I left home a few minutes after 7AM and was on the airfield shortly after 9:30, having parked my bike by the gate where it had a nice view of the Red Arrows. With time to spare before the flying started, I browsed the stalls and queued to look round an immaculate Super Constellation (pictured here with bonus Vulcan), now owned by Breitling and run by the Swiss.
The flying programme was packed: seven and a half hours of it, all enthralling. RIAT always provides a chance to see both unusual aircraft and unusual combinations of aircraft, and we were not disappointed. There was a Gloster Meteor - I've never seen one fly before, although its distinctive shape was familiar from museums and models. Continuing the Jet Age theme, a Canberra in the static park had flown in that morning, having gained its certificate of airworthiness just a couple of days previously; I look forward to seeing it display next year.
Perennial crowd-pleasers were the Vulcan and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster. It was particularly lovely to see the Lanc flying in company with a Tornado from 617 (Dambuster) Squadron, commemorating the raid.
Plenty of treats for those who, like me, appreciate a good canard foreplane, with a French Dassault Rafale, Swedish and Hungarian Gripens, and Eurofighter Typhoons from the UK and Italy. These last took off in quick succession, punching into the cloud at a steep angle with afterburners blazing, and later gave us a little in-flight refuelling demonstration. Superb.
The weather wasn't quite as scorching as I'd hoped, with some cloud cover, and there were times when I was too cold in my shorts and sandals. But after the last few years, when waterproof trousers have been the norm and the display has been disrupted or even cancelled due to poor conditions, I wasn't going to complain.