This past Saturday, we went to the Royal International Air Tatoo (RIAT), near Swindon. According to the RIAT website, it is the world’s largest military air show. The group consisted or me, Tara, Eric, and Chelsea. Thanks Eric for driving.
It was about a 2 hour drive to get within 3 miles of the parking lot, followed by another 2 hours of sitting in traffic. In hindsight, we should have left earlier. But we already left at 7:00 am so I’m not sure how much earlier I could have gotten Tara out of bed.
It had been raining for 2 straight days before the show and it called for rain all day on Saturday, but we went ahead and took our chances. Once we finally got into the parking lot, we were directed straight to the grass/mud. We didn’t get stuck, but 2 cars right around us did.
Because of all the sitting in traffic, we arrived about an hour late. However we didn’t really miss anything because we could see the show from the traffic jam. Here is a picture of the Swiss F-5E’s we saw as we were parking the car and walking inside.
We made our way inside the air field and found a spot to setup. There were TONS of static aircraft on display. We saw a B2-Spirit which I thought was really cool. This plane always reminds of John Travolta in Broken Arrow. We saw a bunch of C-130s, which is really cool because the engines are designed and made at Rolls-Royce Indianapolis.
The cockpit of the C-130 was so old-school. There were barely any electronics. We asked the pilot if there were any computers on board and he said no, other than a tiny GPS device that looked like something you’d use in your car.
Also before we even sat down, we caught a Chinook doing some crazy moves. I didn’t think a helicopter would be that cool to see at an air-show, but I was wrong. The Chinook would go completely vertical and then fall straight down before pulling itself out of a dive. It was amazing to watch.
After the amazing Chinook display, we finally found a grassy spot to setup camp just in time to see the newly formed United Arab Emirates (UAE) squadron. They were flying MB-339A’s, which have Rolls-Royce Viper engines in them, which are made in Bristol.
Next up was the Red Arrows, which are officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team. They are like the Blue Angels of the UK. The put on a really great show. We had a ton of pictures and video from these guys. They performed for a long time and it was very entertaining. The Red Arrows fly BAE Hawk T1s, which have Rolls-Royce Adour engines.
I compiled the video we took into a short video. Enjoy.
Next up were a team of RAF Tucanos. These prop trainer aircraft don’t look that cool but they were one of my favorite shows. They would fly completely vertical until they stalled out. Then they’d flip around and plumet toward the ground until their engines kicked back on and they would pull out of the dive.
After all that excitement, we had a rain delay. A storm rolled in and we hunkered down and tried to stay dry.
After the cold rain, the show continued. From here on out, it was all a blur. I don’t remember the order so I’ll just drop the photos in no particular order.
The Apache display was really good. It was incredibly agile and quick.
A solo dutch F16 put on a pretty good show. It was painted bright orange.
There was a rapid succession of cargo/civilian plane flyovers. It was pretty cool because they happened one right after another. The pictures aren’t that great because of the cloudiness.
A DHL 767 did a display. It was kinda cool to see it do some moves other than just takeoff and landing that you would normally see a 767 do, but it didn’t do anything too crazy. The 767 did have Rolls-Royce RB-211 engines.
There were some really old planes that performed too. A group that simulated the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight can be seen below. It is comprised of a Lancaster (big plane), Spitfire, and Hurricane. There are only 2 Lancasters still flying today. All 3 planes use the same engine, and guess what kind. Rolls-Royce Merlin engines. They are a V-12 piston engine that were made right in good old Derby.
A V-22 Osprey performed also. It was cool to see close up because the 1107 engines are made in Indianapolis.
We did some more walking around before we called it a day. There were a lot of static aircraft worth checking out.
On the way out there was a really cool Eurofighter display. Eurofighter’s have EJ200 engines, which is part Rolls-Royce. The display involved a lot of fireworks and explosions. The Eurofighter would fly near all of the pyrotechnics.
The Eurofighter/Fireworks display was the last thing we stuck around for. We left 20 minutes early to avoid the traffic. All in all, the RIAT did not disappoint. Great air show!