The peaceful environment of the Cotswolds was interrupted for six days in July as the arrival of noisy jets and piston engine aircraft signaled the start of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. Continuing the pattern established in 2014 the event would begin with two main arrivals days on the Wednesday and Thursday, public displays held Friday to Sunday, and departures on the Monday. This year's themes included the Royal Air Force's celebrations for the "75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain", and "Securing the Skies: Past, Present and Future".
Royal International Air Tattoo 2015, Great Britain
Amongst the rare foreign visitors the stars of the show was the appearance of; two Kawasaki P-1s of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force; a pair of Spanish Air Force Northrop SF-5M Freedom Fighters; a Mil Mi-35 (24V) Hind-D from the Czech Air Force; a single Sukhoi SU-22M4 Fitter from the Polish Air Force; a pair of F-16's known as "Team Zeus" from the Hellenic Air Force; and a pair of Dassault Mirage 2000N's known as "Ramex Delta" from the French Air Force performing their tactical demonstration.
Many thanks to the RIAT team for organising a fantastic show.
RIAT attracts military participants, enthusiasts and the general public from all corners of the globe. For six days the Cotswold's essentially becomes the home to a multi-national aviation community.
It was also very good to see a strong participation from the United States Air Force in the form of two Fairchild A-10C Thunderbolt IIs, F-15C and F-15D Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, a KC-135R Stratotanker, Lockheed Martin MC-130J Commando II and the Bell/Boeing CV-22B Osprey from RAF Mildenhall. The United States Army also made a welcome and very rare contribution to the RIAT static display with a Boeing AH-64D Apache and Sikorsky UH-60A Blackhawk.
Due to the current economic climate RIAT 2015 will not be remembered for quantity, but it certainly delivered a great deal of quality over the six days with all involved and attending enjoying themselves. I congratulate the RIAT team for organising a fantastic show.
From lift-off Kev put the Vulcan into a near knife-edge angle as it climbed away over Totterdown - quite simply a jaw-dropping moment for all to see. This was followed by a very spirited display concluding with a vertical climb-out and inverted half-barrel manoeuvre. The Vulcan landed deploying its silky white chute, rolling out to a highly respectful round-of-applause.
With the Avro Vulcan being in its final
display year before being decommissioned
in October it was fitting to see a formation
flypast with the Red Arrows. A highlight in
itself, this was however overshadowed by
the stunning performance take off and
display by Saturday's pilot Kev Rumens.