Royal International Air Tattoo 2011 - Extended Highlights

The Royal International Air Tattoo iis too big to cover in just our review so below are some images of the many aircraft that attended the Tattoo participating in the various themes that included the 50th Anniversary of the NATO Tiger Association, Strike, Attack and Reconnaissance - STAR11 and the show's own 40th Anniversary. Photography by Paul Johnson/Flightline UK and Mike Rivett/Fotomotion.

Ukrainian Air Force at RIAT

THE Ukrainian Air Force return to RIAT in 2011. The air arm was last present at the Air Tattoo in 2000 when the event took place at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland: prior to that they'd appeared at Fairford in 1999, having made their Air Tattoo debut in 1996. Now, in the 40th-anniversary year of the show, the Ukrainians have returned bringing two stars of the static display with them: the Sukhoi Su-27 and a giant Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane. Lt Gen Sergii Onyschenko of the Ukrainian Air Force said he was delighted his Air Force could be represented at the show. He said: "I am very proud that our Air Force could take part in this world famous airshow."

Gen Onyschenko first visited the UK when he was a student at the General Staff College in Ukraine, and said he took home many memories. "Britain and Ukraine have a very good close relationship and it will continue with visits like this," he said. While at the Air Tattoo, Gen Onyschenko met Prince Michael of Kent and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton: the special guests were shown around the aircraft and invited to sit in the Su-27.

However their attendance was not without incident. On departure the Il-76 appeared to cycle it's gear while still on the runway creating some very dramatic tyre smoke before two tyres burst. However both aircraft and crew were fine and retruned to the Ukraine without further incident. The Sukhoi also made a spectacular departure rolling after it had retracted it's gear which may not have gone down too well with the Flying Control Committee in the Tower. Still it was grear to see them back at a UK show and we hope it's not too long before they return!

Tiger 50

RIAT hosted a collection of aircraft from the NATO Tiger Assocation member squadrons celebrating the airshow's close relationship with the association (which celebrates the 50th anniversary of its Tiger Meet this year. Each Meet features a colourful range of specially-decorated aircraft, from NATO squadrons that have a tiger or big cat in their emblem.

Col Don Verhees (retired), senior advisor to the NATO Tiger Association, said: "Our two organisations have long enjoyed a close relationship, and the airshow has hosted several meets over the years when we have not been in a position to."

He added: "The tiger-schemed aircraft reflect our strong Tiger spirit, rather like a football team which wears its team colours, and we are fortunate to have a lot of Tiger fans who like seeing the aircraft too."

To mark their Tiger heritage, the squadrons usually paint one or more of their aircraft in a new scheme every year. The paint schemes range from the subdued to the spectacular and those attending this year's show are no exception. The aircraft was also thoughfully presented for photographers against the uncluttered backgrounds at the western end of the static park.


The STAR Theme brought together aircraft from the Strike, Attack and Reconnaissance roles for the Air Tattoo's operational theme. The theme's diverse range of partcipants included historic types as well as the current military hardware.

RIAT 40th and Supporting Aircraft

Over 40 years RIAT has seen a huge variety of aircraft attend the show for display or support purposes. 2011 was no different with a huge range of aircraft arriving and departing from Fairford over six days.

Other Flightline UK RIAT pages

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