The Royal International Air Tattoo Wows The Crowds

This weekend saw yet another Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, known as RIAT for short.

The event is organised by the Royal Airforce Charitable Trust who support a wide range of projects and initiatives benefiting RAF Personnel, cadets and other young people.

RIAT is the largest airshow in the world, with this year seeing some 236 aircraft taking part from 60 military delegations.

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The show was staffed by 2,000 volunteers including Air Cadets & The University Air Sqn.

RIAT2017 was themed around the 70th anniversary of the USAF with the largest ever gathering of USAF aircraft in years, spearheaded by USAF Thunderbirds Display Team and a surprise visit by a Global Strike Command Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber doing a flyby escorted by two F-15s.

The USAF gave a series of Spectacular flypasts and displays with US aircraft of past and present from the P-51 Mustang & Sally B, and the B-17, to their modern day strike aircraft including F-15, F-16, F-22 Raptor and even the B-1 Stealth Bomber.

As well as an impressive display of US aircraft, there were many more impressive air & ground displays put on from aircraft from around the world, with some even more impressive anniversaries including the Belgium Airforce 1st Sqn celebrating their 100th anniversary.

The biggest treats in the Air were of course are the Red Arrows who never disappoint with their breathtaking display of aerobatics, the explosive Apache Helicopter display which included an awesome pyrotechnic display showing its huge capabilities for such a small aircraft, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) flying the impressive Lancaster Bomber, three Spitfires and one Hurricane (The BBMF are also celebrating their 60th Anniversary), and probably for the most avid RIAT visitors was the display from the Ukrainian Airforce SU-17 Flanker.

For the RIAT Team, no rest with them now looking towards RIAT2018 which sees the 100th anniversary of the Royal Airforce which was formed on 1st April 1918.

By Mike Buss.