RIAT 2015 — Europe’s biggest air show!
RIAT is the Royal International Air Tatoo — simply Europe’s biggest of air shows and takes place at RAF Fairford near Gloucestershire UK. More than 150,000 attended last week to see antique aircraft, historical airplanes, the newest in aviation technology, one of the last flights of the sole flying Avro Vulcan as well as premier flight demonstration teams. Nick Horrox and Bill Ramsey provided observation as well as insight for this post while Alex Horrox lent his excellent images.
Bill Ramsey, retired RAF and Red Arrow pilot, was on the Vulcan flight crew at RIAT 2015. He advises the Red Arrows fly with air brakes (speed brakes as they are known in the U.S.) extended at lower air speeds for two significant reasons. First, the aircraft can be flown at higher power settings which increase throttle responsiveness (formation flying calls for large and quick power changes). Second, the turbulence aft of the panel distributes the smoke favorably (favourably in the UK). Bill is also Technical Project Research and Development Consultant with The People’s Mosquito.
Bill Ramsey was piloting the Vulcan during the formation flypast (fly by in the U.S.) with Kev Rumens acting copilot — with a flypast air speed of 270 knots. The Red Arrows used their air brakes while the Vulcan did not require its air brakes (and he jests they would make for a worse image if extended). Vastly dissimilar aircraft are a wonder to witness flying in formation, are they not!
The People’s Mosquito (TPM) is the innovative project to rebuild a de Havilland Mosquito — “The Wooden Wonder” — and place it in the public trust — making it the only non privately owned flying Mossie. TPM was well represented and well received at the air show which is unsurprising since fund raising is accelerating though only in its second year. Progress is significant as was shown in TPM’s display tent with some of the remains of Mosquito RL249 (the specific aircraft being built anew from the ground up as the data plate survives), the donor airframe and new wing ribs cut by Aerowood Ltd. [See much more information by using “Peoples Mosquito” in the search window. Information on the wing ribs, the wood and the cutting for example.]