16-17 July 2011 The prospects for this year's 40th Anniversary Tattoo were bleak, a wet weather forecast and continuing NATO commitments in north Africa effecting attendees. However, the show was spectacular as ever. Any doubts were offset by the anticipation of the first UK appearance of the Saudi 'Green Falcons' with their Hawks and the return of the Ukraine Air Force with a Sukhoi Flanker and Il-76 support. Saturday dawned wet but by early afternoon the sun broke through allowing the show to commence; by the evening a warm clear patch rewarded the large and diligent crowds.
This year's Farnborough show was dominated by Boeing with their 787 Dreamliner. this was the first appearance outside the USA. It was disappointing to all that it only stayed from Sunday to Tuesday with only one proper flying demonstration to invited guests. If anything, the first impression is of a very stylish, smooth, airframe though it seems stunted and small compared to the endless artist's impressions. Another UK newcomer was the Airbus 330 Freighter and the A400, fresh from IAT. The F-22 Raptor flew in and was highly agile for such a large aircraft. Other fast jets included the Typhoon, F-16 and F-18, all of which displayed with underwing stores showing that they can 'mix it' effectively without a clean wing.