RIAT 19, RAF Fairford, 21st July 2019

24th September 2019
Written by: Rob Slusar

Sunday marked the final day of RIAT 2019. It also marked the last of my run of 6 air show days in a 3 week period. 

After the parking shambles of day 2, we arrived a the show with no hassle and set about finding a spot to enjoy the last day of fast jets.

The Show – Day 3

As is often the case with the Sunday, it wasn’t as busy as Saturday. This meant we were able to get closer to the front of the crowd than we had on Saturday.

We started by wandering around the showground and picking up some more “airshow tat”. My collection of flight patches seems to grow by the day. After having some breakfast and a quick cup of tea we made our way to our favoured spot. There was no sign of the worlds tallest man or the man with the worlds tallest tripod. We did, however, have a group of people using step ladders right at the front of the crowd line.

The flying was similar to the day before, but a number of acts such as the Belgians and French had returned home for displays on their own turf so the lineup was juggled around a bit. It largely went on without any issues apart from the US F-16 managing to pull a move which caused his rear stabilizer to delaminate, leading to a suspension period whilst they safely returned the jet.

There was a lot of talk before the show about there being an extra special flypast on Sunday to make up for the lack of a NATO flypast or Reds with BA Flypast. This flypast eventually became the A400M flying with The Blades display team. A most random join up which seemed to fall flat with a lot of the crowd.

One of the highlights, as she often is, was the BBMF Lancaster who joined us today after having a technical issue in transit the day before. It’s always special to see this old girl. I believe she is due some serious maintenance work and as such she has been sparingly used this season.

The Spanish Harriers closed the show with their amazing pairs display. Fitting I suppose that a jet so well linked with the RAF would end a weekend of flying. It would also be the final flight by one of the pilots who would be retiring after the show.

The Photos

The weather was much the same as Saturday only warmer with no prospect of rain. The clouds allowed for some dramatic backdrops to the photos.

I felt having had some constant practice over the month that I had my eye in, so had a lot of images to get through when I got home. Here are the ones I kept.

Final Thoughts

Just like that, RIAT was over. We returned to the car and got out of the car park with no traffic issues whatsoever and started on our journey home.

Even now a couple of months on I feel conflicted about what I thought of this years show.

There were some incredible displays, some amazing aircraft, but something about it felt like it was missing. The buzz around the showground was lower than normal. They layout of the static seemed all over the place and it wasn’t always clear where various air forces stands were located.

The weather on Friday didn’t help that’s for sure, but honestly, we haven’t had a good year with the weather at air shows in 2019.

After the big events for 2017 and 2019, I guess it was going to be hard to top it this year. It has, however, got me questioning whether I will return next year or give it a miss.

So that’s it from RIAT this year. You can catch up with the previous 2 days here and here.

Sorry, it has taken me so long to get round to posting these. I have been moving hosts and trying to rebuild the website (still ongoing), but hopefully, things should return to normal soon.

As always, thanks for looking.

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