The sequence of yearly coach trips to the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford was not interrupted this year again. Since 2009 4Aviation is sending coaches to this show every year, and we did this again in 2015. While preparing for the departure of the coaches (for a visit on Saturday, or for a visit on Sunday and Monday) the strikes in Calais were threatening to endanger things. There was no guarantee al all that the ferries would actually sail, let alone according to a certain schedule.
Despite this the first two coaches headed for England on Friday 17 July in the late afternoon. On arrival in Calais there were indeed disruptions and delays. Fortunately, the delay did not lead to any problems and the arrival at Fairford was in time. There we also met the participants of the group that had been touring the United Kingdom on a coach for a week already. All were able to enjoy what RIAT had to offer for the entire day. Also during the return journey there were annoying delays, but eventually everybody arrived back home safe on Sunday.
The coach that departed on Saturday evening (for the trip during which both the Sunday show as the Monday departures were visited) was also faced with administrative delays in Calais, but managed to arrive in England a little ahead of the original schedule. Sunday night this group enjoyed a night in a hotel in Swindon. They drove back to Dover, on their way home, on Monday late in the afternoon. This return journey was pretty much according to the predicted schedule.
This year’s show was very nice again. The total number of aircraft appeared to be in line with previous editions. The visit of two Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force P-1 was announced very late, but certainly one of the highlights. This also applies to the two Spanish SF-5Ms and the two Davis Monthan AFB A-10s. That the Vulcan was present this year, during her last year, was appreciated by very many people. The fly-by with the Red Arrows was an awesome sight. The Royal Air Force was present with a decent number of aircraft again this year and had even sent some of the aircraft that were carrying a special colour scheme. An interesting change was that some of the fighters that took part in the air show were parked at the static side of the air base and could be photographed perfectly.
All in all this was another good show with a wide range of participants and a very cool first visit. Next year the show will be the week before the Farnborough International Air Show again, so that should lead to some interesting visitors again.