The Royal International Air Tattoo proves it’s still “The Greatest Airshow in the World”

After a three year break, the Royal International Air Tattoo is back with a roaring sonic boom over the Gloucestershire skies with it’s most successful show ever.

Bringing together 266 aircraft and 1500 crew members from across the globe in a celebration of aviation, science and engineering. Key visitors such as repretensatives from the Kingdom of Bahrain, the 57th nation to participate in RIAT with it’s first appearance, Hollywood A-list aviation enthusiast, Tom Cruise and Apollo 16 Astronaut, B.G. Charles M. Duke Junior, the youngest man to walk on the moon.

Paul Atherton, Chief Executive of the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, the organisers of RIAT, said: “I’ve been blown away by the support we have received for the long-awaited return of RIAT. Around
200,000 people have been here this weekend – visitors, volunteers, partners, and all those involved in the build. I’d like to personally thank every single one of them for helping RIAT to return with such

From 15 – 17 July, RAF Fairford played host to a three-day-long extravaganza of flying displays, static exhibits, and interactive family entertainment. Appetite from participants and visitors was at an all-
time high, with tickets to all three days selling out before the show, and flying displays on Saturday and Sunday being extended to over eight hours to accommodate those from around the world who
wished to participate.

Focusing on the themes of “Training the Next Generation” and the United States Air Force’s 75th Anniversary focusing on sustainability in the aviation industry. This featured a spectacular lineup of aircraft including the Boeing E-4B’s debut appearance at an airshow outside the United States.

595th Command and Control Group’s National Airborne Operations Center, the Boeing E-B makes it’s first international airshow debut at RIAT 22.

The airshow also played host to display teams from Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom. One of the flying highlights of the show was the Republic of Korea Air Force’s Black Eagles flying in formation with the Red Arrows as well as their display routine.

ROKAF Black Eagles flying their KAI T-50 Golden Eagles over show centre.

The show organisers are measuring the impacts of the event in order to help them make improvements to their carbon footprint over the next few years. Changes have already been taking place at this year’s show with the reduction in single use plastics, all waste being diverted from
landfill, increased recycling of large event items and working with our partners and exhibitors to highlight the innovations that they are making in aviation sustainability.

As part of the sustainability theme, Rolls-Royce’s G-NXTE electric racer was on display.

With the help of the RAF Charitable Trust, the charity for whom RIAT raises funds, a number of high-profile guests enthralled crowds in the Techno Zone with stories of trailblazing careers, intrepid space exploration, and cutting-edge science and technology.

Jo Salter, the UK’s first female fast jet pilot and an Ambassador of the RAF Charitable Trust said: “The line-up this weekend has been brilliant. As incredible as the aircraft displays are, I’ve also been taking
a minute to appreciate the sight of young people returning to RIAT with excitement and enthusiasm.

The RAF Charitable Trust has done a stellar job of curating exhibitions, speakers and events that will inspire young people to fulfil their potential. I’m sure many children who visited this weekend left as
future pilots, engineers and scientists because of what they experienced here.”

Appetite for the show was sky-high after its three-year hiatus, with visitors coming from all over the world to see RIAT’s return. While many used the shuttle bus and park-and-ride services from
Cheltenham and Swindon, one arrival had its roots firmly in Hollywood.

Top Gun star Tom Cruise’s visit was a closely-guarded secret, and the star spent time with RIAT visitors and volunteers, taking time to talk with those who had been inspired by his own passion for aviation.

Tickets for next year are already on sale here:

About Ryan Lim 16 Articles
Born into an airline family, Ryan has always walked about looked upwards. He is usually found plane spotting or at an airshow when not writing about airplanes.

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