It was a blissfully hot day in RAF Fairford on Saturday, 14th July, 2018 for the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2018. The event began on Friday, 13th July with the Royal Review, at which the new Queen’s Colour was paraded for the first time at a public event. As well as precision aerobatics from the Red Arrows and the Italian Frecce Tricolori there were demonstrations from ultra-modern fighters such as the USAF F-35A.
The F-35A of the USAF wasn’t the only Lightning in the sky as Friday was punctuated by showers. This did nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowds who returned on Saturday to see yet more displays including one of the Royal Air Forces Lightnings. A new display paying homage to 617 squadron, the Dambusters, was showcased at RIAT. They flew in formation with the Lightning, Lancaster and Tornado.
Our team of photographers were on the tarmac on the ground, with the aircraft in the air, and utilising every vantage point to capture the best images of these magnificent displays.
With Saturday being the 14th of July, Bastille day, it is fitting that some of the highlights were provided by the Rafale Solo Display team, and the dual Mirage 2000D team from the French Air Force.
In the centenary year of the RAF, many of the aircraft out on special displays or sported special colour schemes. The Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail sported a scheme in commemoration of the long relationship between the world’s two oldest independent air forces.
In celebration of RAF100, the Swiss Air Force displayed their F/A-18 Hornet and PC-7 Display Team together in a remarkable formation.
Two Vampires from the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron were painted as RAF aircraft, to commemorate the first jet air display teams, and the first jet crossing of the Atlantic which was completed by RAF Vampires in 1948. Bringing the display up to the present was the RAF Typhoon Display team, from 29 Squadron.
Soon after the Typhoon finished and disappeared into the clouds, the RAF Red Arrows took to the runway in formation and took off. Red 10 Squadron Leader Adam Collins commentated the display and we saw all the 2018 display sequences including finishing off with the momentous 100 they write in the sky with their dye in dedication of RAF100.
The skies hummed and blasted with jet engines and old biplanes. More than 300 aircraft from over 30 countries have taken part in the static and flying displays this weekend.
A stealthy surprise occurred on Saturday, with a flyby from a USAF B2 Bomber all the way from Whiteman AFB Missouri.