Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Royal International Air Tattoo 2010

Just a few pics from last weekend's Fairford Air Show, the largest of its kind in Europe. Sarah and I went along with my cousin Paul, who is very knowledgeable on the subject of aviation and was a great guide. He also got us into the exclusive Civil Service enclosure - free tea and coffee all day and a laminated pass! ( I'm easily pleased. ) The weather was quite grey unfortunately ( as pictures show ) but we still had a great day.

The first two pictures are of the Avro Vulcan B2, "The Spirit Of Great Britain". This venerable Cold Warrior has been painstakingly restored to full flight capacity and was absolutely stunning to watch taking to the air.

Next up, another iconic ( and infamous ) product of the Cold War, the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress. Watch the skies!

Bang up to date now, with the Typhoon F2 Eurofighter, a truly awesome piece of kit, which performed its own fantastic display and also a "heritage flight" with the Supermarine Spitfire LFIXc. This was the climax of the day's programme and brought a real lump to the throat.

This beast is the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, a surprisingly nimble transport plane.

The Swiss Acrobatic Team in Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs, the second best team of the day before the French and the Jordanians, but beaten by a certain patriotic crew.....

The nose of the B-52.....

.....and two strange people posing in front of it.

And here they are: the Red Arrows, the RAF's Display Team in their BAe Hawk T1/T1As, the finest display team in the world.

Another shot of the Vulcan, graceful but deadly in flight, with bomb bay doors open, but thankfully no bombs :-)

And finishing with the Red Arrows, bringing a bit of colour to the grey English skies.

Possibly the biggest hit of the show was the awesome Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor, star of Transformers and Iron Man. Unfortunately I haven't got any really good photos of this incredible plane..... mostly 'cos it was so damn fast! Suffice it to say the Raptor was an unbelievably loud, exciting, thunderous bolt from the blue ( well, grey... ) and came complete with a cheesy commentary from an over-excited USAF captain/carnival barker. There's plenty of footage of the Raptor on YouTube if you want to check out its stunning power and speed.

We'll definitely have to go back next year, for the show's 40th anniversary. Let's hope for some blue sky next time around :-)


DEZMOND said...

the sight of fighter airplanes always gives me creeps. Probably because they were dropping bombs over my head and killing innocent children and people around me for almost four months back in 1999.

cerebus660 said...

I hope I didn't upset you with this post, Dezmond. Sitting here in my comfortable English home, it's easy just to focus on the aesthetic and historic qualities of these war machines, and not to think of their practical uses. Obviously the horrors of the Balkan wars are still fresh in the minds of thousands of Europeans, and people like me can only count themselves lucky never to have experienced such distressing times.

DEZMOND said...

I didn't mean the civil war, but NATO (UK and US) bombing of Serbia in 1999.

cerebus660 said...

Yeah, I did realise you meant NATO forces. The conflicts in your part of the world in the 90's were so complex that people on the outside ( rightly or wrongly ) tend to lump them all together under a "Balkans wars" phrase. I hope I didn't come across as being ignorant, but I'm obviously no expert :-(

DEZMOND said...

the main problem is the fact that we had just one civil war (at the beginning of the 90's), which was pretty much influenced by western powers who wanted to control this strategically important part of the world in a better way, since the Balkans is the frontier between East and West, Christianity and Islam.

The NATO bombing was a horrible atrocity against a civilized and modern country committed for the same reason as the above mentioned war. But it's no wonder all of that if confusing to you and most people from UK and USA, since western countries did use media propaganda to paint the wrong and distorted image of these regions as the poor, savage and barbaric one. Actually, Serbia, Croatia, Vojvodina ... are just the same modern and civilized countries as England, America or Canada are. But when you paint a different picture over at news channels and in the press, showing just poor villages and rural areas, it's easier to convince the western public that throwing bombs on such countries isn't a big deal.

Never trust the things you see and read in your papers and on the TV. The modern warfare always starts with political propaganda.


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