2017 Event Review

Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2017 – July 14-16, 2017 Aircraft profiles
Location: Royal Air Force, Fairford, UK
Admission: Varies with type
Parking: Free on-site, with shuttles to the flightline
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 10
Display by the Italians
Red Arrows

The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, UK, took place over three days (July 14-16), attracted a record crowd of 160,000 people who enjoyed thrilling flying demonstrations by some of the world's leading pilots.

RIAT is the world's largest air show that features military aircraft predominately with a few civilian acts thrown in a few times over the years. >

In total, 246 aircraft took part in the Air Tattoo from 32 air arms representing 26 nations. Highlights among the 115 aircraft in the static park included a US U-2 spy plane, a Boeing 737 Airborne Early Warning aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force and a Royal Canadian Air Force Boeing CH-147F Chinook Helicopter which had been airlifted over in the back of a giant Boeing CC-177 Globemaster airlifter. After a 15 year absence, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has returned to RIAT, with a Shimson C130J Hercules after an eight and a half hour flight before appearing on the static display. The weather was not the best at RIAT for 2017. On Friday it was cloudy with sunny periods until noon. On Saturday and Sunday it was covered by grey clouds. On Sunday, the clouds were partly below 1,000 ft. Some demonstrations had to be canceled in the morning but the the program could still be continued to the delight of many viewers. Departure day Monday had the best weather!

Static display at RIAT 2017 Aerial photo courtesy of RIAT.

For 2017 the USAF Thunderbirds were the special guests they are rarely seen in Europe and it was a chance for many to see them for the first time. Their routine was quite disappointing for many. The Thunderbirds team was joined on the Friday by nine Red Arrows' Hawks for a colourful joint flypast to launch the air show. Other US made assets in the air included some historic warbirds such as the vintage B-17 and P-51D Mustang, a state-of-the-art F-22 Raptor and a dramatic flypast by a number of UK and European based USAF aircraft.

On the Sunday, visitors were treated to a surprise flypast by a stealth B-2 Spirit bomber that was taking part in an epic 23-hour transatlantic "Global Power" training flight from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. The aircraft was escorted by two F-15 fighters.

Other flying display highlights included the French Air Force's Couteau Delta team (in many ways the new Ramex Delta) flying two Mirage 2000D fighter aircraft; the Midnight Hawks, Finland's aerobatic display team who last performed at the Air Tattoo back in 2004, an RAF Typhoon demo flown by Flt Lt Ryan Lawton and a Russian-built Sukhoi Su-27 'Flanker' from the Ukrainian Air Force, which offered enthusiasts a rare opportunity to view this aircraft in British skies.

The show also bought together the five new aircraft types which will eventually go on to form the Royal Air Force's new training aircraft fleet including the Grob G120TP Prefect, the Embraer 100 Phenom and the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II to be provided by Affinity Flying Training Services, as well as the Airbus H135 Juno and H145 Jupiter helicopters being provided by Airbus Helicopter. It was the first time all five aircraft have appeared together in public.

would like to thank all of RIAT`s organization team: “job very well done, guys”!

Flying Display Program included


Saab JASW 39C Gripen,211.TL/21.zTL, Czech Air Force, Caslav

The Midnight Hawks 4 x BAe Hawk MK51/51As

Tornado A-200A, Reparto Sperimentale Volo, Italian Air Force, Pratica de Mare

F-16A MLU, 10 Wing., Belgian Air Force, Kleine Brogel

Westland Sea King MK48, 40Sqn, Belgian Air Force, Koksijde

Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4, 29 Sqn. Royal Air Force, UK, Coningsby

JAS 39C Gripen, F7, Swedish Air Force,

Satenas Royal Jordanian Falcons, 4x Extra EA300Ls, Jordan, Aqaba

Boeing Chinook HC4, 18 Sqn, Royal Air Force, UK,

Odiham 2 x Aero L-159 ALCAs 212.TL/21.zTL, Czech Air Force, Caslav

Bell Boeing CV-22B Osprey, 7th SOSqn, US Air Force, RAF Mildenhall

Saab J 105OE, Düsentrainerstaffel, Liz-Hörsching, Austria Air Force

Pilatus PC-9M Letalska Sola, Slovenian Air Force, Cerklje ob Krki

Avro LancasterI, 4 x Spitfire, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, RAF Coningsby

Airbus A400M, Airbus Defence and Space Spain, Seville Airport

Boeing B-17G, Flying Fortress, Duxford, Langley AFB P-71D Mustang, Hangar 11 Collection, North Weald

US Airforce 70th Anniversary Fly Past: KC-135R, C-130J-30, F-15C, F-15E, F-16C,

US Airforce Heritage Flight: P-51B Mustang, Comanche Fighters, Houston and F-22A Raptor, 1st Fighter Wing, US Air Force

The Thunderbirds, 6 x F-16C, US Air Force Air Demonstration Sqn, Nellis AFB

Leonardo T-346A Master, Reparto Sperimentale Volo, Italian Air Force, Pratica de Mare

F-16C "Solotürk", 3 AJÜ/132 Filo, Turkish Air Force, Konya

EF-18M, Ala 15, Spanish Air Force, Zaragoza

Patrouille Suisse, 6x F-5E Tiger IIs, Swiss Air Force, Emmen

Leonardo C-27J Spartan, Reparto Sperimentale Volo, Italian Air Force, Pratica de Mare

Augusta Westland Apache AH1, 4 Regiment, Army Air Corps, UK, Wattisham

Dassault Rafale C, ETR 3/4, French Air Force, St.Dizier

Couteau Delta, 2 x Mirage 2000D, EC 2/3 and 3/3, French Air Force, Nancy-Ochey

Sukhoi Su-27 P, 831 GTAB Guards Tactical Aviation Brigade, Ukraine Air Force

Red Arrows, 9x Hawk T1/T1As, Royal Air Force, UK, Scampton

Photography by Peter Thivessen for

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Saab Gripen taking off at RIAT
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