training School, at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

As well as enjoying RAF aircraft in action, visitors to this summer’s Air Tattoo will be able to get close to a wide range of RAF aircraft parked in the Showground. There will also be the opportunity to meet many of the pilots and crew.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said that once again, the RAF has demonstrated the immense value it sees in the airshow, in terms of public engagement opportunities and international diplomacy.”

He said: “The Air Tattoo provides the Royal Air Force with a unique platform on which to highlight the capability of its aircraft and the dedication and skill of all those who fly, maintain and support them. Not only will airshow visitors will be able to see the RAF’s operational aircraft and those from the BBMF that have earned legendary status but they will also be able to join us for the biggest international celebration marking the Red Arrows’ 50th display season.”

The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Tickets for the event are only available in advance. Specially-priced Earlybird tickets for next summer’s Air Tattoo, on July 11-13, are available until May 31 from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

AIRSHOW NEWS: Swiss turn Air Tattoo into joint celebration

The Swiss Air Force has ensured the Red Arrows won’t be the only aerobatic display team celebrating an aviation landmark at this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 11-13.

It has announced plans to send their aerobatic display team, the Patrouille Suisse, in their 50th anniversary year, along with an F-18 Hornet and Super Puma helicopter to take part in the Air Tattoo’s flying display.

Air Tattoo organisers said that official celebrations marking the 50th display season of the Red Arrows would also include the Patrouille Suisse in order that their anniversary was also recognised.

Formed in 1964, the team fly six F-5E Tiger IIs painted in a bright colour scheme that incorporates the red and white of the Swiss national flag. The pilots, who are all volunteers from various frontline squadrons, are famed worldwide for performing precise formations at high speed.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said that as an international celebration of aviation, it was important that the Air Tattoo recognised important anniversaries being celebrated by other participating air arms.

He said: “The Swiss have particular cause to celebrate this year. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the Patrouille Suisse but it is also the 25th anniversary of their PC-7 aerobatic display team. On top of that, the Swiss Air Force will also be marking the 100th anniversary of military aviation in their country. Given all these anniversaries, we’re really pleased that the Swiss have agreed to support our airshow in such an incredible way.”

The Swiss Air Force have been regular visitors to the Air Tattoo since first attending the airshow at RAF Greenham Common in 1979 with the Patrouille Suisse. Then, the team flew six Hawker Hunter F-58s before switching to their current Northrop F-5E Tiger II jets in 1995. Accompanying the display team on their first visit was a Swiss Air Force de Havilland Venom FB.4, which was presented as a gift, to the Royal Air Force Museum.

This summer could be one of the last times the Patrouille Suisse perform in the UK after it was announced last year that the team would be disbanded in 2016 due to the withdrawal of the F-5 from Swiss Air Force service.

Specially-priced Super Earlybird tickets for next summer’s Air Tattoo, on July 11-13, are available until the end of January from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.



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