Me and my Son Niek booked a bustour with 4-Aviation to Fairford to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo 2012 (RIAT 2012) that would take place on the 7th and the 8th of July. These dates are against tradition as normally RIAT is held in the third weekend of July. But with the upcoming Olympic Games in London starting in the end of July this move was made. This was the first time for Niek and only the second time for me we where pretty excited.

The Bus started in Nijmegen-Dukenburg and this was also the point we entered the Bus so we had first choice. We positioned ourselves in the front seats on the upper deck where we had a great view. We made some stops in Holland and Belgium where we picked some more people up. In Utrecht we where accompanied by two old friends of mine who also apparently booked with 4-Aviation. We would hang out with them the whole trip. We took the Ferry at Calais in France late in the evening to arrive about 05.00 in the morning in England. The weather was just terrible with showers most of the time. It was quite cold too. Typical English weather !

In the weeks before RIAT there where rumours that a B-2 Spirit would be put on Static Display and one actually arrived at Fairford on Thursday. Excellent. Also a Japanese KC-767J heavy tanker had arrived making Japan the 53rd nation to participate at RIAT. This year's themes where teh Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Skylift 2012. I had a list of all aircraft that arrived the days before the show so no surprices where in store. The list was pretty impressive and I think it's the best RIAT of the past 10 years. A very big plus was the fact that only a week later the Farnborough Air Show would take place so many aircraft first visited RIAT and a week later Farnborough.

At about 07.00 in the morning we arrived at Fairford and parcked our Bus in a special Parkinglot for Busses and Coaches. The weather wasn't still cooperating as we waited to enter the Airfield. At 08.00 the gates opened and allready a few thousand people entered the Airfield. First we tried to photograph the Aircraft put on Static Display. This wasn't easy as many aircraft had annoing trafficpylons standing in the way and sometimes lines going under their wings, or people behind the aircraft. And the weather wasn't still playing Ball ! Nice participants of the Static Display where the above mentioned Japanese KC-767J, a Brazilian wax, euhh? I mean C-130H, Colombian C-130H and T-90 Calima Trainer, B-2A Spirit, Polish Mi-14PL, Barksdale B-52H and a Kuwaiti L-100.

As we rushed to the runway for the airshow some demo's where allready been flown like the Russian Yak-130 and the Beech 200. We settled ourselves right in front of the flightlines. Eight jets performed Solo Displays with the Polish Mig-29 and the F/A-18F as my favourites. Furthermore a lot of English hardware was shown with a great Fly-Past of all the types in Britian's Transportfleet as part of Skylift 2012. Also majestic Vulcan XH558 flew a demo. What a beast ! Besides the always present Red Arrows this year saw the debut of two very exotic demoteams: United Arab Emirates Air Force 'Al Fursan' ('the Knights') who are flying seven Aermacchi MB-339A's, and the absolute highlight of the day being Republic of Korea Air Force 'Black Eagles' Aerobatic Team flying the Korean build T-50 'Golden Eagle'. The 'Black Eagles' won two Trophy's as best overall flying display and Best Overall Flying Demonstration. Unfortunately the Royal Saudi Air Force display team 'Saudi Hawks' flying with six Hawk Mk.65 Trainers cancelled their show due to unforseen circumstances. Another highlight where 4 (!!) MV-22B Osprey's with two performing a demo.

Despite the bad weather we had a great day and this year's RIAT was propably the best of the last 10 years !