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Royal International Air Tattoo 2013 Review

Photographs

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Belgian F-16
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Belgian F-16
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RAF Typhoon
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Belgian F-16
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Tucano T1
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BBMF
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Hungarian Gripen
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Hungarian Gripen
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Chinook
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Lancaster
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Cessna 560XL
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Swedish Gripen
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Polish MiG-29
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Tornado GR4
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Pat. de France
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B-25J Mitchell
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B-25J Mitchell
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Dutch F-16
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Corsair
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Freece Tricolori
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Polish MiG-29
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A400M/Reds
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Pat. de France
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PC-7 Team
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PC-7 Team
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Red Arrows
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Red Arrows
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French Rafale
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A400M Atlas
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Red Arrows
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French Rafale
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Tornado/Lancaster
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Italian KC767A
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French Rafale
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Dutch Apache
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French Rafale
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Hungarian Gripen
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RAF Typhoon
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Italian Typhoon
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RAF Typhoon
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Dutch F-16
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RAF Typhoon
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Italian Typhoon
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RAF Typhoon
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Dutch F-16
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RAF Typhoon
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RAF Typhoon
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RAF Typhoon
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Dutch F-16
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Tanker/Typhoons
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Swedish Gripen
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RAF Typhoon
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Dutch Apache
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Italian Typhoon
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Lancaster
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Pat. de France
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Lancaster
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BBMF Spitfire
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BBMF
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Pat. de France
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Swedish Gripen
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Pat. de France
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Pat. de France
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Italian Typhoon
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Italian Typhoon
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Catalina
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Dutch F-16
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B-25J Mitchell
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Italian Typhoon
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Polish MiG-29
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Italian Typhoon
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Freece Tricolori
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Italian Typhoon
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Polish MiG-29
photo by Nigel Key
Freece Tricolori
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Jordanian Falcons
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A400M Atlas
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Pat. de France
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Jordanian Falcons
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Pat. de France
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Jordanian Falcons
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Dutch F-16
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Dutch F-16
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PC-7 Team
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PC-7 Team
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Polish MiG-29



Airshow Photographs

Polish MiG-29 - photo by Webmaster

Polish MiG-29

Royal International Air Tattoo 2013 Review

The heatwave in July contributed to around 130,000 visitors buying advanced tickets and arriving at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July. Thankfully the conditions were a little cooler on the air show days making it more comfortable to watch the eight hour air display.

There were 230 aircraft from 19 countries on display at the Air Tattoo which is in its 42nd year and is held in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Unfortunately there were no American military aircraft this year due to US budgetary restrictions and their understandable need to focus all their resources on fulfilling crucial missions around the world. Despite this, the organisers were still able to put on an exciting and enjoyable display.

Besides the air display and the static aircraft, there were plenty of showground attractions including 'Adrenaline Zone' which featured extreme sports, fast adrenalin-fuelled rides and activities, 'Techno Zone', the 'Vintage Village', and plenty of stalls to look around. This year featured three large 'Service Stations' which had refreshments, visitor information, cash points, free wifi, picnic benches, and toilets. However this did lead to rather large queues at the toilets and a fair walk to get to the nearest Service Station.

This year's Public Theme was 'A Celebration of Aviation Excellence' with an aim to maintain the Air Tattoo's reputation as one of the greatest international military air shows. The Operational Theme was 'SkyGuardian' which represented border and coastal patrols, airbourne interception to rapid medical assistance and evacuation, police services, and firefighting.

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Pat. de France
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Pat. de France
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Swiss PC-7 Team
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Swiss PC-7 Team
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Red Arrows
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Red Arrows
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Jordanian Falcons
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Jordanian Falcons
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Freece Tricolori
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Freece Tricolori

The flying display included Patrouille de France, Swiss PC-7 team, Red Arrows, Royal Jordanian Falcons, and the Italian Freece Tricolori display teams. The Patrouille de France displayed with their eight Alpha Jets however on Sunday they had to cut their display short after an engine warning light came on in one of the aircraft which landed safely at RAF Fairford. The PC-7 team had nine Pilatus PC-7 turbotrainers, the Red Arrows are back up to strength this year with nine BAe Hawk advance trainer aircraft, The Royal Jordanian Falcons used four Extra EA300L aircraft, and the Italian Freece Tricolori displayed in their ten Aermachii MB-339A aircraft, and had a rather excited Italian commentator. The top award, the King Hussein Memorial Sword for the Best Overall Flying Demonstration went to the Swiss Air Force PC-7 team from Dubendorf Air Base, Switzerland.

Fast jets, this year, included the Belgian F-16A MLU Fighting Falcon, Hungarian Saab JAS-39EBS Gripen, Italian Typhoon, RAF Typhoon, French Dassault Rafale C, RAF Tornado GR4, Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum, Dutch F-16AM Fighting Falcon, and Swedish Saab JAS-39C Gripen. The Paul Bowen Trophy presented by MBDA in memory of Royal International Air Tattoo co-founder Paul Bowen for the Best Solo Jet Demonstration went to Royal Air Force Typhoon display pilot, Flt Lt Jamie Norris of 29 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Coningsby.

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Belgian F-16
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Hungarian Gripen
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Italian Typhoon
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RAF Typhoon
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French Rafale
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RAF Tornado
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Polish MiG-29
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Polish MiG-29
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Dutch F-16
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Swedish Gripen

On Saturday there was a flypast by an Airbus A380 in formation with the Red Arrows and on Sunday the Red Arrows were in formation with an Airbus A400M Atlas. The Airbus A400M also performed a solo display and won the Lockheed Martin Cannestra Trophy which is awarded for the Best Flying Demonstration by an overseas participant. The crew included Karl-Heinz Mai and Anthony Flynn. Other special flypasts included a Dambusters 70th Anniversary Salute with the Lancaster and a 617 Sqn Tornado GR4, also an Italian KC-767A tanker along with Italian and RAF Typhoons, and the Dutch F-16AM flying information with a Dutch AH-64D Apache.

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A400M/Reds
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A400M Atlas
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Tornado/Lancaster
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KC767A/Typhoons
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F-16/Apache

Royal Air Force aircraft in the flying display included the Typhoon FGR4, Tornado GR4, Tucano T1, Chinook HC2, Lockheed Tristar, BBMF, as well as the Red Arrows in their Hawk aircraft. The Lockheed TriStar is an air-to-air tanker and transport aircraft operated by 216 Sqn at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. These aircraft are soon to be replaced by the new Airbus A330 'Voyager' and an example of the Voyager aircraft could be seen in the static display at RAF Fairford. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) consisted of the Lancaster B1, Spitfire XVIe (TE311), and Hurricane I (LF363).

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Typhoon FGR4
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Tornado GR4
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Tucano T1
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Chinook HC2
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Chinook HC2
Moonbeam McSwine - photo by Webmaster
Tristar
Moonbeam McSwine - photo by Webmaster
BBMF
Princess Elizabeth - photo by Webmaster
BBMF Hurricane
Miss Velma - photo by Webmaster
BBMF Spitfire
Nooky Booky - photo by Webmaster
Red Arrows

This year, three trophies were awarded to the Royal Air Force for the Typhoon, Chinook, and Tucano:

The Sir Douglas Bader Trophy presented for the Best Individual Flying Display went to Flt Lt Paul Farmer and his crew of four, flying the Chinook transport helicopter. The Steedman Display Sword presented by The Royal International Air Tattoo in memory of the late Air Chief Marshal Sir Alasdair Steedman, Chairman of the International Air Tattoo (1981-1988), for the Best Flying Demonstration by a UK participant was awarded to Flt Lt Andrew Fyvie-Rae, flying the Tucano training aircraft from 72 (Reserve) Sqn, RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

The Army Air Corps (AAC) displayed a single Lynx AH7, and also Apache AH1 helicopter. The Lynx helicopter is fast and agile and used by the AAC as a battlefield utility helicopter. The new AW159 Wildcat is expected to start replacing the AAC Lynx next year and a Wildcat could be seen in the static display at RAF Fairford. The AAC Apache is an attack helicopter and carries a mix of weapons including rockets, hellfire missiles and a 30mm chain gun, as well as a state of the art fully integrated defensive aid suite. The distinctive Longbow radar can be seen above the rotor blades, and the Apache is equipped with a day TV system, thermal imaging sight and direct view optics.

Nooky Booky - photo by Webmaster
AAC Lynx
Miss Velma - photo by Webmaster
AAC Apache
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Wingwalkers
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Wingwalkers
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Wingwalkers
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L-39 Albatros
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L-39 Albatros
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L-39 Albatros
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L-39 Albatros
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Finnish NH90

It was good to see the Breitling Wingwalkers with their four Boeing Stearmans again but I felt the excessive smoke they produced did not help their display as it lingered over the airfield and seemed to take ages to clear. We were also treated to an Estonian Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros which made its nation's Air Tattoo debut in the flying display. The L-39 Albatros is a high-performance jet trainer aircraft developed in Czechoslovakia. The Finnish Army made their first appearance at RIAT in the flying display with the NH90 (TTH) helicopter. Finland began deliveries of the NH90 multi-role military helicopter in 2008 to replace their ageing fleet of Mi-8 helicopters.

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Vulcan B2
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Vulcan B2
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Vulcan B2
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Vulcan B2
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Vulcan B2

The Vulcan B2 (XH558) gave another impressive display at this year's Air Tattoo. XH558, the last airworthy Vulcan bomber, was thought to be making its final flight at the end of 2013 as a result of the excessive technical and financial demands involved in keeping it operational, however it is now hoped that it will continue for another two years and keep flying until the end of 2015. In order to extend the life of the Vulcan a vital modification to the leading edges of the wings is required to increase the fatigue life of the airframe. Also there have to be sufficient stocks of all the system components needed for the additional two flying years, and any technical issues resulting from the 2013 flying season will have to be rectified during next Winter's service. XH558 is operated by the 'Vulcan to the Sky Trust' as a display aircraft, and funded by charitable donations. More information and donations can be made at their website at www.vulcantothesky.org

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Catalina
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B-25 Mitchell
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B-25 Mitchell
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F4U-4 Corsair
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F4U-4 Corsair

Classic warbirds at RIAT included the Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina, North American B-25J Mitchell, and Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair. The Catalina is owned by 'Plane Sailing' and based at Duxford. These long-ranged American aircraft were also used by RAF Coastal Command during the war for maritime patrol, and anti-submarine warfare. The Flying Bulls, based in Austria, brought along their B-25J Mitchell in its polished metal scheme, and their F4U-4 Corsair. The B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined medium bomber used by many air forces during the war, and the Corsair was an American carrier-capable fighter aircraft which saw service in WWII and also the Korean War.

We also saw the Eurocopter Role Demo with the EC135T1 (G-CHSU, Thames Valley Police Authority), EC135T2 (G-DAAN, Devon Air Ambulance), and EC145 (G-JESP, Fire & Rescue). A dramatic rescue scenario was enacted by these three helicopters and these demonstrations were part of the 'SkyGuardian' operational theme.

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Police
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Air Ambulance
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Fire & Rescue
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Meteor T.7
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Meteor T.7

The Gloster Meteor T.7 (WA591, G-BWMF) has recently been made airworthy after a 20-year restoration and is the world's oldest flyable British jet aircraft. This aircraft was built by Gloster Aircraft at Hucklecote, Gloucestershire in mid 1949 before being delivered to the Royal Air Force. It was used for training by the RAF and suffered a series of accidents over the years and eventually became a gate guardian at RAF Woodvale. It was rescued in 1995 by Meteor Flight, a group of enthusiasts formed by Colin Rhodes, before being restored. As well as being an air show favourite it is also used as a training aircraft again, although this time for training a new generation of classic jet pilots. WA591 is now based at Newquay Airport in Cornwall and operated by 'The Classic Aircraft Trust'.

Another helicopter to display at RIAT was the Belgian Agusta A109BA. This is a light attack and reconnaissance helicopter from 1 Helicopter Wing, Beauvechain. It is used in a variety of roles including anti-tank, tactical support, armed reconnaissance, delivering humanitarian aid, medical evacuations (medevac) and transport. The aircraft is flown by Capt Filip "Shaggy" Peremans assisted by co-pilot Lt Kevin "Que20" Beckers.

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Meteor T.7
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Belgian A109BA
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C-17J Spartan
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C-17J Spartan
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C-17J Spartan

It was a welcome return for the Italian Alenia C-27J Spartan which scooped two trophies at RIAT 2011. The C-27J Spartan is a medium-sized transport aircraft that can also perform medical transport missions, airdrops of materials and parachutists and perform maritime patrol. Once again the Alenia C-27J won a trophy for its display at this year's Air Tattoo. It won the 'As the Crow Flies' Trophy, voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo. The award went to Major Fabio De Michele, Capt Gianmarco di Loreto and Chief Master Sergeant Ugo Sabeni of the Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft, from the Italian Air Force's 311 Flight Test Squadron, Reparto Sperimentale Volo.

One of the highlights of the static display was the Breitling Super Constellation (HB-RSC). It was purchased by the SCFA (Super Constellation Flyers Association) in April 2007 and based at Basel in Switzerland. It was flown on the European airshow circuit until January 2010 when it was grounded due to corrosion issues but repairs were completed in April 2011. Unfortunately it had to cancel during the 2012 airshow season due to the failure of an engine but is now airworthy and active on the European airshow circuit. The graceful Super Constellation 1950s airliner was capable of crossing the Atlantic without any stop-overs, and set new standards of comfort and luxury.

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S. Constellation
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S. Constellation
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Swiss S. Puma
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Greek EMB-145
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Agusta A-109E

More photographs of the aircraft in the static display can be found by clicking here.

The Best Livery award, voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo, went to the Panavia PA200 Tornado from AKG-51 Wing of the German Air Force, piloted by Capt Nico Kohls, and Capt Nils Begnuth. The aircraft had been specially painted for the Arctic Tiger Meet in Orland Norway in June.

Thanks to the organisers for putting on another excellent display and the dates for next year's Royal International Air Tattoo are 12th-13th July 2014.

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

Trophy Winners Press Release.