The one thing I love about going to RIAT almost as much as the actual show itself is the journey there. Yes it can be long and tedious, and no doubt you will be sat in the car in the traffic for ages, but the anticipation and excitement is part of the thrill.
The atmosphere at the show is incredible. There are always lots of people milling around, some military, some cadets, people from all over the world and some from the next village along. All wanting to see the delights of the aircraft and exhibitions.
The whole show covers a period of three days, each of which it is jam packed full of as many displays as physically possible – there was barely a moment without either an aeroplane or helicopter in the sky performing.
The focus for part of the day being the celebration of the 50th season of the RAF Red Arrows performing at the Royal International Air Tattoo show, there was a jaw dropping display with 9 aircraft performing a series of adrenaline pumping and fear inducing manoeuvres that left my heart in my mouth on more than one occasion! This was followed by a signing from the RAF squadron in their very own section of the air show.
The exhibits were brilliant for all ages, from flight simulators to fun fair rides, to a delightful vintage tea room serving tea and scones and even offering a vintage style makeover! For the more adventurous there were various displays such as the BMX bikers who jumped their bikes over vans and performed loop the loops and spins, encouraging a lot of the younger watchers to scream with excitement and the older audience to hold their breath!
Food outlets were everywhere offering (slightly overpriced) fast food and sandwiches – good enough to refuel oneself – and a licensed bar for those in need of something more fortifying.
Accessibility during the event is good – the car parks are fields just outside the RAF Fairford grounds so a short walk to the entrance and there is a free shuttle bus service offering transport around the site. There are regular stop points with information centres offering free Wi-Fi, phone charging points and extremely helpful staff, toilets and cash points.
The selection of aircraft there was fabulous – from the Chinook helicopter whose pilots performed amazingly – including flying backwards and upside down; to the stunning Typhoon fighter jet with it’s incredible speed and agility, to the beautiful, historical Lancaster Bomber and the smaller Hurricanes.
The Royal International Air Tattoo show is popular every year for a reason. People travel from all over the world just to come to Fairford.
Take a picnic and chairs to sit on, a brolly and sun-cream (we had all weathers in one day!) and definitely the money for a programme. Priced at £12 per book, it’s one of the more expensive programmes I have paid for, but the artwork and the information included not only helps you enjoy the day further and understand and learn about the air craft but also means you can look back afterwards and have some fantastic memories.
The Royal International Airshow is worth every penny for the experience and the enjoyment of the day. I can highly recommend it and so could every visitor at the show I spoke to as well the staff working there and the pilots of the aircraft as well.
I cannot wait until next year!