THE SHOW with something for everyone: that was the verdict after crowds at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds enjoyed a feast of flying and static displays, plus a range of new and exciting entertainment on the ground.

 

 

Following a hot build-up to the show, around 130,000 visitors enjoyed cooler conditions, and were rewarded with breath-taking aerobatic displays from a variety of aircraft, including fast jets, aerial refuellers, transport aircraft, helicopters plus classic warbirds. An L39 Albatros from the Estonian Air Force made its nation's Air Tattoo debut in the flying display, while an NH90 helicopter recorded the first appearance by aircraft from Finnish Army Aviation.

And there were two classic Air Tattoo set-pieces portraying the 'Best of British' when the RAF Red Arrows flew with the British Airways Airbus A380 on Saturday, and the Airbus Military A400M Atlas on Sunday.

Around 230 aircraft from 19 countries were on display at the event, whilst 30 overseas Air Chiefs and 49 senior UK military representatives attended.

Celebrity guests included Carol Vorderman, Countryfile presenter Adam Henson and Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden. Dignitaries included HRH The Duke of Kent, HRH Prince Feisal of Jordan and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. The new Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, was also present, along with Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence, and Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology.

Organisers were delighted to report that the mini-heatwave brought out the crowds, with the show sold-out on Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: "We have been blessed with excellent weather, and this Air Tattoo has been buzzing with happy people. Our aircraft participants from home and abroad have shared with us the magic and excellence of aviation; and together with our own Royal Air Force, the Air Tattoo team and its numerous supporters have been proud to stage RIAT 2013, in its 42nd year, in support of the RAF Charitable Trust."

Show Producer Nigel Samuels said: "The new initiatives to upgrade the overall show experience have been a huge success, with the introduction of three Service Stations and new themed areas. The Vintage Village and the Adrenalin and Techno Zones have exceeded our wildest expectations and customers appear delighted with our Air Tattoo CREW volunteers."

The Air Tattoo medical teams reported a very quiet time, with Chief Medical Officer Sqn Ldr Darren Ellison reporting that some 180 visitors were treated for minor injuries over the weekend. He said: "We were prepared for heat-related conditions but our contingency plans weren't needed and those who did require treatment had only minor problems – five people were transferred to hospital but the rest were treated at the Air Tattoo Medical Centre and then discharged home."

Senior Fire Officer Barry Scott said his team was exceptionally quiet, both during the preparation stage and throughout the airshow. He said: "Our concern was the tinder-dry state of the grass, but fortunately we've had no problems."

And Traffic Manager Malcolm Bowdler said: "The country roads around Fairford inevitably lead to some delays, but this year the early opening of the car parks at 6am each day helped free up approach routes, Saturday's exit phase went well and we're not anticipating any problems today (Sunday)."

From the pilots' perspective, Capt Bill Ramsey, who flew the Avro Vulcan XH558 on Saturday, said: "Displaying at the Air Tattoo still ticks all the boxes for a display pilot. The show is so big and I really enjoyed it. The feedback we got afterwards was fantastic."

First-time Air Tattoo visitor Chris Welsh, 56, from Cam, Gloucestershire, said: "It's been a fantastic day out. The focus is on aircraft but it's clear that a lot of effort has gone into making the airshow a great day out for all ages. I'll definitely come again and I'll recommend it to others."

Her son Alex Mair, 32, from Hackney in London, said: "It's been wonderful – when I walked through the gates it was like being a 15-year-old again, with my bedroom covered in aircraft posters. The displays were great – I didn't realise you could do doughnuts in a plane – and I hope to be back."

Delphine Ryan, 37, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, said: "It's my first time here and I think there's an incredible atmosphere: I'm really interested in the military aircraft and fighter jets."

 

 

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