RIAT 19, RAF Fairford, 20th July 2019

19th September 2019
Written by: Rob Slusar

After the washout of day 1, we enjoyed a meal and a few beers in the pub next to our Air BnB before retiring for an early start. We awoke on the Saturday with a much more positive view on the weather and set off to Fairford for day 2 of RIAT.

The Show – Day 2

Day 2 differed greatly from day 1. More of the showground was open, it was more vibrant and the weather was remarkably better than we had experienced just 24 hours earlier.

It wasn’t a perfect day, it was cloudy and cold at times, with sun and warmth at others. To top it off, there was still the threat of rain and/or storms. As it turned out, it stayed dry and the flying was unaffected by the weather.

There was some great flying throughout the day, however, a number of technical issues cut some of the displays throughout. The Patrouille de France, for example, had to cut short their display when one of the jets suffered an issue.

The day had been built up for 2 special flypasts. One for the 70th anniversary of NATO, the other the 100th of British Airways.

The NATO flypast was ultimately slimmed down due to operational reasons and technical problems. The NATO E-3 which flew the day before was grounded, as was the highly anticipated German Tornado. Other planes were unable to join due to deployment. The Red Arrows flypast with the BOAC schemed BA 747 went off without a hitch and was one of the highlights of the day.

The main highlights came from the Spanish Harrier pair and the Romanian MiG-21.

The Photos

The 2nd day was 100% better for photography. It was dry, the light was more predictable, and when it was cloudy it added drama rather than a dull grey backdrop.

We found ourselves a spot just back from the line only to have a chap with the worlds biggest tripod set up in front of us. We moved only to get stood behind the worlds tallest man. Sods Law I guess.

I felt a lot happier with the output of my camera. The more I do this, the harder it gets to find shots which are instantly thrown away and it takes a lot longer to edit. Here is a batch of my favourites, I hope you like them.

Final Thoughts

Saturday was immeasurably better than Friday. It was dry, planes flew and it was a better introduction for my first-timer brother than the water park the day before. We had a great day overall, and then we got to the car park.

I am not often one to complain about car parks at air shows. They are busy and that is to be expected. This time, however, it took us 2 hours just to get out of the car park. People were arguing, twitter was ablaze with criticism and the travel guy on RIAT FM sounded like he wanted to go home. Eventually, we escaped onto roads which were largely clear and headed back to the pub before packing our stuff ready for the 3rd and final day.

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