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2012 Air Shows
RIAT -- Royal International Air Tattoo July 7-8, 2012
Location: RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, UK.
Admission: Must be purchased ahead on line, with a several options or upgrades available.
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent if the weather cooperates!!
For 2012 the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, offered a star-studded line-up of 268 aircraft from 25 nations including five national aerobatic teams: The Red Arrows from the UK, Al Fursan (the Knights) from the United Arab Emirates, Black Eagles from South Korea, Royal Jordanian Falcons, and the Patrouille Suisse from Switzerland.
Despite the adverse weather that ranged from torrential rain, heavy showers to a few dry moments with the sun trying to break through, over 130,000 braved the elements to enjoy the show.
RIAT, traditionally is one of largest military air shows in the world that the public can attend. Usually drawing 200,000 or more, but this year the weather was dreadful and the organizers limited the crowds due to safety concerns to 130,000 or so by closing off the gates earlier. RIAT draws aviation enthusiasts all over from the world, and those who attend: who are willing to pay the high fees for the entrance fees, or for the upgraded seats it is worthwhile, as the action is non-stop, rain or shine. Although the bad weather did prevent some of the displays from being performed, but the ones which did performed were exceptional.
Some of the highlights included the first time appearence of the B-2 stealth bomber "Spirit of New York" from the USAF. The Korean Black Eagles Team’s performance deemed to be the best of the air show, and one of the best ever seen in the UK air shows. The ‘EIIR” formation consisting of 27 RAF Hawks, was repeat that passed over Windsor Castle to mark the Diamond Jubilee, even in the inclement weather conditions. i For noise, afterburner glow and smoke, the Polish MiG-29 did not disappoint. There was a traditional Battle of Britain Flight of WWII warbirds, and the return of the Avro Vulcan which required replacement of both port Rolls-Royce Olympus engines, after a May 28 mishap caused by the failure to remove silica gel desiccant bags prior to star-up, that destroyed two engines.
Beside flying displays, there were other entertainment to dazzle the visitors the most interesting being the Japanese Taiko drummers from the Iruma Air Base in Japan. The troupe arrived on board a Boeing KC-767J from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), the first operational aircraft from Japan to appear at a flying display outside Asia.
Over all it is truly an international event, it is quite expensive to attend but as the saying goes “You get what you paid for”. If and when the weather cooperates it is an excellent event, much better than the over hyped Oshkosh in the USA. Otherwise it is more suitable for the hardcore enthusiasts who are prepared with weather proof clothing for the inclement and fast changing weather.

Performers included:

  • The Red Arrows
  • Al Fursan (the Knights) from the United Arab Emirates
  • Black Eagles from South Korea
  • Royal Jordanian Falcons
  • Patrouille Suisse
  • The Breitling Jet Team
  • B-2A Spirit of New York
  • Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey
  • Avro Lancaster
  • Avro Vulcan
  • so many more...

Rating: 9 out of 10

MiG-29 from Poland
Report by the ASR Team with photography as noted for AIRSHOWSREVIEW LLC
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