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RIAT 2011 Trophies Winners


HONOURS were evenly distributed at this year's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, with just one crew - the C-27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force - scooping two prizes.

The winners were announced 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 2011.

Sir John thanked all the air crews for creating 'two days of stunning flying displaying, not withstanding the very difficult weather conditions' and paid special tribute to the Patrulla Aguila from Spain who were unable to fly on either day: 'We hope they'll be back next year and that the weather will allow them to show off their talents,' he concluded.

Air Cde Nigel Wharmby of the Air Tattoo's Flying Control Committee commented on the professionalism shown by everyone, especially the Spanish display team, and made special mention of the Air Training Corps. 'The display with training aircraft and gliders was truly remarkable given that the wind and weather made conditions phenomenally difficult,' he said, adding: 'I salute you.'

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 Maj Murat Keles, flying the F-16C 'Solo Turk' from 141st Sqn, Turkish Air Force.

Maj Keles said: 'I am very happy. It is wonderful to receive this award in the first year of our display and in the same year as we celebrate 100 years of the Turkish Air Force.'

The sword was presented by Major General Malek Habashnah, Commander Royal Jordanian Air Force, on behalf of HRH Lt Gen Prince Faisal.

The Paul Bowen Trophy - presented in memory of The Royal International Air Tattoo co-founder Paul Bowen for the Best Solo Jet Demonstration - went to Capt Michael 'Mikael' Brocard flying the Rafale C from EC01.007, French Air Force. The trophy was presented by Tim Prince, Director of the Air Tattoo and Chief Executive of the RAFCTE.

Capt Brocard said: 'This is my first time at the Air Tattoo and my first display outside France this year, so to receive this award is fantastic. I hope I can return next year.'

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.

Alan Smith, Chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises, presented the trophy to the winning crew. Maj De Luca said: 'This is so unexpected and an immense pleasure. I'm so pleased for myself and the entire team - it's the greatest honour we can have.'

Seconds after receiving the Sir Douglas Bader Trophy, the same team were back on stage to be presented with the As the Crow Flies Trophy, voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo, and presented by Fred Crawley, Trustee of the RAF Charitable Trust.

Maj De Luca added: 'We weren't expecting to succeed so to get two exceptional gifts from the organisation is a great honour. It's very not expected!'

Gp Capt Geoff Brindle, whose Air Tattoo roles have included Lightning Display Pilot and Flying Display Director, presented The Lockheed Martin Cannestra Trophy - awarded by Lockheed Martin for the Best Flying Demonstration by an overseas participant - to Maj Roland 'Wally' Blankenspoor and Capt Paul 'Wokkel' Webbink, flying the Royal Netherlands Air Force AH-64D Apache.

Maj Blankenspoor commented: 'This is a real honour for the whole team, and I'm very proud of them all. This is not our regular job, performing as a display team, so I'm proud of the whole crew: it's a nice reward for the team.'

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 Mark Bowman flying the BAE Systems Typhoon FGR4.

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire presented the sword to BAE Systems Test Pilot Mark Bowman who said: 'This award is testament to the efforts of the company and all the groundcrew that made the display possible.'

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. They received the award from Gardiner Porter, Senior Manager, Military Global Sales for Jeppesen. Maj Heinle said: 'The award belongs to the designer of our scheme, Joey. Thank you very much on his behalf.'

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 £1.56 million to a wide range of projects and initiatives.