In 2015 it was time again for me and Niek to visit the biggest military airshow in the world: the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Fairford. The theme was 'Securing the skies: past, present and future'. Also the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain was on the programme. The organisation always succeeds in getting very interesting visitors from overseas and this edition was no exception ! Absolute highlight were a pair of Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force Kawasaki P1's. One was for the static display (serialed 5507) while the other was flying the display (serialed 5504). Fortunately these were two new ones for me as I allready photographed 5502 during my visit to Atsugi back in 2011. Other 'surprises' were two Spanish AF SF-5B's making their RIAT debut, two A-10C Warthogs belonging to Davis Monthan stationed 355th FW (deployed to mainland Europe as part of a TSP), the first Poseidon ever (P-8A 167956 of VX-1) and the RIAT debut of a Special Forces Hercules and Osprey in the form of MC-130J Commando II 01-5733 from the 67th SOS and CV-22B Osprey 12-0062 from the 7th SOS.

This was the first RIAT in which the spectators were able to see the strapping of the pilots into their jets for the flying display. The aircraft participating in the flying display were parcked in the so called 'Fast Jet Display Aircraft live Area' at the western end of the static show. Parcked here were amongst others the Greek F-16's, French Mirage 2000's, Belgian F-16's, Polish Mig-29's and RAF Typhoons. They could be photographed in great conditions with the sun in the back and in operational circumstances. I hope this becomes a steady feature for the future.

The flying display had some very nice displays this year. Off course there were packs of WWII planes buzzing around as this was the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. A flypast of Supermarine Spitfires with Hawker Hurricanes with two BF-109's and a sole Bristol Blenheim. Also within the theme was a flying display of Spit P7350 with Tifi ZK348 as the 'Synchro 75' routine. First appearances were the Greek AF F-16C known as Team Zeus and the French AF with their two Mirage 2000's synchropair known as Ramex Delta. A sad moment in aviation was also on the programme as legendary Avro Vulcan XH558 performed for the last time on RIAT. She is due to stop flying as there are not enough funds to let her fly any more. A legendary flypast was conducted by her together with the Red Arrows.

As allready mentioned the TTTE or The Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment was celebrating their 35th anniversary. Due to that fact three Tornado's (An Italian, German and British one) were participating in the static display as well as three Tornado's flying a display together. Other displays included a British Apache, the Red Arrows, the Swiss PC-7 team, a CV-22B Osprey, a Slovenian PC-9, a Czech L159, British Chinook, Czech Hind, an Airbus A400M, Team Aquila, the Royal Jordanian Falcons, the always superb Polish Mig-29 and a pair of British Hawks. Concluding the show was Patrouille de France. By that time we were walking back to our coaches for our journey back home (with a big delay in Dover by the way).

In all it was definitely worth the trip and I am looking forward for yet another episode of RIAT to attend. Maybe 2016 ?