153,000 visitors flocked to the Royal Air Force base at Fairford, UK, 110 miles west of London, from the 8th-10th July to watch the Royal International Air Tattoo. Prince William, an Airforce graduate and helicopter pilot, was there accompanied by his wife, Kate Middleton and their three-year-old son to witness what is nothing less than the biggest military airshow in the world.
More than 230 aircraft from 24 different countries were on display. The F-35 carried out its first public demonstration flight, a rare chance to see the fighter jet fly at full speed only to make a vertical landing, just like a helicopter.
Amongst the other fighter jets, like the MiG-29, the Rafale, the Mirage 2000 or the F-16, the F-22 Raptor caused a sensation. Lockheed Martin has produced 187 of these for the US Air Force. Capable of flying at nearly 1500 mph, the American stealth aircraft has no qualms about busting speed limits.
On the helicopter side of things, Boeing-Bell brought their CV-22 Osprey. This ten-year-old aircraft has tiltable rotors and is a hybrid half helicopter, half military transport plane. It’s used by American special forces for in and ex-filtration missions.
To top it all, the Royal Air Force aerobatic patrol, the Red Arrows, flew in formation alongside an F-35 and two Eurofighter Typhoons. The Red Arrows then carried out breathtaking acrobatic figures. Pure showmanship.