RIAT Air Show

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.

Sitting in the traffic queue

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.

Stuck in the mud

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.

Swiss F-5E Tiger II Team

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.

C-130H with T-56 Engines

In the cargo door of the C-130

Piloting the C-130

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.

RAF Chinook

Chinook going vertical

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.

UAE MB-339A Italian trainer aircraft taking off

UAE squad in formation.  The gold and black paint is for sand and oil

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.

Red Arrows

Doing a loop

RAs Coming back around

RAs in formation

Nice colors

The breakoff

Cool smoke panorama

I compiled the video we took into a short video.  Enjoy.

Red Arrow Near Miss

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.

RAF Tucanos

Tucano about to stall

Tucano’s breaking apart

After all that excitement, we had a rain delay.  A storm rolled in and we hunkered down and tried to stay dry.

Eric is completely waterproof

Me and Chelsea are not completely waterproof

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.


Looks like it’s about to shoot us!

A solo dutch F16 put on a pretty good show.  It was painted bright orange.

Dutch F-16

F-16 landing near us

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.

A400M with Europrob TP400 engines (part Rolls-Royce)

Don’t remember this one. Anyone know the name?

C-130 ? Can’t remember this one either



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.

DHL 767. Look closely and you can see the RR logo on the engine

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.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

A V-22 Osprey performed also.  It was cool to see close up because the 1107 engines are made in Indianapolis.

V-22 Osprey

V-22 doing a touch and go

We did some more walking around before we called it a day.  There were a lot of static aircraft worth checking out.

HUGE US military transport

TONS of F-16s

B-52 Bomber. My Uncle David used to fly these beasts

Harrier with Rolls-Royce Pegasus Engine


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.

Explosions + Planes = Awesome

Eurofighter dodging fireworks

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!


5 thoughts on “RIAT Air Show

  1. Pingback: A Royal British Weekend at the Ascot and Windsor Castle | Schetzels in the UK

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