Our annual bus trip to RAF Fairford, for the Royal International Air Tattoo, took place in the weekend of 15 and 16 July 2023. Hundreds of enthousiasts joined us to visit a show that keeps delivering a large number of very interesting aircraft.
It cannot come as a surprise, that we started our bus trips to the Royal International Air Tattoo started on the Friday (14 July 2023) before the show weekend. Three coaches “took off” from their starting positions, taking the first participants on board. As they passed through the Netherlands and Belgium, slowly all available seats were filling up. Eventually they all three arrived at Jabekke in the evening, where fresh drivers entered. The ones that would take to Fairford.
It was Saturday, 15 July, already when the ferry set course for Dover. After disembarking, the drive towards Swindon was a familiar one and we have enough time to take a break underway. Still, we lived up to our reputation by entering the coach parking lot as the first ones. It was a good thing that we arrived early, since that meant we could get in (the short) line for the security check at the entrance straight away. These checks were a bit ridiculous this year, confiscating the smallest and minute things that seemed irrelevant.
After passing this hurdle, the fun could start though. An interesting RIAT this year, with Spanish and Italian Navy Harriers. With a Hellenic Air Force F-4E and a large number of interesting Italian Air Force aircraft. The German Tornado’s with the A400 was an interesting item, just too bad the Me-262 didn’t fly on the Saturday. The weather eventually turned our to be a lot better than expected. The forecast projected a fair amount of rain, but in the end we were only subjected to a couple of instants with wet stuff coming from the skies.
Even though we were organising our bus trips to RAF Fairford for the 13th time this year, it is never exactly the same as the year before. This year, the (unasked for) changes came from the ferry company that decided not to run our regular crossing from Dover to Calais in the night. This resulted in an extra couple of hours on the return journey. Eventually, everybody was dropped off again on Sunday 16 July with many of them contemplating their next visit to RIAT in 2024.
On Saturday, 15 July, as well, a double-decker bus with 74 enthusiasts left for a two day stay in the United Kingdom. Well on time we arrived in Calais, where check-in for the crossing was smoothly completed.