Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford – RAF Centenary
In 2018, it can be said that one of the most highly anticipated airshows was the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford which was celebrating the Royal Air Force’s centenary. The airshow marked the 100th year anniversary of the Royal Air Force, the world’s oldest independent air arm. Over the years the Air Tattoo has become renowned for displaying memorable performances to celebrate important historical aviation anniversaries, but few were as significant as the one staged during early July in Fairford.
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Naturally the week long celebration at RAF Fairford was heavily represented by RAF assets, but in addition to the RAF many other nations added to the variety of aircraft displayed, some with special markings and schemes celebrating the RAF 100.
The RAF were not shy in showing off their latest F-35B of the newly reformed Dambusters squadron of RAF Marham. The F-35B flew many heritage displays with the Lancaster and Tornado GR4. Other special RAF 100 flypast treats were the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight including Lancaster, Dakota, Hurricane and Spitfire, as well as one of the crowd favorites, the impressive sight of 9 British Typhoon FGR4’s in formation, performing a flypast over the field.
There was so much variety at this years RAF 100 Air Tattoo the show organizers added an extra arrival day on Tuesday July 10th to accommodate the aircraft attending this years show. Knowing that the 2018 show was going to be a very special one that will probably not be matched, I purchased a Mach 3 pass for the event. The pass allows you access to RAF Fairford for the aircraft arrivals early in the week as well as shows days Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and of course the all important departure day on Monday July 16th. The show weather which is always a concern when attending airshows in the UK was quite good with very little precipitation. The one major disappointment at the show was the unfortunate weather cancellation of the 22 Typhoon FGR4’s RAF100 formation flyby on Friday July 13th, but given that one bit of bad luck and the fact that I was on base from Tuesday through the following Monday, there was very little else to complain to the weather gods.
As far as the actual show, static and flying display, it did not disappoint. Their was non-stop action on the flightline, and even though the number of statics seems to be diminishing at the Air Tattoo, it was still impressive. This is certainly one of the best airshows you can attend these days, anywhere.