Ave! to the Osprey, the USAF's tilt-rotor aircraft. Is it a plane? Is it a helicopter? I didn't believe it was real until I saw it rotate its engine nacelles before my very eyes, and frankly I'm still having doubts.
Vale! to the Canberra, retiring after 55 years of RAF service (first as a bomber, then in photo-reconnaissance). The commentator pointed out that if the Sopwith Camel had served as long, we would have had them until 1972.
The various national display teams were polished as ever, though I always think the Reds are the tops - and thought of everything first. Painting your nation's flag across the sky with coloured smoke? Red Arrows! Drawing a big heart and piercing it with an arrow while the tannoy announces a crowd member's proposal to their partner? Red Arrows! Flying in formation around a special aircraft (B2, Concorde)? Red Arrows!
Patrouille Suisse fought back this year, however, with a formation representing Roger Federer's tennis racket and another in the shape of a milking stool. I enjoyed seeing the Spanish Typhoon displaying with Patrulla Aguila, too.
For the past few years I've had a particular interest in Swedish aircraft (and airmen) thanks to my participation in phoenicia's furs-in-fighters role-playing game, Thunderbolt Black, in which I elected to play a Swede so that I could fly the lovely Viggen. I got chatting to the crew of the Gripen fighter (one of whom could have passed for my own dear, tall, blond, muscly swedish_lars, apart from the minor detail of not being an anthropomorphised samoyed dog) and ended up telling them all about the game and walking off with a pawful of stickers and other Gripen loot.
There's so much going on, in the air and on the ground, that I needed the full four days to catch everything without getting stressed about what I might be missing elsewhere.
But the Osprey alone gave me my money's worth.