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The Royal International Air Tattoo Puts Europe’s Best Mix Of Military Aircraft On Display

Arrivals Day at RIAT Always Brings Out the Fence Jumpers and Spotters

USAF B-52H arriving at RAF Fairford. Official US Air Force Photograph.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is a yearly event held at Royal Air Force (RAF) station Fairford in the UK. Each year the aircraft in attendance for the show are a cross-section of everything from civilian aircraft through warbirds and the latest military hardware. Arrivals for the show are often a good time for spotters and avgeeks to get a good look at which aircraft will be attending the show. 

This video documents the arrivals for the 2017 version of RIAT ahead of the show that runs from July 14-16. There was a significant crosswind component on the active runway so some of the approaches and landings are “interesting.”

Aircraft included in the video are a USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress, two USAF Lockheed U-2S Dragon Ladies, a RAF Embraer 500 Phenom 100E, a Textron Airland Scorpion Jet, a Gulfstream G550, a USAF Rockwell Boeing B-1B Lancer, a pair of French Dassault Rafales, several Lockheed C-130 Hercules airlifters, Saab J-39 Gripen jets, Aero L-39 Albatros jets, an EADS CASA C-295 airlifter, a couple of KC-135R tankers, a pair of Spanish Air Force Boeing EF-18A Hornets, and the Extra EZ-300Ls of the Royal Jordanian Air Force Falcons aerobatic team, one of whom experiences one of those interesting landings.

A Raytheon T-6A Texan II trainer makes an appearance, as do Alenia G.222 airlifters, the RAF King Air Display Team, French Mirage jets, Turkish F-16 Vipers, an RAF Tornado GR4, an Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master trainer, and two of the few remaining operational F-4E Phantoms IIs from the Greek Air Force. That’s all the clues I’m willing to hand out. There are some very cool surprises in this video. Many of the aircraft are wearing special commemorative paint schemes too. 

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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