The instant I walked through the gates onto the airfield, it started to hammer down with rain. I was undaunted, however, having learned from last year's soggy show and brought not only anorak and umbrella but waterproof trousers and waterproof socks. I put everything on and stomped cheerfully off to look at books with titles like A Very British Sound Barrier and America's Secret MiG Squadron.
silverwindblade, Anna and Ultrafox touched down soon after my own arrival, and we hooked up in time to watch a display by two Ospreys (TWO! OSPREYS!!). A third Osprey was in the static park, and we queued to look round the interior. (Disappointingly, it looked rather old-fashioned given the sci-fi exterior; I'd expected it to look twenty years more advanced than the inside of a Chinook, for instance, and it looked about the same.)
We alternated between seated, watching the display mode and perambulatory Looking At Cool Stuff mode, sitting rapt through the Swedish Gripen and the ever-awesome Vulcan before strolling off to walk through some Herculeses and purchase last year's show T-shirt for a couple of quid in the discount tent. There were a couple of cloudbursts, and a few cancellations from aircraft marooned by bad weather at their home base, but most displays went ahead and our enthusiasm was undampened.
RIAT always provides lots of things you won't see elsewhere: rare aircraft, planes in unusual markings or from faraway countries, and combinations of planes you don't normally see flying together. In the latter category was the SkyLift display, a parade of transport aircraft from nearby RAF Brize Norton. So many heavyweights: the VC10 tanker and Hercules lumbered across, along with the mighty A400M, a military version of the Airbus newly designated the Atlas (a name which goes nicely with Hercules).
On the ground, first time visitors the Japan Air Self Defence Force (which makes it sound as if their planes do karate) gave a display of Taiko drumming in front of their aircraft, the sound rivalling the Royal Jordanian bagpipers. We all fell in love with another newbie, the Korean Black Eagles aerobatics team, before they even performed, thanks to the sheer smiley enthusiasm of the representatives on their stand and their eagerness to dish out freebies. The team brochure we received was charmingly translated: 'He always grab the controlling stick with all his passion to present fun and joy to all people'.
The day flew by, and when the Breitling Jet Team closed proceedings just before six we were all astonished that it was over already.
It rained all the way home, but at that stage it didn't matter.