2016 Event Review

Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2016: July 8-10, RAF Fairford
Location: Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Base Fairford
Admission: varies with type
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 10
Red Flag emblem
VMFAT-501 F-35B over Royal International Air Tattoo

History was made both in the air and on the ground at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. The airs how, which took place over three days (July 8-10), attracted a sell-out crowd of 153,000 people who enjoyed demonstrations by some of the world's leading pilots. Friday's flying programme featured the first ever international display by Lockheed Martin's F-35B Lightning II, the world's most advanced fighter jet and on the same day, the air show hosted a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who attended with Prince George on his first ever public engagement. Other Royals attending the airs how were HRH Prince Michael of Kent and HRH Prince Feisal of Jordan.

More than 230 aircraft, from 24 countries participated in the Air Tattoo which took place in warm, largely sunny weather. Among the many highlights were displays by the F-22 'Raptor', a Polish MiG-29, an RAF Typhoon and Chinook, a French Rafale and the Belgian Air Force's F-16.

Flypasts included a unique formation of the Red Arrows, an F-35B and two RAF Typhoons giving a glimpse of the future of the UK's defence capability. There were also some notable firsts and lasts, with the Croatian Air Force displaying for the first time in the UK with their display team Wings of Storm and the last ever display by the French Air Force 'Ramex Delta' Mirage 2000D duo. Croatia became the 56th nation to take part in the Air Tattoo since it was first staged in 1971.

There were 36 international military chiefs in attendance including Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chief of the Defence Staff; Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the RAF Chief of the Air Staff (Designate); and new Chief of the US Air Force, General David Goldfein. Senior industry guests included the Chairman of BAE Systems, Sir Roger Carr; Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson and Airbus CEO Mr Allan McArtor. The UK's Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt and the Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne were also attended.
As usual the Royal International Air Tattoo 2016 at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire ended with the crowning of the airs how’s ‘Top Guns’ at the traditional Sunday night hangar party.

The ceremony was introduced by Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson, chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. HRHPrince Feisal of Jordan presented the first of the evening’s trophies, the King Hussein Memorial Sword, in memory of the late HM King Hussein, patron of the International Air Tattoo from 1983-89. Awarded for the best overall flying demonstration, it was presented to the Croatian Air Force aerobatic team, the Krila Oluje (Wings of Storm). This was the first appearance of the Krila Oluje, flying six Pilatus PC-9M turboprop trainers, and of the Croatian Air Force at a British display. The award was bestowed for, in the words of the citation, “Precision aerobatics in challenging conditions incorporating novel manoeuvres”. Team leader Lt Col Damir Barišić said: “We are very happy to be among all these friends, all these people who share the same passion for ‘old-school’ flying in these days when everything is becoming unmanned and automatic. Of course it’s a big honour to receive such an award, especially on the first occasion we’ve been here.”

The Paul Bowen Trophy, presented in memory of the Royal International Air Tattoo co-founder Paul Bowen for the best jet demonstration, went to Capitaine Jean-Guillaume Martinez for his French Air Force Rafale C display. The best individual flying display was adjudged to be that given by Capt Peter Fallén of the Swedish Air Force in the JAS 39C Gripen.

The recipient of the RAFCTE Trophy, presented for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant, was the French Air Force Ramex Delta team comprising two Mirage 2000N nuclear strike aircraft. The citation said that they put on “a superbly co-ordinated and choreographed pairs tactical demonstration”. This was an emotional occasion for Ramex Delta, as RIAT was their final ever display — the team is being disbanded. One of the pilots, ‘Pierrot’, said afterwards: “We are very proud, because it was very special to attend this year’s RIAT. This was our last airshow ever, and it was a great deal of pleasure for us to fly today. For us — the pilots, the team, the squadron — it’s a special honour because this year is the 100th anniversary of our squadron, the ‘La Fayette’ squadron. It’s a good ending to the incredible experience that was Ramex Delta.”

The night was a double success for Ramex Delta, as the Mirage 2000N they displayed in, which featured a special colour scheme to mark the 'La Fayette' squadron centenary, won the award for best livery as voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo (FRIAT).

The swansong of Delta Ramex at RIAT 2016
The As The Crow Flies trophy for the best overall flying demonstration as judged by members of FRIAT was presented to Major Dan ‘Rock’ Dickinson from the US Air Force Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team. 2016 was the first time for six years that the F-22A had displayed at the Air Tattoo.
A special presentation by Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong, his own RIAT CEO Award for an outstanding contribution to the show, went to all involved in the debut Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II deployment to Britain. This star attraction at RIAT 2016 involved F-35A models from the US Air Force and F-35Bs from the US Marine Corps and the United Kingdom, and was the subject of a great deal of planning by a host of individuals and organisations on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Chief Executive Award goes to the F-35

During our visit we had the pleasure to met Flight Lieutenant John "Johnnie" Trotman, DFC, who wrote his autobiography "J" for Johnnie, in which he recalls his airborne exploits as a pilot with RAF Bomber Command during World War II. In the course of 5½ years, he clocked up over 2,000 flying hours, completed two operational tours, flew 70 missions over the third Reich, including the last two raids of the war carried out by Bomber Command in Europe before peace once more settled upon the land. He walked away from three crashes - an extraordinary record. His recollections of these missions, plus many other details of his activities at the time, combine to paint a vivid picture of the life of a wartime bomber pilot. His first tour was with 150 Squadron, based at RAF Snaith in Yorkshire, flying a Vickers Wellington III (call-sign 'J' for Johnnie) to attack many German cities, including Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Ludwigshafen. After a spell as a flying instructor at RAF Tilstock and RAF Peplow he volunteered for a second operational tour and was soon flying a de Havilland Mosquito VI with 692 Squadron, based at RAF Graveley in Cambridgeshire and part of the Pathfinder Force. John's recollections contain elements to entertain a wide variety of readers: the technically-minded will enjoy his descriptions of the classic warplanes he flew, but there are also plenty of personal revelations and humorous stories to involve and entertain readers of all ages and persuasions.

.John Trotman was born 9th September 1921, and he is still flying, he is England’s oldest Pilot. We wish him all the best for the upcoming years and many flying hours in the skies of  Great Britain.

would like to thank the "Saab Group" and "Leonardo" for the invitation in their chalets on the weekend during RIAT 2016 and all the personnel involved hosting the BEST and largest air show in the world especially Richard Arquati BD PGCE MCIPR, Head of Press and PR.
Some of the Displays on Saturday and Sunday included:

Red Arrows 9 x Hawk T1/T1As, RAF
F-22 Demo Team, USAF

F-35 Demo Team, USAF

Ramex Delta Mirage 2000N

Rafale C Solo Display Team French Air Force
Royal Jordanian Falcons Extra EA300L, Royal Jordanian Air Force

Krila Oluje PC-9M, Croatian Air Force

Team Orlik PZL-130TC-2 Orlik

Frecce Tricolori AT-339A Italian Air Force

Patrouille Suisse F-5E Tiger II Swiss Air Force

F-16A MLU, Belgian Air Force,
MiG-29A Polish Air Force

F-16C Polish Air Force

JAS 39C Gripen Swedish Air Force
Airbus A400M, EADS France, Toulouse

CV-22B Osprey USAF

F/A-18 Super Hornet, USN

Eurofighter EF2000 Spanish Air Force

AH-64D Apache Royal Netherlands Air Force

Bolkow Bo15P German Army Aviation

Black Cats Wildcat HMA.2 Royal Navy

Typhoon FGR.4 RAF

P-51 Mustang Flight with the F-35

and on and on.....


Static displays included:

CP-140 Aurora RCAF
KC-767J Japan Air Self Defense Force
Boeing 757-22QC Royal New Zealand Air Force
Falcon DA20 ECM Royal Norwegian Air Force
C-295M Royal Air Force of Oman
C-130E Hercules Pakistan Air Force
AN-28B1R Bryza, Polish Navy
MC-130J Commando II, USAF SOC
CV-22B Osprey USAF SOC
F-15E Strike Eagle USAFE
F-15C Eagle USAFE
P-8 Poseidon USN
Eurofighter EF2000 Spanish Air Force
Dornier Do228 Netherlands Coastguard

Eurofighter EF2000/T German Air Force

Tornado PA200 IDS/ECR German Air Force

P-3C Orion German Navy

F-4E Phantom Hellenic Air Force

CN235-100MPA Irish Air Corps

and so many more...

Report and photography by Team

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