Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden
huskyteer

No Battlefield It Will Not Dominate

My annual pilgrimage to the Royal International Air Tattoo is over for another year. As usual, I needed two days to watch all the displays and look at everything on the ground - static aircraft and trade stands - and I suspect I still missed something. Obviously it was so great I needed a week to write it up...



Probably the most eagerly-anticipated aircraft this year was the Raptor. This came complete with some of the most straightfaced, overblown commentary I have ever heard - this is, I have to say, typical of the American contingent:

"There is no battlefield it cannot dominate! There is no battlefield it WILL NOT dominate!!"

[huskyteer thinks: so where are they all?]

"Ladies and gentlemen, THE most feared combat aircraft in THE world today: THEEE F-22 RAPTOOORRR!"

Golly gee, lighten up already!

To be fair, it was a pretty amazing display. Slow, graceful climbs and loops; all that power just pushing it up the sky and keeping it stable. If a Sopwith Camel pilot, say, were transported to the future to witness it in action, his mind would be thoroughly blown.

There's always some big anniversary to celebrate. This time it was 70 years since the Battle of Britain (David Cameron take note), commemorated in fine style by Spitfires, Hurricanes and Messerschmitts taking off in mixed foursomes.

My favourite item, though, was the Spitfire/Eurofighter Typhoon display. And they really did display, with opposition breaks and loops and things, not just fly along together in a straight line for a bit. Past, present and future of British military aviation. Lovely.

On Sunday some nice French guys let me look round their Transall C-160, because if you're the USAF and have brought your Globemaster people will queue for 45 minutes to go inside, but if you're the Armée de l'Air with a creaky old twin-prop transport nobody talks to you and you're bored out of your skull. Thus, as soon as I showed the slightest bit of interest they were all "You would like to visit? Come!"

It's this sort of interaction with aircrew that makes Fairford a special show.

RIAT is also an opportunity for socialising. elfasi was missed this year, but I met up with silverwindblade and party on Saturday to share some of the geeking and gawping. On Sunday night I had dinner with some old friends of my parents' who come over from Australia for the show.

On Monday I watched the departures for a while before departing in an easterly direction myself, to arrive home dog-tired, sunburned, laden with loot and very happy.

I'll leave the last word to this ad from the souvenir programme:

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