Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden
huskyteer

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Those Planes Were Fast As Lightnings

Farnborough International Airshow is this week, but I have already had my aviation thrills at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire.

I dragged Howard along for both days, meeting wardy and silverwindblade on Saturday and establishing a base camp from which to catch the action or mount expeditions to look at the static display and trade stands.

Here's how it feels to watch the display:

Belgian F-16 taking off

And here's what it's like wandering about:

Fighter lineup

The big attraction this year was the long-delayed F-35 Lightning. This is a supersonic, stealthy fighter that can hover, so it's not surprising it took Lockheed Martin longer than expected to sort it out. In the air and on the ground it looks thoroughly futuristic, alien and sinister, especially in company with the F-22 Raptor.

I SEE YOU

Howard is very keen on the Eurofighter Typhoon, and this year there were four to enjoy. The plane is manufactured by a European consortium and operated by the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, each of whom provided one.

This was a great year for F-16s, too, with Turkish, Greek, Belgian and Polish examples in eyecatching liveries. I think the Belgians had a slight edge in both performance and colour scheme, though I ended up buying a T-shirt from the Poles.

We were privileged to witness the last ever display of Ramex Delta's two Mirage 2000s, performing in such a tight, close formation that one plane appeared to be the other's shadow. A punchy performance from the Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum (the type is as old as I am, incidentally) was another standout.

Sunday's weather was more changeable, with some heavy showers that sent everyone dashing under the wing of the nearest tanker, or into the Royal Jordanian Air Force's tent for some Turkish delight. Towards the end of the afternoon the sky cleared, and the final few performers - the Gripen, the Italian Typhoon and the Italian Frecce Tricolori display team - really seemed to revel in it, powering vertically towards the sun. In 'Red Arrows fly with something unusual' news, we got two Typhoons and an F-35, together with the red Hawks representing the past, present and future of the RAF.

I don't think I heard the word 'Brexit' uttered once all weekend.

Past, present and future
Tags: airshow, planes
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