2013 Air Shows

Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) July 20 and 21, 2013

Location: RAF Fairford, UK
Admission: £43 to £203 .00 per adult some internet discounts available
Parking: Free, but be prepared for a long walk
Value: EXCELLENT (if the weather cooperates)
Buy a patch!
The 2013 Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in Fairford, United Kingdom, is the biggest military air show in the world. Organizers, especially private organizers, are being very creative with air shows, because many nations are managing their military budgets more closely. The 2013 Royal International Air Tattoo air show, was their first air show in history without US participation due to the United States’ sequestration program.
Enthusiasts from all over the world anticipate with keen interest just who will attend the Air Tattoo, as it excels in the almost non-stop flying displays. Organizers were delighted to report the show was sold-out for Saturday and Sunday. This year, approximately 130,000 visitors were rewarded with breath-taking aerobatic and static displays with a variety of aircraft; fast jets, aerial refuelers, transport aircraft, helicopters vintage warbirds and even some exotics rarely seen. An Estonian Air Force, L39 Albatros made its Air Tattoo debut in the flying display.

Approximately 19 countries with about 230 aircraft were at the event, either flying or in the static display area. Also in attendance were 30 overseas Air Chiefs and 49 senior UK military representatives.

The line-up of aircraft was outstanding! There were two classic Air Tattoo set-pieces portraying the 'Best of British.' On Saturday, the RAF Red Arrows flew with the British Airways Airbus A380, and then Sunday, the Airbus Military A400M Atlas. The Airbus 380 was the first that were delivered to British Airways. Where, other than the Royal International Air Tattoo air show, could you see flying formations like this in the world?
In 2013, the Royal Air Force celebrated their 70th anniversary of the Dambuster raid. During WWII, aircraft from the 617 Squadron, flew special missions against the German dams located in the Ruhr Valley. Of the 133 airmen who took part, 53 were killed. On the ground, more than 1,300 people were killed when the bombs hit the German dams and flooded the Ruhr valley. A flypast was held at the RIAT to mark the anniversary of the mission, consisting of the Lancaster that was escorted by a Spitfire and a Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. After the two escorts banked off, the Lancaster was joined by a GR4 Tornado jet, flown by the current 617 "Dambusters" Squadron, RAF Lossimoth.

For Vintage Aircraft, a Hawker Sea Fury T20, Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, Corsair and a B-25 Mitchell from the Flying Bulls, completed the flying display. The Historic Jet age were represented by a Gloster Meteor T7, Folland Gnat T1, Gloster Meteor NF 11, a Jet Provost T.5, and the world’s only flying English Electric Canberra PR9, which, after many years’ restoration returned it to being airworthy.

For the aircraft enthusiast it was nirvana to see all the flying and static aircraft at RIAT 2013. Some of the rarities included the Antonov An-2 from the Estonian Air Force, which is truly a rare aircraft.
The French Army Aviation brought a SA 342M Gazelle and a Eurocopter AS 332C Super Puma. The French Air Force brought (2) Dassault Mirage F1CRs; one with a special paint scheme from ER 02.33, “Savoie,” into the static area. The helicopters and the Mirage F1’s should be retired next year. A Vickers VC-10K3 was on site from the RAF and they also flew a Lockheed Tristar. Both, will also be retired next year. The RAF displayed their new transport/tanker, the brand new Airbus A-330 Voyager. From Germany, the Luftwaffe brought a pair of Panavia Tornado ECRs; one was the Arctic Tiger from this year NATO’s Tiger Meet in Orland/Norway, and an Airbus A-310MRTT. The German Navy sent a Sea King MK41 and a specially painted Lockheed P-3C Orion from MFG 3 in Nordholz which celebrates its 100 years naval aviation in Germany.
For Exotic aircraft, there were (2) reconnaissance aircraft: one from the Greek Air Force, an Embraer EMB-145 AEW&C, 380 Mira and one from the Brazilian Air Force, an Embraer 145RS/R-99B 2/6 GAv . Also an unusual visitor in Europe was from the Royal Air Force of Oman, a Gulfstream GIV and a maritime patrol aircraft from the Portuguese Air Force, the CASA C-295 MPA , Esq 502.
The EMPTS, Empires Test Pilot School, now a part of QinetiQ, celebrated their 70th anniversary with three aircraft in the static area, one being the Avro RJ 100.
The above named aircraft are only a small sample from RIAT that a visitor could see. There were many additional attractions on the air show grounds. One highlight, the Vintage Village took visitors back to the 1930 - 1960’s era. You could listen to Madeline Brown, a 1940’s style singer, see sport cars, cockpits or, enjoy a cup of tea in their Vintage Tea Room.
There might have been less in quantity when compared to previous air shows from the past, but there was certainly quality at RIAT 2013. The static display was a mix of so many different aircraft from around the world, and the flying display was nonstop from 10am to 6pm with many airplanes that cannot be seen outside the UK.

While, we missed the United States participation this year, we’re looking forward to Air Tattoo 2014 with, hopefully, USA’s returning participation.

The following aircraft participated either as flying display or static:


  • Agusta A109BA
  • Embraer ERJ-145
  • Lockheed Martin F-16AM Fighting Falcon


  • Embraer R-99


  • A400M
  • Airbus A380
  • Alenia MC-27J Spartan
  • Auster J1N Alpha
  • BAC Jet Provost T.5
  • BAC Jet Provost T.52
  • BAE Systems 146 Srs 200
  • Beech G18S
  • Beech King Air 200
  • Beechcraft Premier 1A
  • Beechcraft T-6C
  • Boeing B-17 (Sally B)
  • Boeing Stearman (x 4)
  • Boeing-Stearman Model 75
  • Cessna Citation Bravo
  • CFM Shadow Microlight
  • Diamond DA-42 Twin Star
  • Dornier Do-228NG
  • Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil
  • Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil
  • Eurocopter EC135
  • Eurocopter EC135/145 (x3)
  • EV97 Eurostar (x 2)
  • Extra 300L (x 4)
  • Extra AE-400
  • Folland Gnat T.1
  • Fuji FA200 Aero Subaru
  • Gloster Meteor T.7
  • Grob Viking TX.1 (x2)
  • Gulfstream G450
  • Hawker Hunter T.7
  • Ikarus C42B (x 2)
  • Lockheed Super Constellation
  • North American B-25J Mitchell
  • PA-28 Arrow/Warrior
  • Partenavia P68 OB2
  • PBY-5A Catalina
  • Pilatus PC-21
  • Piper PA-23 Aztec E
  • Piper PA-28 Dakota
  • RANS S6 ES Coyote
  • Robinson R-44
  • Scottish Aviation Jetstream 31 FTB
  • Saab 2000
  • Sikorsky S-76
  • Total Eclipse 500
  • Vought F4U-4 Corsair
  • Vulcan XH558


  • CL604 Challenger
  • EH101 Merlin


  • Aero L-39C Albatros
  • Antonov An-2


  • EADS CASA C-295M
  • NHIndustries NH90 TTH


  • Alpha Jet (x8) Dassault
  • Mirage F.1CR (x2)
  • Dassault Rafale
  • Eurocopter AS 332C Super Puma
  • Eurocopter AS 555 AN Fennec
  • Transall C-160R


  • Airbus A310 MRTT
  • Panavia Tornado ECR/IDS x 2
  • Dornier Do-228
  • Lockheed P-3C Orion
  • Westland Sea King Mk41
  • Westland Sea Lynx Mk88A


  • EMB-145 AEW&C


  • Antonov An-26
  • SAAB JAS-39C/D Gripen


  • Airtech CN235M-100


  • Aermacchi MB-339PAN
  • Alenia C-27J Spartan
  • Boeing KC-767TT
  • Eurofighter EF-2000
  • Eurofighter EF-2000 x 2


  • Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules


  • Dornier Do-228
  • Boeing AH-64D Apache
  • Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules
  • Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • McDonnell Douglas KDC-10


  • Dassault Falcon 20


  • Gulfstream GIV


  • EADS CASA C-295M
  • Mikoyan MiG-29
  • M-28B1R 'Bryza'


  • Airbus Military C295M/MPA


  • SAAB JAS-39 Gripen (x2)


  • Beech 1900D
  • Dassault Falcon 900EX
  • Eurocopter AS332M1 Super Puma
  • Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer (x 10)

United Kingdom

  • AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat Mk1
  • Boeing Westland WAH-64 Longbow Apache
  • Britten-Norman Islander/Defender
  • Lynx (Mk7/Mk9A TBC)
  • AgustaWestland 109
  • Alpha Jet
  • BAE Systems Avro RJ100
  • Airbus A330 Voyager
  • BAE 146 CC.2
  • BAE Systems Hawk T1
  • BAE Systems Hawk T2 x 2
  • Beech King Air B200
  • Bell Griffin HT1
  • Boeing C-17A Globemaster III
  • Boeing Chinook
  • Eurocopter Squirrel HT1
  • Eurofighter Typhoon
  • Grob Vigilant T1
  • Hurricane
  • Lancaster
  • Lockheed L-1011 TriStar
  • Merlin
  • PanaviaTornado GR.4
  • Spitfire
  • Tucano T1
  • Typhoon FGR4
  • Vickers VC-10
  • Westland Sea King HAR Mk3
  • AW159 Wildcat HMA.2
  • Hawker Sea Fury FB.11/T.20
  • Merlin HM Mk1
  • Sea King HAR Mk5
  • Westland Lynx
Rating: 10 out of 10

Report and photography by Peter Thivessen and Wolfgang Jarisch for ASR Media LLC
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