Royal International Air Tattoo

RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire

13 - 16 July 2007



RIAT 2007 took place during the weekend of 14 and 15 July 2007, during a summer marred by rainy weather, even unusually so for Britain. In fact, Fairford village was sadly flooded by the rain and swollen rivers only a fortnight after the show. Nevertheless, the Tattoo did get its share of rain on Friday 13 July as well as during Sunday 15 July. The Saturday and Monday 16 July, departure day, were fine for the most part though. This enabled many enthousiasts to watch and photograph the proceedings during sunny periods.


RIAT 2007 did not have firsts like the MV-22 Osprey and the MiG.29OVT. These were in the UK during the 2006 event courtesy of the Farnborough Air Show, as was the F/A-18F Super Hornet that year. There were however some fine static exhibits, more on them later during this three page feature. 

The RAF's fast jet demos were down to just the Typhoon F.2 seen above, which could be compared with its Spanish colleague to the left. Both displayed the type's agility and power.

A novelty was the French Alpha Jet. Usually the French show their Mirage 2000, this year they had chosen to display their long serving advanced trainer. It gave a good account of itself and compared well with the RAF's Hawk. Other fast jets were the Dutch and Belgian F-16 demos.

Two Hornets could be seen in the air. This might have been three, had the Canadian one not cancelled some weeks prior to the show. Apart from the Swiss F/A-18C, this Finnish F-18C from HavLv 11 from Rovaniemi flew as the first item during the Saturday. One rarely get to see a Finnish Hornet demo, so this was rather welcome indeed.

The USAF was present with the East Coast F-15E demo team, again using a jet borrowed from the 48 FW at RAF Lakenheath. The Strike Eagle flew part of its routine together with a new arrival in the UK, P-51 Mustang "Miss Velma" flown by Ed Shipley. Sunday's extremely moist conditions gave rise to many vapoured passes as evidenced by the F-15E.

In 2008 it is farewell to the F-117A Nighthawk. The first practical Low Observability attack aircraft, the F-117 will be sent to the Boneyard by the end of that year, making RIAT 2007 the last opportunity to view this type. Another item in a remarkably long list of USAF types being flown at this Tattoo, which also included a B-1B and a B-52H.

This B-52H for instance, from Minot AFB, North Dakota's 5 BW is seen here taking off during the Sunday, the clouds forming a backdrop to the smoky TF33 engines powering the 40 plus year old bomber.

Like the B-1B it only made a couple of good passes along the runway. A special star of RIAT 2007 would have been the Indian Su.30MKI, of which more here. However, the pass along the runway by the Flanker was limited to some flying along half the length of the runway. Not much good for photography. Nevertheless, two other Flankers as well as the Il.78 Midas tanker were present in the static display.

The RAF's Chinook got two chances to show itself. First during a solo demo, later in the afternoon followed by an Air Power demonstration. In this set piece, an airfield was to be taken by British forces, with Tornado GR.4's attacking the defenders, Tornado F.3's and a Sentry AEW.1 providing top cover. The Chinook HC.2 of course inserted the troops.

The Army Air Corps displayed their Blue Eagles team from Middle Wallop. The Blue Eagles have been the Army's demonstration team for many years now and fly a Lynx AH.7 alongside a quartet of Gazelle AH.1's.

Amazing, what can be done with the Lynx.

This can also be said about the Royal Navy's Lynx HMA.8. The Black Cats from RNAS Yeovilton flew two Lynxes at Fairford, one resplendent in this "Lynx" colour scheme. Other Royal Navy aircraft at Fairford included the Jetstream T.2 pair and some FRADU Hawks flying with a opair of FR Aviation Falcon 20's.

A newcomer on the scene this year was the Nimrod MRA.4. A bit of a troubled project, aimed at providing the RAF a strongly modernised version of the trusty Nimrod MR.2 ocean patroller. Note the enlarged air intakes for the new Rolls Royce BR710 engines replacing the old Speys.

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All pictures (c) Hans Rolink