Royal International Air Tattoo, July 9th 2016
For those people that like their airshows loud, the Royal International Air Tattoo, held at RAF Fairford in July, was the only place to be. With an air display primarily featuring fast jets, new and old, this year's RIAT certainly put the emphasis on raw power.
With the theme of "The Next Generation: Inspiring Innovation", the main draw and highlight for many was, undoubtedly, the UK airshow debut of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II. Featuring in a unique formation flypast with the RAF Red Arrows and Eurofighter Typhoon on the Friday, as well as in formation with the other new kid on the block, the F-22 Raptor, the F-35 really impressed in its solo display. The powerful and very noisy display showcased the aircraft's vertical take-off and landing capabilities for all to see.
With no fewer than four individual displays by operators of both the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-16, people might be forgiven for thinking that RIAT 2016 was only about modern military jets but that wasn't the case. Classic fast jets in the form of the Polish AF Mig-29 and the French AF team, Ramex Delta, flying Mirage 2000s, also thundered around the skies of this air base in the Gloucestershire countryside. Ramex Delta, making their final airshow appearance were just one of many display teams at RIAT 2016. Making their debut at a RIAT show were Krila Oluje, the aerobatic team of the Croatian AF flying their Pilatus PC-9 trainers alongside other RIAT favourites like the Breitling Wingwalkers, Royal Jordanian Falcons, Frecce Tricolori and, of course, the RAF Red Arrows. Add to the mix, World Aerobatic Champion, Aude Lemordant flying her Extra 330SC, the Airbus A400M, the CV-22 Osprey plus helicopter displays from the Apache and Bell Boeing CV-22B Osprey and there was something for everyone.
Remembered for the UK airshow debut of the F-35 Lightning, this surely must have been one of the most noisy, adrenalin-pumping, RIAT shows for some years.