RIAT  2004     RIAT  2006

Royal International Air Tattoo

July 16-17, 2005
RIAT Director and co-founder Tim Prince and his team should once again be congratulated for staging another varied and interesting air show. RIAT is operating under the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises (RAFCTE) for the first time, after the Benevolent Fund withdrew from the Tattoo. Over 300 aircraft attended from all over the world, and combined with over 160,000 visitors over the weekend it makes it the Worlds largest military air show.
B-52H Stratofortress (61-0003 'LA') of 20th BS/2nd BW based at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, 
just beginning to thunder down the runway for take-off.

The Display:
The Frecce Tricolori won this years award for the best overall display. One of my favourite display aircraft is the Mirage 2000 and this year the Lockheed Martin Cannestra Trophy for the Best Overseas Flying Demonstration went to the French Air Force Mirage 2000 pilots, Capt Yan Vallet and Cpt Fabrice Camiliti for the second year running. 

Left and right: Mirage 2000 (12 '5-NV').
Helicopters featured strongly throughout the show. Left to right: The Steedman Display Sword was awarded to Flt Lt Carl Zarecky of 15(R) Squadron at RAF Odiham, flying in Chinook HC.2 (ZD983). 28(AC) Squadron Merlin HC.3 (ZJ131 'P'), the Army Air Corps 671 Squadron display team the 'Blue Eagles' with their Lynx AH.7 (ZD281 'K') and four Gazelle AH.1s. (ZA726 and XX378).
A second prize for a helicopter display, was the Sir Douglas Bader Trophy for the 'Best Individual Flying Demonstration', going to Major Wandent Brawdsen of 301 Squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Flying in a AH-64D Apache (Q-30) he dispensed flares at the top of a loop several times, which I think must have caught the judges eyes! The display of the similar Agusta A-129A Mangusta however was not nearly as eye catching. Right: A-129A (MM81427 'EI-957') of the 'Esercito' or Italian Army.
Another prize winner (Paul Bowen Solo Jet Trophy) was Cpt Olli Siivola of the Finnish Air Force flying in an F/A-18C Hornet (HN-444) of HavLLv 31 based at Rissla.
Surely close challengers for the Paul Bowen Solo Jet Trophy must have been the RNAF solo display aircraft F-16AM (J-055) in a new 2005 display scheme and the RAF's own Typhoon T.1 (ZJ809 'BH') of 29 Squadron. This year the Typhoon is performing a no holes barred full display, modified slightly following an incident on the Friday.
Left to Right: Heavies, B-1B Lancer (85-0089 'DY') of 37th BS/7TH BW from Dyess, Texas and B-52H (61-0003 'LA') of 20th BS/2nd BW based at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. Also RAF C-17A Globemaster III (ZZ173) from nearby Brize Norton, makes a short field landing to unload surprisingly a small marching six man pipe band!
The fastest display of the day was made by the 'East Coast F-16C Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team' using a 52FW F-16C (91-0352 'SP') from Spangdahlem, Germany. Making numerous fast fly-bys, demonstrating speed rather than agility, it was unlike most of the other fast jets displaying at Fairford.
Left to right: The Royal Navy's 'Black Cats' display team displayed with a Lynx HAS.3S (ZD250 '630') of 702 NAS and Lynx HMA.8 (XZ729 '417') of 815 NAS.
Jaguar GR.3 (XZ112 'GW')
Above and below: In their final display year, the RAF Jaguar GR.3As were resplendent in two special colour schemes. The 41 Squadron special scheme aircraft (XZ103 'FP') was flown on the Saturday with the Coltishall 65th Anniversary scheme aircraft (XZ112 'GW') on the Sunday, "nice touch."
The Tornado gave photographers some of the best shots of the day. Here 15(R) Squadron Tornado GR.4 (ZD895 'TI') and 56(R) Squadron Tornado F.3 (ZE736 'WB') are shown in stunning action.

Some of the year more unusual formations at RIAT: 
A new formation for this years show was performed by two FR Aviation Falcon 20EWs and four FRADU Hawks.
The Royal Navy played a major part in this years display, also providing a formation of four Jetstream T.2s and four Sea Harrier F/A.2s.
Another unusual formation this time in the form of the Red Arrows with no less than three Spitfire PR.19s (PS853 'C', PL965 'R' and PM631).