or three days in July, aircraft old and new took to the skies over RAF Fairford and thrilled crowds of nearly 200,000 people at the Royal International Air Tattoo 2018, in a spectacular international tribute to celebrate a century of Royal Air Force history.
With the first day of the three-day airshow falling on Friday 13th, it was highly likely that something would go wrong – and so it proved. After weeks of unbroken sunshine in an unseasonably hot British summer, the inevitable happened. At the most inopportune moment, thunderstorms rolled in and the heavens opened, forcing the cancellation of the centrepiece of the show, the centenary flypast.
The flypast, scheduled for 2:15 on Friday afternoon was to have featured fifty of the RAF’s aircraft including three of the new F-35B Lightning and a unique formation of twenty-two Typhoons forming the shape 100. Disappointing though it was for show visitors to miss this once in a lifetime event, safety must come first and there
were many more special formations and flypasts throughout the show weekend – something that RIAT visitors have come to expect over the years.
On Saturday, spectators were treated to a flypast by the USAF’s Stealth Bomber, the B2 Spirit, making a round trip from its home base in Missouri.