PILOTS from the Royal Air Force enjoyed a good night at the awards ceremony yesterday (Sunday) at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, scooping three of the top seven prizes.
The Typhoon multi-role fighter, Chinook helicopter and Tucano trainer all transported their pilots to the winners' rostrum at the traditional end to the event, the Sunday Night Hangar Party, when Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire, Chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, opened proceedings by thanking everyone for their contributions to RIAT 2013.
Sir John thanked volunteers and participants for all their efforts, adding: 'The awards were fiercely contested, and I hope all the participants have enjoyed their displays as much as we've enjoyed watching them'.
Gp Capt Geoff Brindle, Flying Display Director, said: 'What we have seen at the Air Tattoo this year is a variety of acts being displayed, from World War 2 warbirds to the latest fly-by-wire fighter aircraft. We see huge technological leaps, but the same spirit remains amongst the aircrew here at the Royal International Air Tattoo.'
This year, the top award, the King Hussein Memorial Sword - presented in memory of the late HM King Hussein of Jordan, Patron of the International Air Tattoo (1983-1989) for the Best Overall Flying Demonstration - went to the Swiss Air Force PC-7 team from Dubendorf Air Base, Switzerland. The sword was presented by HRH Lt Gen Prince Feisal of Jordan.
The award was received by Capt Martin Vetter and his crew of 14. Capt Vetter said: 'It's such a great honour for us to hold this trophy in our hands, especially as we're not a full-time display team. We're different to the other teams, with our turbo-prop trainer aircraft, and we're not as fast or as loud as some. But we try to give the public a great show and with nine aircraft we aim always to have at least one in front of the public. It's really nice for us to get this.'
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. The trophy was presented by Tim Prince, Director of the Air Tattoo and Chief Executive of the RAFCTE.
Flt Lt Norris said: 'It's phenomenal to have walked away with the trophy. The display would not have been possible without the capabilities of the Typhoon, but the award is as much for the support and ground crews as their hard work makes it all possible.'
The Sir Douglas Bader Trophy - presented by Shell UK for the Best Individual Flying Display - went to Flt Lt Paul Farmer and his crew of four, flying the Chinook transport helicopter.
Alan Smith, Chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises, presented the trophy to Flt Lt Farmer who said: 'I'm absolutely blown away - I didn't think we'd win. We've had a fantastic weekend and this really tops it off.'
The Lockheed Martin Cannestra Trophy - awarded for the Best Flying Demonstration by an overseas participant - was won by the Airbus A400M. The team of Karl-Heinz Mai and Anthony Flynn had already departed the show, so the trophy was presented to Chairman of the Display Flying Committee Roger Beazley by Gp Capt Brindle.
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.
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire, Chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and President of the Royal International Air Tattoo, presented the sword. Flt Lt Fyvie-Rae said: 'I'm over the moon. I was in awe of the competition and didn't think I had a chance of winning, so I'm absolutely thrilled.'
The As the Crow Flies Trophy, voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo, was presented by David Bywater, Non-Executive Director of the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises. 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.
Maj Michele said : 'This is a great success for us as a new crew working together, but it was the Air Tattoo atmosphere that really charged our display and got our adrenaline running to give a good show.'
And finally, the Best Livery award, also 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, and it won the crew's second award of the Air Tattoo: on Friday night they received the UTC Aerospace Concours Trophy as overall winner of the Air Tattoo's Concours d'Elegance contest.
They received the award from Jeppesen's Steve Dowell.
The Royal International Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust which, in turn, awards grants in support of the RAF family, including serving personnel and Air Cadets. Since it was established in January 2005, the Trustees have awarded over £1.8 million to a wide range of projects and initiatives.