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RIAT 2013
 
RIAT 2013
 
P-3C Orion - 60+01 - Marinefliegergeschwader 3 - German Navy   Tornado - 46+57 - Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 - German Air Force   Tornado GR4 - ZA612 - 617 Squadron - Royal Air Force   Gulfstream Aerospace G-IV Gulfstream IV - 557 - Royal Flight - Royal Air Force of Oman
 
MiG-29 Fulcrum - 111 - 1. elt - Polish Air Force   MiG-29 Fulcrum - 111 - 1. elt - Polish Air Force   Embraer R-99B (EMB-145RS) - 6750 - 2°/2° GT - Brazilian Air Force   ERJ145 AEW&C - 729 - 383 MIEA - Hellenic Air Force
 
Lockheed L-1049F Super Constellation - HB-RSC - Breitling
 
Mirage F1CR - 660/118-CY - ER 02.033 - French Air Force   Mirage F1CR - 604/118-CF - ER 02.033 - French Air Force   Rafale C - 141/113-GT - ETR 02.092 - French Air Force   EF 2000 Typhoon - MM7314/36-37 - 36° Stormo - Italian Air Force
 
C-17 Globemaster III - ZZ173 - 99 Squadron - Royal Air Force   Alpha Jet - ZJ646 - QinetiQ - Aircraft Test & Evaluation - Royal Air Force   EF2000 Typhoon FGR4 - ZK329/FH - 1 Squadron - Royal Air Force   NH90 - NH-214 - 1 Helikopterikomppannia - Finnish Army
 
Canberra PR9 - G-OMHD/XH134 - MidAir Squadron
 
RIAT 2013
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-016 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   Tucano T1 - ZF239 - 72 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force   A-109 Hirundo - H24 - Wing Heli - Belgian Defence - Air Component   NH90 - NH-214 - 1 Helikopterikomppannia - Finnish Army
 
Avro Vulcan B2 - G-VLCN - Vulcan to the Sky Trust - United Kingdom   Avro Vulcan B2 - G-VLCN - Vulcan to the Sky Trust - United Kingdom   KC-767 - MM6226/14-03 - 14° Stormo - Italian Air Force   Tristar KC2 - ZD953 - 216 Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
Alpha Jet - ZJ646 - QinetiQ - Aircraft Test & Evaluation - Royal Air Force

Royal International Air Tattoo 2013


Report and photography by Stuart Freer

With the run up to this years Royal International Air Tattoo, there was an abundance of negative comments on various aviation forums regarding aircraft participation for this years show, so could RIAT 2013 come up with the goods after such a successful previous year. I’m afraid it didn’t quite live up to RIAT’s high expectations.

With the global economic downturn causing major Defence budget restrictions and the ability of the world’s air arms to send aircraft to the show it was always going to be a difficult year. The biggest casualty of this were the various armed forces of the United States of America which due to the effect of sequestration implemented at the start of the year have not supported a single air show this year at home or overseas. The Air Tattoo has always received superb support from the US both in terms of aircraft and other help. It was rather strange walking around the showground & not to be greeted by a B-52 & the like, let’s hope the Americans can return in force for 2014.

But without the American’s the organisers still managed to attract some unusual & Rare static exhibits. Two examples of the Embraer EMB145 were displayed from the Hellenic & Brazilian Air Forces. The Hellenic EMB145H AEW&C Erieye was equipped with the SAAB Microwave Systems Erieye radar, mounted above the fuselage. The Brazilian example was expected to be in the same configuration but was an R-99 EMB145 Multi Intel. This aircraft has numerous aerials & sensors used for remote scanning. A very welcome addition to the static park

Making there first appearance at a RIAT were the Estonian Air Force sending an Antonov (PZL-Mielec) An-2T they also contributed to the flying display with a Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatross the aircraft is in the same colourful scheme as the Baltic Bees Jet Team from which the aircraft is leased. The real highlights for a lot of enthusiasts were the two French Air Force Dassault Mirage F1CR’s from ER.02.033 Squadron at Mont de Marsan Air Base, including one in a special digital scheme, these charismatic fighters are due to retired by the summer of 2014 so perhaps it will be the last time these jets will ever been seen at Fairford. Parked next to the F1’s were two German Air Force Tornado IDS from AG51, including the stunning, award-winning special ‘Arctic Tiger’ schemed aircraft, these made a superb entry to RIAT on the Wednesday spending a good fifteen minutes carrying out a number of circuits and touch and go's.

 
MB339 - MM - 2° Stormo - Frecce Tricolori - Italian Air Force   MB339 - MM - 2° Stormo - Frecce Tricolori - Italian Air Force   Hawker Sea Fury FB11 - VR930 - Royal Navy Historic Flight - United Kingdom   JAS 39 Gripen - 39209 - F7 - Swedish Air Force
 
MiG-29 Fulcrum - 111 - 1. elt - Polish Air Force   MiG-29 Fulcrum - 111 - 1. elt - Polish Air Force   EF2000 Typhoon FGR4 - ZK306/BT - 29 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force   EF2000 Typhoon FGR4 - ZK306/BT - 29 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
Airbus A380 - G-XLEA - G-XLEA
 
Vought F4U-4 Corsair - OE-EAS - Red Bull   Vought F4U-4 Corsair - OE-EAS - Red Bull   North American B-25 Mitchell  - N6123C - Red Bull   Hawker Hurricane IIc - LF363 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom
 
Airbus A380 - G-XLEA - British Airways   Airbus A380 - G-XLEA - British Airways   Airbus A380 - G-XLEA - British Airways   Hawk T1 - XX227 - The Red Arrows - Royal Air Force
 

RIAT managed quite a coup with the participation of Mid-Air’s Canberra PR.9 based at near-by Kemble airfield. The aircraft has been retired from RAF service since 2006, it only made its first post restoration flight on the Friday morning before the show & was a very welcome addition to the static display parked along side Classic Air Force's Meteor NF11 in a special area celebrating the Empire Test Pilots School 70th Anniversary along with a number of current types from the ETPS’s base at MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.

Moving away from the static the flying lacked a star item compared to RIAT's usual high standards but it did include some unusual formations.

Making there U.K debut were the Finnish Army with the NH Industries NH90TTH, a type I was certainly looking forward to seeing & it didn’t disappoint, a very agile helicopter indeed.

Eastern Bloc hardware is always welcome in the flying & for the second year running the Polish Air Force flew the Mig-29 Belonging to 1.elt based at Mińsk Mazowiecki AB, again a very polished display from the Polish pilot.

As stated there were a number of unique formation flypasts. RIAT was one of the venues to see the Dambusters commemoration flypast by the BBMF Lancaster and a 617 Squadron Tornado GR4 from RAF Lossiemouth, shame they were not a little closer together but still a great sight. With months of planning behind the scenes the Red Arrows in there 49th year performed two very special and unique flypasts, on the Saturday they formatted up with the newest addition to British Airways’ fleet, the Airbus A380 & on the Sunday with the Royal Air Force's future transport aircraft, the Airbus A400M, this is what make’s RIAT so unique with these flypasts, it will be interesting to see what the organisers will come up with for 2014 seeing as it’s the Red Arrows 50th year.

Warbirds played a heavy part in this year’s flying, on the Saturday the Royal Navy’s Historic Flight’s Hawker Sea Fury T20 was flown superbly by Chris Gotke with a number of top sides for the photographers present. Also on the Saturday Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Sally-B made an appearance alongside its stable-mate at Duxford the PBY-5A Catalina 'Miss Pick Up', which appeared on both days. One of the highlights were the ‘The Flying Bulls’ pair of a North American B-25J Mitchell & Vought F4U-4 Corsair based at Salzburg Airport in Austria, the Mitchell was a replacement for the broken Lockheed P-38 Lightning and is kept “naked” in highly polished bare metal which for the connoisseurs is not for everybody’s liking.

NH90 - NH-214 - 1 Helikopterikomppannia - Finnish Army
 
EF 2000 Typhoon - MM7306/RS-21 - RSV - Italian Air Force   EF 2000 Typhoon - MM7306/RS-21 - RSV - Italian Air Force   Tornado GR4 - ZA492 - 617 Squadron - Royal Air Force   Tornado GR4 - ZA492 - 617 Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
Avro Lancaster BII - PA474 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Avro Lancaster BII - PA474 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA84 - 1 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA84 - 1 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component
 
Tornado GR4 - ZA492 - 617 Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
Consolidated PBY5A Catalina - G-PBYA - Plane Sailing Catalina Operations - United Kingdom   Consolidated PBY5A Catalina - G-PBYA - Plane Sailing Catalina Operations - United Kingdom   Consolidated PBY5A Catalina - G-PBYA - Plane Sailing Catalina Operations - United Kingdom   Boeing B-17G-105-VE  Flying Fortress Sally B - G-BEDF - B-17 Preservation Limited - United Kingdom
 
A380M Atlas - F-WWMZ - Airbus   A400M Atlas - F-WWMZ - Airbus   Chinook HC2 - ZH873 - 18 Squadron - Royal Air Force   Chinook HC2 - ZH873 - 18 Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
Tornado - 46+28 - Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 - German Air Force

Solo fast jet action is always a prominent feature in the flying display. Starting of the Saturday’s flying display were the Dutch Air Force’s solo F-16AM Fighting Falcon, it was joined by the Dutch AH-64D Apache for a flypast to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Military Aviation in the Netherlands.

Further F-16 action came from the Belgium Air Force, for some reason a very lack lustre display being too high and too distant from pilot 'Grat' Thys. The RAF Typhoon was flown this year by 29(R) Squadron from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire having taken back the display routine from 6 Squadron who displayed the previous year, Flt Lt Jamie Norris’ performance earned him the Paul Bowen Trophy for Best Solo Jet Demonstration at RIAT 2013 and fully deserved an incredible display showing how agile the Typhoon is. Further Typhoon action came from the Italian Air Force test unit, RSV (Reparto Sperimentale Volo) from Pratica di Mare air base, southwest of Rome, personally not quite up to the RAF’s display but looked good with the wing tip smoke generators.

One of the most dynamic displays over the weekend came from the French Air Force Dassault Rafale demo from ETR 02.092 Acquitaine, with a number of incredible tight manoeuvres

Moving onto the larger types that were displayed, the Italians returned with the Alenia C-27J Spartan demonstration, flown by Major Fabio Del Michele and Captain Gianmarco di Loreto also from the RSV, it’s always quite a sight to witness a large transport aircraft perform loops and barrel rolls, it thoroughly deserved the ‘Crow Flies’ Trophy for the best display as voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo. The Italians also supplied a Boeing KC-767TT aerial refuelling tanker which performed a role demonstration flypast with the Italian and RAF Typhoons on each day, a first for an airshow.

As always there were a number of National Display Teams in the flying display including Royal Jordanian Falcons, the Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team, La Patrouille de France and Il Frecce Tricolori. The Freece never fail to impress with there slick moves, numerous formation changes and solo passes.

There were a number of helicopter displays, the Army Air Corp’s attended with the Westland Lynx AH7 and WAH-64D Apache AH7 demo’s & the Belgium Air Force with there with the Agusta A109BA, but the most impressive had to be the RAF Chinook HC3 display such a powerful demo showing amazing agility for such a large helicopter and thoroughly deserving the Sir Douglas Bader Trophy for the Best Individual Flying Display.

 
Aero L-39C Albatros - 10 - Ohuseire e Division - Estonian Air Force   Gloster Meteor T7 - G-BWMF - Aviation Heritage Ltd. - United Kingdom   Gloster Meteor T7 - G-BWMF - Aviation Heritage Ltd. - United Kingdom   Gloster Meteor T7 - G-BWMF - Aviation Heritage Ltd. - United Kingdom
 
A-109 Hirundo - H24 - Wing Heli - Belgian Defence - Air Component   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA84 - 1 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-022 - 323 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-015 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
MiG-29 Fulcrum - 111 - 1. elt - Polish Air Force
 
Rafale C - 139/113-GR - ETR 02.092 - French Air Force   Embraer R-99B (EMB-145RS) - 6750 - 2°/2° GT - Brazilian Air Force   ERJ145 AEW&C - 729 - 383 MIEA - Hellenic Air Force   An-2 Colt - 40 Yellow - Ohuseire e Division - Estonian Air Force
 
Mirage F1CR - 604/118-CF - ER 01.033 - French Air Force   Mirage F1CR - 660/118-CY - ER 01.033 - French Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-002 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   A400 Atlas - F-WWMZ - Airbus
 
EF 2000 Typhoon - MM7306/RS-21 - RSV - Italian Air Force
 
RIAT 2013
 
Rafale C - 139/113-GR - ETR 02.092 - French Air Force   Rafale C - 141/113-GT - ETR 02.092 - French Air Force   Tornado ECR - 46+57 - Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 - German Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-002 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
C-130H Hercules - 345 - 3 Squadron - Royal Jordanian Air Force   Hawk T2 - ZK014/E - 4 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force   Mirage F1CR - 604/118-CF - ER 01.033 - French Air Force   An-2 Colt - 40 Yellow - Ohuseire e Division - Estonian Air Force
 
Tornado IDS - 46-57 - Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 - German Air Force
 
EF 2000 Typhoon - MM7299/4-41 - 4° Stormo - Italian Air Force   EF2000 Typhoon FGR4 - ZK343/EA - 6 Squadron - Royal Air Force   Wildcat HMA2 - ZZ413 - 702 Naval Air Squadron - Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm   Do228 - 98+35 - Marinefliegergeschwader 3 - German Navy
 
Canberra PR9 - G-OMHD/XH134 - Mid Air   Lockheed L-1049F Super Constellation - HB-RSC - Breitling   C-295 - 023 - 40. elt - Polish Air Force   MC-27J Spartan - CSX62127 - RSV - Italian Air Force
 
VC10 KC3 - ZA148/G - 101 Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
Touchdown Conclusion
 

So to conclude RIAT 2013, with all the good work done in 2012 the show took a backward step this year. I know the show has to appeal to the general public but it seemed the enthusiast was a little forgotten in favour of fun-fares & go-cart rides.

 
US sequestration didn't help. Yes there were still some rare items to be seen - like the Brazilian and Greek Embraers, the Estonian An-2 and the French Mirage F1s, plus several special schemes and it's always good to see a Polish MiG29 flying. But the flying seemed to lack a real star item.


Looking back a few years, RIAT was a must do event, no question. It was the first show to be marked on the calendar, nothing got in the way. Nowadays for many enthusiasts this isn’t the case.

 
So let’s hope this year's show was a blip & RIAT 2014 can get back its reputation for being among the world’s greatest military air shows.

The author wishes to thank Richard Arquati and Jane Leigh, Press & Publicity Officers, RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises for there kind assistance over the show weekend.

 
Touchdown Rating - 3 out of 5
 
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