Sunday, July 15, 2007

RIAT

So, I know I said I would post about the Fight Camp I went to last weekend but I haven't downloaded the photo's I took yet, but I will post about it soon. Besides, yesterday I went to RIAT - the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire and had a great day despite having to queue for nearly 3 hours in traffic to get there! It wouldn't have been so bad but after 2 hours I was dying for, um, 'some relief'. I was faced with the prospect of going 'au natural a la the bears in the woods' but luckily a sign pointing up a side road advertised a cafe. Off I set and have never been so happy to find a public convenience in my life! Damn that cup of tea before I set off!!!


When I got back to the car the traffic had moved about 20 yards but I had stocked up on water and chocolate so my significant other cheered up a bit. Half an hour later the traffic started moving for now apparent reason what-so-ever! There was no sign as to why the traffic had stopped for so long. I hate that. While we were sat in the traffic we were listening to Wings FM which was giving a commentary of what we were missing. I was very annoyed to have missed the B1B, the Apache and the Blue Eagles flying. Still, when we arrived we were treated to an absolutely awesome display by Typhoon.


RIAT is the world's largest military airshow, held annually over the third weekend in July, usually in support of The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. I saw many aircraft and the flying displays were excellent. I was particularly pleased to find the Red Arrows there. When I was a child I lived near to where they were stationed at that time and remember often seeing them fly over as they practised their aerobatic flying. I loved watching them then and that feeling has never left me. The skill of these pilots is incredible!


The Red Arrows are officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team. They were formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by various RAF commands. The team uses the BAE Hawk trainer plane, which is highly maneuverable. All of the photo's on this post are of the Red Arrows (except the first) but photo's do not do them justice. As I have a dSLR I cannot take video footage, so I have put in a video at the end to give you an idea of what they do.


Since 1966, there have been nine display pilots and each is a volunteer. Pilots must have completed one or more operational tours on a fast jet and have accumulated at least 1,500 flying hours to be eligible. Even then, there are more than ten applicants for each place on the team. Pilots stay with the Red Arrows for a three-year tour of duty with three pilots being changed every year. If one of the pilots is not able to fly the team flies an eight-plane formation but if the Team Leader, 'Red 1', is unable to fly then the team do not display at all. Each pilot always flies the same position in a formation and the pilots spend six months from October to April practising for the coming display season. During an aerobatics display, Red Arrows pilots regularly experience forces up to five times that of gravity.


In July 2004 there was speculation that the Red Arrows would be disbanded after a defence spending review due to running costs of between £15 million and £20 million. Thank goodness, the Arrows were not disbanded and the expense has been justified through their PR value and because they act as a recruitment mechanism for the RAF. According to the BBC it is highly unlikely that the Red Arrows will be disbanded, as they are a considerable attraction throughout the world and this was reiterated by Tony Blair in 2007. I really hope they don't get disbanded as they are now part of the British institution in many ways. I would also hate to think that other children won't get the pleasure I did seeing them as a child.


25 comments:

craziequeen said...

You missed Apache? How ironic... :-)

The Red Arrows will fly forever.. I'm sure of that...
I hope so....
As long as the politicians keep their noses out of the affair...

Fantastic pictures, Bobkat - absolutely amazing.
Did you see Typhoon and the Red Arrows when they flew over work the other week? I caught sight of them through the trees....

Michele sent me this time.

cq

Carmi said...

Funny how the Red Arrows experience - both in the air and in the political machinations behind the team's existence - so closely parallels that of Canada's Snowbirds.

You captured the experience - in words, images and video - beautifully. I wish I had been there, long wait and all.

Charles said...

Love the pics... love the jets.. gotta fly one someday. I think the cheapest place to do that is in Melbourne, Australia. Remember that if you are ever in the area. Nice to meet you... Michele sent me!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Super pics there. It must have been quite an event.

Michele sent me.

gautami tripathy said...

Glad Michele sent to admire these pictures!

jsdaughter said...

What incredible pictures!! Thanks so much for sharing them. Here via Michele's today- I'll be back!

kenju said...

I have seen smaller airshows here, but never a large one, except on TV. The noise of them always bothers me, and I do admit to worrying about the cost of the fuel for such frivolous actions.

Michele sent me.

Anonymous said...

Which damages the environment more? A few airshows or a case of full scale war with factories pumping out war machines and fumes the world over. If you want peace, prepare for war.

Airshows are more to do with friendly relations between nations, commercial deals, international prestige and entertainment.

An American complaining about excessive fuel usage??! ;-)

BreadBox said...

Wow, that post brought back a lot of memories --- my father was and is an aircraft nut, and actually was on the design teams for the Harrier and the Hawk --- I didn't realise that the Red Arrows flew Hawks! --- and we used to go to airshows a lot, mainly at Farnborough and Dunsfold, but others as well. Beautiful pictures too:-)
Michele sent me to say thanks for the memories,
N.

Anne said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog via Michele. Looks like a cool air show!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What an exciting and moving event this must be to see....It brought tears just watching that videpo, AND your pictures are FANTASTIC!
Truly Amazing, Bob-Kat....Thank you so much for sharing this amazing display by these very brave and talented pilots!

Melody said...

Awesome! I remember seeing the Red Arrows at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2000. Just how talented are those pilots? Amazing hey - like your photos!!!

Ps said...

Very beautiful pics! Really worth the traffic, and the wait.
We have a similar thing in Bangalore in India.
It was terrific.

Little Miss Muffet said...

the airshow sounds absolutely awesome! and i totally understand how a restroom seems like a gift from god at times..heheh..

Michele said...

Much like Carmi wrote, I was thinking that the Red Arrow's very closely parallel of the Snowbirds.

Although, I have never seen a Red Arrow show, I have indeed seen The Canadian Snowbirds many times. What a wonderfully amazing show and yes, it would be a shame if future children to not get to experience it.

Oh, I see "anonymous" also visits you. He or she is certainly very busy leaving comments all over the place.

Thank-you Bob-kat for visiting the "post of the day. I suspect it was appreciated by the man who wrote that post. I know it was certainly appreciated by me.

Nikki-ann said...

Great photos! :) The Red Arrows are amazing. It would be a shame if future generations missed them.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks for your comment B-K on Broderson...I have no idea how this post ended up back in my "drafts"...maybe it happened during the changeover to the NEW Blogger...lol....Anyway, I thank you for seeing the great artistry of this wonderfully talented painter!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Neat, Bob-kat. Michele sent me today; I've never even HEARD of the Red Arrows. Thanks for shrinking my world today and making me a bit more savvy.

craziequeen said...

'I said I would post about the Fight Camp'

now honey - you know the rules.

Rule #1 - you don't talk about Fight Camp
Rule #2 - you don't talk about Fight Camp

[chuckle]

cq

btw - do your readers know that the Red Arrows are active pilots and can be called to war?

Sarch said...

A great post my friend. Your Red Arrows are the UK version of our Blue Angels. What a blast to watch!

David said...

ahh - when we were young, i remember so many airshows, guess I need to get back there soon.....

utenzi said...

Neat pictures, B-K. I especially like that first one.

R. Sherman said...

BK, cool photos.

I've always loved air shows, even though I can a crick in my neck when they're over.

Cheers.

Roxie, Sammy and Andy said...

I have never seen the Red Arrows or Canada's Snowbirds but I have seen the US Navy (& Marine) Blue Angels (There is always one Marine pilot). These guys are on the road most of the year and they don't get any extra pay. If I hadn't been married to a Marine pilot, I don't think I would have understood the extent these guys love to fly and the pride they take in stepping up to the plate to defend their country.

The Dachsies' Mom

JAM said...

Dynamite photos anyway. The top one is really nice.

I've always been amazed to watch such things, just imagining the untold hours of dedicated practicing.