||Royal International Air Tattoo
- RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, July 20, 2013
Comment - I will have to admit straight away that, photographically,
this was one of the most disappointing airshows I have attended. We paid for
a seat in the viewing village grandstand to find it was set quite far back
from the crowd line, especially when compared to the FRIAT stand, which
meant even with a 300mm lens and 1.4 TC the fast jets were never going to
fill the frame. I personally also found the seating too restrictive in terms
of panning. Anyway - one lesson learned - donít shoot from there again!
In terms of the show itself, the organisers obviously struggled with the
lack of USAF assets on the ground due to the US sequestration budget fiasco.
For me, having not been inside a RIAT for many years the static was a real
shock and, if I look back to the mid 90s, it is not even a shadow of its
former self. I guess this is the harsh economic reality of today.
The flying display itself was ok. Yes, there was nothing from the US, but
this had been less and less a factor in the last couple of years, 2010 being
perhaps the most vintage year with the F-22A Raptor and B-52 being notable
highlights in the air. For me the big drawer was the Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum
and I was chuffed that the sun managed to make one of its brief appearances
at this point. Other highlights included the Red Arrows flypasts in
formation with a British Airways A380 and the fantastic display from the
menacing looking Airbus A400M. In terms of other fast jets we had two F-16s,
two Eurofighters, two Gripens and the Rafale. I just cannot get excited
about the Gripen, but the Eurofighters and Rafale made enough noise to keep
me happy! I missed the Danish F-16 as I was still hiking to the grandstand
and all I remember from the Belgian one is that it seemed very far away!
Perhaps the most disappointing display was from the Vulcan. With so much
money poured into this cause the flypasts were exceedingly underwhelming. I
am also waiting for the day when we get a topside pass - just one would be
Finally, the nicest part of the day was seeing Midair Squadrons Canberra PR9
XH134 G-OMHD parked up in the static display after making its first flight
after restoration a few days previously and I look forward to seeing this
machine in the skies next season!
airshow photographs from 2013