20-21st July 2013 It is July again so the annual pilgrimage to the world's greatest military airshow is made again. This year enjoyed excellent weather with two main display themes; 'Sky Guardian' featuring reconnaissance assets and all those concerned with airborne protection and the 70th Anniversary of the dambusters raid.
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.
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.
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.
RIAT 2009 went ahead despite the wet conditions, on base parking for ‘Park and View’ and 5km of metal roads help relieve the pressure on the car park fields. A sell-out crowd in excess of 160,00 enjoyed a weekend of flying involving 269 aircraft from 33 air arms representing 22 counties. Saturdays weather stayed dry but a mixture of low clouds and blue skies gave the display pilots a challenge to make best use of the changing conditions through their display.
After the cancellation of the 2008 event due to water-logging of the site, particularly the car parks; this year's team had taken every precaution; doubling car park space off site and allowing some on airfield parking for the first time since 9-11. It was very successful though the allocation of ramp space, the recession and military commitments elsewhere reduced participation by some air forces.