RAF Fairford This years Air Tattoo will be remembered first for the wet weather though this failed to spoil the event for thousands. The aircraft component was possibly the best for many year following lots of intense effort from the organisers. Highlights were the first appearance at a western airshow by the Japanese military with a KC767 tanker and two display teams on first visits to the UK; the South Korean Black Eagles with their T-50s, airfreighted in by 747s, and the Macchi MB339s of Al Fursan from the Emirates. Of the two the Koreans were the more innovative with continuous action and tight choreography.
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.
With so many forces committed to military tasks it was fortunate that the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain was the focus of this year's show. A plethora of Spitfires and Hurricanes, accompanied by examples of 'the foe', graced the skies over Gloucestershire with Saturday in particular enjoying fine weather. Flight Training was also recognised, it being the 150th anniversary of the UK Cadet Force.
In a major coup, the Abingdon Air & Country Show in Oxfordshire on Sunday May 3rd has, subject to operational requirements, secured an appearance from the RAF’s largest aircraft – the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. No 99 Squadron at nearby RAF Brize Norton will be flying in one of its five C-17s to the show at Dalton Barracks, Abingdon Airfield, early on the morning of May 3rd.