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Talking point: RIAT – how was it for you?

Tell us what you thought of this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo, held at RAF Fairford over the weekend of July 17/18.


Taking no less than three flying awards was Major David ‘Zeke’ Skalicky in the US Air Force F-22A Raptor. All images Key - Gary Parsons

Another Royal International Air Tattoo has come and gone, this year bolstered by several stars destined for the following week’s Farnborough International Airshow. But, take away those aircraft, and there was a sense that numbers were down and the enthusiast was left wanting for more.

What do you think? Does it still represent value for money? Is it still the world’s premier military airshow? What could be done to improve it? Tell us below!

RIAT 2010 - the flying displays

Filed Under Airshows Features.


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Rob Scheffers (NL) said on the 9-Jan-2010 at 23:08

I visited RIAT 2010 with 4Aviation, on Saturday by one day coach trip from the Netherlands. We arrived very early in the morning and could park our bus within a stone's throw from the gates. When the gates opened, however, it took us ages to pass them. What a long queues, but everybody underwent the searchings patiently. That could have been worse...
Compared with 2009, the air display was much, much better, with Raptor, Super Hornet, Harrier and A400M. More variety than in 2009, with all those boring Gripens and Hornets!
Further I really liked the return of the photo-buses to the flightlines on the Northern side, I really enjoyed that part.
My first (R)IAT was in 1983, at RAF Greenham Common, and compared with those days the present static displays are very, very disappointing. I can imagine times are changing, but the numbers of aircraft on the ground during the last RIAT's were the absolute minimum. I hope this will improve...

Lawrence Pickup said on the 9-Feb-2010 at 15:03

Like many of the earlier commentators I have been attending RIAT for a number of years and it has changed. However, with defence budgets around the world on the decrease (or at least not keeping up with demands) this is to be expected. Had it not been for the US the show may have been judged as 'failed'. But can RIAT depend on the US in future years?
Also I would like to see a real re-appraisal. I want an AVIATION event, the fairground/market taking up so much space has no attraction; a few eating places and dedicated aviation stalls are sufficent.
Lastly, traffic. We arrived with 3 kms around 10.00 but it was nearly 12.00 when we got through into the carpark. Something needs to be done to speed up getting cars off the road and into the parking areas.

Rob Scheffers (NL) said on the 9-Mar-2010 at 10:39

@ Lawrence: 'I want an AVIATION event, the fairground/market taking up so much space has no attraction; a few eating places and dedicated aviation stalls are sufficent.' Hear hear! A thing I forgot to mention...

Keith said on the 8-May-2010 at 11:07

Steve O Brien has clearly put a great deal of effort into compiling his lengthy critique of RIAT 2010.
Perhaps he might find some fulfillment on joining the 2000 plus volunteers who put the show together. You never know he may to change things for the better! I doubt it.

Ian said on the 8-Jun-2010 at 00:39


This was kind of what I was alluding to. Steve, the balls in your court, please get some valuable insight, you may be then better placed to comment.

Andy Skarbinski said on the 8-Jun-2010 at 01:08

Message to Steve,
1. Yes I was there for the flypast in 2008, and I drove why could you not do the same? Was I let in for it yes I paid as everyone else did to go in one of the PV enclosures..
Re the MIG 21- Yes we all know it was due to attend but if you bothered to read the conditions of attendance they clearly state "Appearance by any aircraft cannot be guaranteed due to serviceability, operational commitments or other reasons outside the control of the Event Organisers". I would have thought this was clear and understandable given the circumstances beyond RIATs control. I for one think it was a great show, how can you write off any show that has the Raptor and A400M flying? Some people are never satisfied and I can only suggest you get a grip on reality. Long gone are the days of 400-500 aircraft attending RIAT. This is the present and sadly airforces across the world are being down-scaled against their wishes. The result being less aircraft available and even less available for air shows.
Perhaps a reason for non-attendance might be down to costs? Perhaps it might be down to RIAT being a charity and not being able to pay for aircrafty attendance whilst others can?

I am sorry Steve but your inane ramblings make me laugh. I agree the F22 is very unlikely to be at RIAT next year, am I worried? No but you clearly are. I for one can't wait for next years show and I will enjoy it even more knowing you are not there. So please do us all a favour and go and find something else to moan about.

Gary Parsons (Editor) said on the 8-Jun-2010 at 09:15

Please keep discussion relevant to the airshow and refrain from personal attacks and insults. Thank you.

David buxton said on the 24-Jul-2010 at 08:01

i thought this years riat was a good one.
the f22 was a obvious star ,i also thought the airbus a400m gave a excellant display for such a new aircraft.
my only real gripe about the day was the entry time ,we queud a hour and the security firm controlling this did not seem to have a clue.

DarrylR said on the 24-Jul-2010 at 15:52

Caught once again in a 3 hour standstill on the brown route. When will RIAT get the Gloucestershire Constabulary to radically improve their service? On arrival at the car park directed to a non-existant gate 0.25 mile from the right one. Arriving at 13:30 enjoyed the remainder of the show. Congratulations to the organisers for keeping the Raptor to the afternoon, at least I got to see it.

After 30 years of attending Greenham and Fairford, I am not sure I will bother next year.

Neil Martin said on the 24-Jul-2010 at 23:24

Great day. Minimum queues. Pimms Flight-deck enclosure was class. Bacon roles at 08:00 went down very well!!
The Typhoon/Spitfire display was wonderful and may it return every year.
F16, F18, F22, Typhoon, Gripen, what a great line up.......
Tornado role demo excellent. Vulcan still en-captivating.
Red Arrows usual excellence with tremendous blue sky.
Security contractor did the best they could.
People need to appreciate the deterrence they provide along with tooled up police!!
Thanks RIAT for the worlds best airshow.
Role on next year.
Lets hope the moaners stay at home!!
If you do not learn to get up early after 30years and then dont bother attending the next year clearly you have an issue or two...
I have been going 15+ years and not had any problems apart from praying for no rain......

David buxton said on the 24-Jul-2010 at 23:48

I can appreciate that the security have a difficult job in this day and age
But when they are stood there with their hands in there pockets chewing the fat with other security types it winds people up
They are there to do job

Steve O brien said on the 25-Jul-2010 at 08:40

Have been to RIAT SINCE 1985 . I feel sorry for people who think this was a good RIAT AND EXTRA SORRY FOR THOSE WHO ONLY ATTENDED ON THE SUNDAY . Sundays flying display was a disgrace , gaps with nothing happening and lots of aircraft that flew on Saturday not in the air . ok the Lanc went US , please dont tell me Mirage , F 16 , f 15 etc went us also . in the good old days you had 3 and 4 acts taking off one after the other then waiting to run in and display . its all gone way too corporate and of course we now have ques outside the Gents , why is that ? as for the Static , abysmal , abysmal boys and girls . look how much space was empty , Again . think of it like this , if FARNBOROUGH wasnt on , no 22 no 400, what would you praise then ?. I was at Yeovilton , 3 AC HAD A FLARE DROP IN THE ROUTINE , RIAT , nothing , AC too HIGH TOO FAR AWAY AND TOO FEW . TO costly and too poorly organised for me to attend next year .
a Moaner ?, everything ive said is true .
i and many other people I know will not be returning next year . Caio RIAT ....

Mike B said on the 25-Jul-2010 at 18:49

Thankfully we were camping next to RIAT, saw the rehearsals on Friday and the departures on Monday - almost the best bits! Highlights were F22, A400, Vulcan, Red Arrows trouncing the Patrouille de France in the WOW stakes. I though the static was good, the Omani C130 was a gem and the BoB area was fun. How many people got free NAFFI tea-bags? Lets face it the great days of huge RIAT static lines is long gone, not emough money, not enough planes, too many commitments.
The queues to the loos were bad and the non-aviation related stalls were often just horribly tacky and out of place.

Steve O brien said on the 25-Jul-2010 at 22:46

Also the Shuttle bus exit on the Sat evening was chaotic .
people were mixed in the wrong exit line. the car park and bus lines were all in one que , no signage how many years are the shuttle buses and the car parks down that end ?, yep thats right .
please dont say I have issues ! the only issues I have are the ones that RIAT , puts in my lap .
As for the Romanian Mig 21s , the main reason i Bought ADVANCE TICKETS and please dont tell me thats to control numbers . the only numbers thats to control is Punds shillings and pence .
a few years back they had 4 and none fly , this year they list a flyer and none show up . again money is it ?, sheck Scramble , see how many european shows that Mig 21 will fly in .
I have had too many RIAT Promisses of AC to show and then they dont turn up . Ever hear of a contract RIAT ,you with the AC to show and you with Me .
well you have broken my contract one too often .
Im sure the flight line looks Lovely from inside those ! Chalets , I would know , I was in the public grandstand one day , pushed too far back , thanks again RIAT ANOTHER 20 SPOT OF MY MONEY YOU HAVE . speaking to guys this eve , wanted to meet a RAF HERK CREW ? of yea sorry , will an Omani AF herk crew do ?, sure they were nice guys . lets chat to a Nimrod crew instead ?, sorry no Nimrod .
youd buy a lot of tea bags with a 30 quid entrance ticket . as my shuttle bus rolled out of the gate , a cry went up from a passenger , LOOK AT THOSE CHEAPSKATES ! . well , I imagine they ! had a better view of some of the days proceedings than I who had paid a Small fortune to be there .
What does a Mig 21 look like in flight ?, what does a Hunter look like in Flight ?, what does a Vampire look like in flight ?, a B 2 ? Lovely THATS WHAT .
thanks for the memories RIAT , coz surely thats all were going to get . Buy the dvd guys , the old dvd ! . Commitments ?, go to a Swiss show a French AF show , comms dosent mean you have to fly a routine 500 up 1000s out . you use what you have to best effect . 3 para drops to kick off the day , ?, please . thats just a kiddies recruiting tool . yep i did my 3 years in green , just another grunt in the grass and thats what I will be next year . if theres anything worth seeing , providing they let it fly of course , unlike the refuel demo that got fixed for sun and scrubbed by the Balzzers , I will be a CHEAPSKATE OUTSIDE THE FENCE and I wont have to worry about toilet ques either , unless I can GET RIAT to pay for a sex change . Bring back the good old days ! long walks , Black midge flies all over you ice creams , from the grass , yep there was grass at Fairford once and ques where they should be , AT THE LADIES , not at the Security Barriers . dont forget the spot cream and breath freshner for the Lads at security next year RIAT , i for one wont know if you gave it out or not .
Flack jacket on , Barret Light 50 loaded , mortars at the ready ,

Mike B said on the 26-Jul-2010 at 09:07

AND another thing:

Why know RIAT 2011 calendars? 2010 calendars? PLEASE - its the end of July already.

I invested in a keep-the-vulcan-flying 2011 calendar. The proper one, not from the pretenders next door.


Daniel L said on the 26-Jul-2010 at 20:45

As a first timer to RIAT i thought it was delightlful as an airshow as a whole. OK the static line up did have a few holes in it, but the organisers made the best of a bad situation. For me the flying display really shone through
Best bits for me were the:
Avro Vulcan, Airbus A400M, BoB flyover and modern counterparts, Red Arrows, F-22 Raptor
F-18 Super Hornet
I'm sorry, but for those who are moaning about the aircraft line up being rubbish, i am afraid that it is just tough luck! We aren't living in the 80's any more, constraints are too tight, so of course air forces aren't going to commit to an airshow. The nanny state has crept up on the airshow. And for those who aren't satisfied with the shows, go to the USA, the rules are more relaxed. Either way RIAT was great. Sadly I can't attend next year, going to Waddington and Flying Legends. Thankyou RIAT!!!

Simon Hodosn said on the 28-Jul-2010 at 16:40

Flying display was great, especially the F-22, Vulcan and Reds, Battle of Britain Fypast was very moving.
Static display seems to get less and less, but surely there's a way of getting some more planes on the tarmac, i mean what happened to the 4 Hunters that were supposed to be there.
Bad points, turning up before 7 and not getting into the show ground until a qtr to 9, some of this down to security checks, some down to the people who park in the red car park field, don't understand the concept of going to the back of the queue that's out on the footpath, and making a new queue at the field entrance then pushing in.

Andy Skarbinski said on the 30-Jul-2010 at 16:18

I have been going to airshows for thirty/forty years now and yes this years RIAT probably was poorer than a lot of previous ones but when will people wake up to reality and see that the world has changed. Recession is here and hitting hard, anyone who believes RIAT can put on a show as if nothign is happening needs a reality check. This was a decent enough show given all the problems. I go to all six days and apart from Sunday I enjoyed it all. Looking forward to RIAT next year already and just hoping the Germans or Italians send some Tornados.

Steve O brien said on the 30-Jul-2010 at 17:23

I most Certainly am awake to the FACT that the world and RIAT has changed . however RIAT donr seem to be . I WILL SAY IT AGAIN , Sunday was a Disgrace as an Airshow , a disgrace . the Static was a Disgrace , end of .
RIAT need to make the best of what they have got , THEY ARE NOT DOING THAT ! . THE flying control committee have gone MAD ! . over board controls . why not let that SU 22 fly a few touch and gos , or missed approaches . bread and butter stuff to any pilot , not a display autherised pilot , so what . if he cant fly safely he souldnt have been allowed to land at RIAT in the first place . im not mind trapped in the 80s i cannot attend another show in the 80s , only in 2010 .
so i will say it again , BEST USE OF WHAT THEY HAVE ON THE FIELD . FLYING SAFETY COMMITTEE, COP ON . I know what can happen when things go wrong / sunday 28-8-1988 , I had a front row seat at Ramstien . I also ahve seen 2 other AC and a Heli go in .US Shows are not the answer for me , Im not a fan . Switzerland and France for me , Warbirds , Dux or NEW ZEALAND . I KNOW I HAVE BEEN .
THE VULCAN THIS YEAR WAS VERY TAME , compared with last years Displays . BOB didnt fly sunday , the REDS are the REDS what you would expect , GOOD . Bring the Tissues next year boys and girls , as a non Farnborough year , I wont be hoping for too much . F 22 ?, YEA SURE , A 400 ?, A 4 what ?, thats a road isnt it .
Yes we live in the 21st Centuary , we are paying 21st Centaury prices , SO PLEASE GIVE US A 21ST CENTUARY AIRSHOW , PLEASE !!!!!!!.
2 THOUGHTS before i go , why have the SHOPS Disapered at RIAT ( I KNOW ) AND THE YEAR THE miarge 111 retired the Swiss AF , we had both ! BLACK AND WHITE IN THE STATIC . WHY IN LORDS NAME COULD NOT ONE OF THOSE FLOWN THAT WEEKEND ?.and the answer isnt , oh that was years ago what does it matter . its part of the pattern of wind down of what was once , THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH , A VERY DIMM SHADOW OF ITS FORMER SELF .
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO OBVIOUSLY CANNOT SEE WHERE I AM . I WRITE NOT TO CRITICISE , FOR THE SAKE OF IT , BUT IN THE HOPE THAT , SOMEONE IN CHARGE MIGHT JUST READ THIS AND HAVE A NERVE PRICKED ! and SAVE THIS SHOW before it dies a sad Death . still if the Johnny come latelys keep coughing up the Mega bucks requested and then Laud the paltry show put on , do you seriously think your going to get a better show next time ?, yea right ....
yes recession is here , my income is down 20% a year , fewer ac at shows ?, oh yea thats why I got a 50 % refund on my card for tickets bought on the strenght of a Show which did not turn out as advertised . Trade description act comes to mind .
if you are happy with what you got for what you paid , well en good , i most certainly am not .
anyone from RIAT READING care to comment ?. anybody got creative sujestions ?. no point shooting the messenger . if you only went on Sunday how would you feel ?.
we still have old migs and su 22s flying in Europe , why cant we have some fly at RIAT , WHY ?.

Andy Skarbinski said on the 30-Jul-2010 at 17:36

For those moaners out there, can I ask just one question? Do you think RIAT actually do not invite certain aircraft for some reason or could it be that they are invited and perhaps the air forces/governments themselves say no. I know this may be radical thoughts but perhaps that is the reason certain aicraft did not attend. Nothing to do with RIAT.

If you are really that upset please do as you say and talk with your feet. Do not attend. if I went to the cinema and had a bad experience I would not go back.

Steve O brien said on the 30-Jul-2010 at 17:48

Again , People miss the point
the Romanian AF agreed !! to attend , did you not see the BIG NEWS ITEM ON THE RIAT PAGE . MIG 21 TO DISPLAY AT RIAT !! . they werent grounded by tech reasons , there flying at other airshows in Europe .They just didnt attend and no reason was put forward . anybody Actually know why as opposed to guessing ?

Ian said on the 30-Jul-2010 at 20:48

Steve O'Brien,

I applaud your squaddie credentials, they really show through here.

Please stop shouting, we get your point, which frankly could have been made more effectively and more subtly, with fewer words. Please heed the point others are politely making to you. These are indeed difficult times, or services and that of other countries, are committed like never before, and budgets are strained equally. RIAT officials do all they can to give a very diverse public the show they expect and deserve, not just to pander to intense aviation enthusiasts, who actually make up a very small percentage of the paying audience - this is true, RIAT have carried out several very detailed surveys to understand thier audience.

I so happy that next year, you will be able to causally shrug at the attendence of the Raptor, A400M and the likes. You clearly have no understanding of the diplomatic, administrative and inter-service negotiations that have to take place over a very long period for these aircraft and thier crews to attend for your pleasure.

Steve, I have a suggestion for you. Instead of just mindlessly critising, take some time and effort to research just what efforts are made to authorise a foreign pilot to display in the U.K., or to organise accomodation for 3000 plus military personnel (a sample figure).

For anyone else who is interested, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend at RIAT, a great improvement over last year. Well done.

Steve O brien said on the 30-Jul-2010 at 23:22

What do you think? Does it still represent value for money? Is it still the world’s premier military airshow? What could be done to improve it? Tell us below!

Oh yee of little Faith and gentle persuasion , read on no futher , you do so of your own free will

Thats a cut from above , a discussion thread , that what this is supposed to be . each entitled to a view . i didnt call anyone names , moaner or anything else . several of you missed a lot of the points I made , thats fine you come at this with your own blinkers on . so ,
how does one justify to ones son , the effort made to attend on sunday ? for what was offered , I had to try . i am well aware of the breakdown of those who attend . if one read my previous psoting correctly , you would have noticed my sorrow for those who only attended on the sunday , Mostly families . if theres an f 22 and a 400 at next years show .
Are all ex squadies Mindless airshow attendees ? thanks for that , cheap swipe .
I have spent days and nights all this week with friends going over the post mortem of this show , you would not like what i have heard from others if you think im moaning . you dont want to hear it and you dont want me to go about it , fair enough , but remember enough squadies died for free speach and will do so in future , I excersise that right now , who amonst you deny me that right ?.
i am not an Anorak spotter , i did not buy an ac check list at the show , i have never collected tail codes , But,( Sorry for the big letters just trying to stop the rant before your blood pressure rises to high ) its my view that RIAT doesnt give a monkeys about the ordinary paying public . 2 years ago , Friday , flypast queen in attendance on base , Great any public allowed in ?, nope any public transport to RAF Fairford ?, nope, well get the bus from Swindon to Lechlade, get a taxi out to the base fence . Sorry mate no taxis available in Lechlade , shanksmare cross country to the threshold and back , oh thats right , its raining , monsoon rain for those who werent out in it . there was 1 german and 1 austrian myself and my son . then the shows canx . what did you do that weekend , did you see the flypast how did you get out there ?. gee i wonder if that might have coloured my views .
pilots dont want to live in tents , not even for a show weekend , too rough on the senses a bit like my e mails it seems .
it would be worth people listening to the radio traffic of the show weekend , ie the KC 135 pilot calling up several times after busting guts to snag fix and being told yes canx , display canx . is her base commander going to sanction a return for more of the same next year ? , but hey the 2 adults and 2.5 kid familly at the show wont know that will they .
im afraid some people just do not want to see whats going on here . i cant fix it , i cant put up a pilot or groundcrew for a week , i cant sponser a flight from a Pakistan Mirage squadron . what I can do is make a few points in the hope , misguided it seems , that someone might , just might think of the punter , not the BAES employee , nor the MACH 7 and A HALF member , nor the whatever you wana call it Chalet , invitee .
just a guy , with his son who wants to see some planes fly . sooner rather than later this will be just a disstant memory for all of us .
the chatroom about SLUGS on your lettuce , you will be in without me ,
those of you actually expecying a 22 and 400 next year , please put 20 quid in a charity of your choice when they dont show rather than placing a bet with me , coz i dodnt want your money . RIAT does .......

Jason said on the 18-Aug-2010 at 16:46

Please, if you do take up the offer to work for free for a few days supporting a great cause and giving up your own precious time could you do me a favour?

Please, please, please don't get involved with any publications or anything that requires basic spelling skills. I don't see why people always seem to let standards slip just because this is the internet.

CENTUARY? That’s not even the correct spelling of the mythical beast.
DIMM? Sorry it’s dim, and that’s quite appropriate I suppose in this context.
HERK? Everyone knows its Herc, its short for Hercules you know.

"Vulcan was very tame". I have a great idea, why dont they release all flying limitations and allow the guys to really show you what it can do? I will tell you why, its because its a vintage aircraft, paid for by charitable donations, maintained and flown by volunteers. They would rather it wasn't stressed out to the point that it can't be flown again just so you can see it do a bloody great wingover. The fact that its flying at all is a miracle. Its the same reason the BBMF aircraft are limited to around 50 hours a year and they have an organisation like the RAF supporting at least the crews and engineers in their love of the flight. It's bloody expensive for them to even show up, never mind give you one thing less in what seems a list of one thousand to moan about.

Rants I can live with, its unavoidable as most people who write in somewhere, send a letter or spew into a chat site online are usually there looking for somewhere to vent. You could at least spell check it though so everyone doesn’t take you for a COMPLETE idiot.

Mike said on the 8-Nov-2010 at 18:29

I was one of the 2000 volunteers for the event and am really pleased to know people enjoyed it ^^ despite the weather on sunday D: As to who-ever didn't enjoy it, ah well, pleanty more airshows out there, albiet smaller ;)

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