This year’s RIAT

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Let’s me start with the bad news and frustrations. This is the show aviation enthusiasts love to hate. That is off course the result of the hollow pompous humbug which surrounds the show nowadays. This all in the name of charity which slowly is more of a curse if anything else. However it is clear that the ever rising entrance fees and steadily lousier program won’t sell the tickets anymore as it was one of the quieter if not the quietest show for years both in terms of aircraft and public. The basic idea was fine! Let us make a nice military air show for aviation enthusiasts every two years. Nowadays the reality is somewhat different. The RIAT is an annual event which has to make money and is a showcase for the UK Aviation market, full of sponsor chalets, fenced off areas accessible only after paying the next hefty sum and historic aircraft societies showing of their aircraft and begging for your money. Which I would happily give them if I was not plundered at the entrance. And rumour has it that they will go for a three day show next year. It is clear that the organising team is somewhat out of touch with their original customer base if not reality. Could someone explain them the “less is more” and “back to basics” principles? Also the distance between show and public grows annually. Many demonstrating aircraft have a touch and go in the demo. However some protocol fetishist had decided that the run way was out of bounds during the demo. Sure safety first but please bear in mind that the audience comes to see aircraft and not the next black dot in the sky! This year also proved the importance of the Americans which were absent due to the sequester issues leaving quite a skeleton static and very few big birds.

Now that is out of my system the happy side of things:

The RIAT is a huge air show which always has a few exotic, seldom seen anywhere else aircraft in the static. There are always unique flying formations. Also the show is very good in commemorating aviation events from a very English point of view. As an example I am not sure how the Germans felt about the on-going remembering of the famous Dambuster Raid this year. The show gives some nice opportunities for photography. Specially the departing day after the show gives ample opportunity to catch a few nice shots

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Pieter Stroobach

I reside in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

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