The world's largest military airshow is 245 planes worth of power

CNET | 7/28/2019 | Geoffrey Morrison
SweetStuff33 (Posted by) Level 3
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The 2019 Royal International Air Tattoo had some incredible aircraft.

Ominous clouds loom over RAF Fairford, an airbase in southwest England. Tickets scanned and bags checked, my friends and I step from under a tent onto the tarmac and taxiways of this massive airport. Already we can see the T-tails of the larger aircraft as we follow the crowd closer to the flight line. The 2019 Royal International Air Tattoo is underway.

RIAT - Air - Show - World - Aircraft

First staged in 1971, the RIAT is the largest military air show in the world, and one of the largest overall. Though there are some civilian aircraft on display, it's mostly military aircraft. This year's show has many massive C-17, C-27 and C-130 cargo planes and multiple air refueling tankers, plus small trainer jets, midsize fast interceptors and large attack aircraft. Eurofighters, Saabs, and Tornados aren't too surprising to see, but a state-of-the-art F-35 Lightning II sure is, as are the MiG-21s and a Su-27s. Over 245 aircraft from 25 nations are being exhibited at the show. I spent two days exploring it all.

The sun continually battled the clouds on Friday and mostly lost. The sky would occasionally dump a deluge of cold water, causing everyone to scatter underneath wings and into cargo holds. Most of the larger aircraft were open to the public, and most of those even let you check out the cockpit. Quite a thrill for your intrepid reporter who usually admires aircraft in museums, where interiors and cockpits are rarely accessible (though sometimes…).

Weather - Aerobatics - Demonstrations - Hover - Maneuver

The weather also limited or cancelled several of the planned aerobatics and flyby demonstrations. We still got to see an F-35 hover and maneuver, and the big CH-47 Chinook helicopter move with surprising grace.

Fortunately Sunday, my second day, had sunny weather. More aircraft were on display as well, including a tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey, the...
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