Royal International Air Tattoo, July 17th 2010
Two years ago, the British weather intervened, RIAT was completely cancelled and the paying public didn’t get to see the F22A Raptor display. Back again this year, the weather was kind, particularly on the Saturday of the show and this awesome aircraft was put through its display routine with true aplomb by pilot Major David "Zeke" Skalicky.
In 1940, the Battle of Britain was being fought out in the skies over the UK. Seventy years later, special tributes were flown during the show to commemorate this event. Spitfires and Hurricanes, together with their Me109 adversaries took to the air in commemoration, followed by flypasts of modern aircraft, flown by nations involved in the conflict.
Another anniversary being celebrated, 2010 marked fifty years since crowd favourite, Vulcan XH558, first flew. With nose now sporting the words “Spirit of Great Britain”, it is sometimes hard to believe that this huge delta-winged aircraft first flew so long ago.
Making its UK airshow debut, the Airbus A400M, looking to replace the venerable C-130 as the transporter of choice for many European air forces, ably demonstrated its short take off capabilities and agility. When it enters service, initially with the French air force ion 2012, this aircraft, with its fly-by-wire controls, glass cockpit and carbon fibre reinforced plastic wings will substantially increase the load capacity and range of the aircraft it replaces.
With its combination of old and new, military and civilian aircraft, international display team and other attractions, RIAT continues to be the airshow of choice for the aviation enthusiast and, with next year seeing the 40th anniversary of the air tattoo, many are already wondering what next year’s show will bring.