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Royal International Air Tattoo 2011 Review

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Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II - photo by Webmaster

Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II

Royal International Air Tattoo 2011 Review

The Royal International Air Tattoo 2011 had three main themes: 40th Anniversary of the Air Tattoo, STAR 11 (Strike, Attack and Reconnaissance), and TIGER 50.

The first Air Tattoo was held at North Weald in 1971, and since then the air show has grown into the largest military air show in the world.

The Air Tattoo has been held at various locations over the years including North Weald in 1971 and 1972, then Greenham Common from 1973 to 1983 becoming a biennial event from 1977, then to Fairford from 1985 to 1989. Then a special Battle of Britain Airshow at Boscombe Down in 1990, back to Fairford in 1991, then the Air Tournament International again at Boscombe Down. From 1993 to 1999 the Air Tattoo was held every year at Fairford and became the Royal International Air Tattoo in 1996. Fairford underwent major airfield improvements in 2000 and 2001 so the Air Tattoo was held at Cottesmore for a couple of years before returning to Fairford in 2002 until the present day.

Despite the unsettled weather which did affect the flying display on both days, there were also some periods of sunny spells which was appreciated by the photographers. As usual there is plenty to do and see at this event apart from watching the eight hour flying display. There is the extensive static aircraft with rows of modern military aircraft from nations all over the world, plenty of stalls to look round, classic vehicle displays, entertainment such as Paul Swift's amazing precision driving and some very impressive death-defying stunts by Broke FMX on their motorcycles, and the concert which included Alexandra Burke, Chip Shop Boys, Abbie Lea Drew and much more.

photo by Webmaster
Rafale
photo by Webmaster
Tucano
photo by Webmaster
Tornado
photo by Webmaster
Dutch F-16
photo by Webmaster
Saudi Hawks
More photos of the flying display can be found here.


Highlights of the flying display, for me, was the Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II displayed by the West Demo Team, 354th Fighter Squadron, USAF. On Saturday the A-10 pilot cut his display short because of an electrical fault however they used the spare A-10 to perform a full display on the Sunday. Other highlights included the Avro Vulcan B2, F-16s from the Netherlands, Turkey, Belgian, and Denmark, the French Rafale, Saudi Hawks, Hawker Hunter 60th anniversary flypast, and Air Cadet 70th anniversary flypast. With the lack of RAF display aircraft this year, it was good to see the Tornado Role Demo with pyrotechnics, along with the Hawk T1, Tucano T1, Tutor T1, and Chinook HC2/3. Also the BBMF and everyone's favourite, the Red Arrows. Although the RAF couldn't spare a Typhoon due to operational commitments, BAE Systems displayed their Typhoon FGR4 with a full weapons load.

photo by Webmaster
Ukraine Su-27
photo by Webmaster
Ukraine IL-76
photo by Webmaster
Voyager
photo by Webmaster
RC-135V
photo by Webmaster
Meteor
More photos of the static display can be found here.


Representing Tiger 50 was the US KC-135R Stratotanker, Spanish F1, German Tornados, French Mirage 2000C, Belgium F-16, Austrian Saab 1050E, Royal Navy Merlin HM1, and RAF Puma HC1.

photo by Webmaster
Mirage 2000C
photo by Webmaster
German Tornado
photo by Webmaster
German Tornado
photo by Webmaster
Belgian F-16
photo by Webmaster
RN Merlin
Aircraft representing Tiger 50


At the end of the event, on Sunday night, several trophies are awarded to the best displays. This year the top award, the King Hussein Memorial Sword for the best Overall Flying Demonstration went to Maj Murat Keles, flying the F-16C "Solo Turk" from 141st Sqn, Turkish Air Force. The Paul Bowen Trophy for the Best Solo Jet Demonstration went to Capt Michael "Mikael" Brocard flying the Rafale C from EC01.007, French Air Force. The Sir Douglas Bader Trophy for the Best Individual Flying Display went to Maj Severino De Luca, Maj Francesco Ferreri and Chf Master Sgt Ugo Sabeni from Reparto Sperimentale Volof of the Italian Air Force, flying the C-27J Spartan who also won the As the Crow Flies Trophy, voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo. The Steedman Display Sword for the Best Flying Demonstration by a UK participant was awarded to Mark Bowman flying the BAE Systems Typhoon FGR4. And finally, the Best Livery award went to Maj Ingo Heinle and Capt Rene Lorgen of JBG 32, German Air Force with their Tornado ECR.

Thanks to the organisers for putting on another excellent display. The dates for next year's Royal International Air Tattoo are 7th-8th July 2012 and will celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the operational theme will be Skylift.

Article by Dave Key - www.militaryairshows.co.uk