Todays Royal International Air Tattoo was an event to remember. The theme of the three day show was the Red Arrows 50th display season, and it didn’t disappoint. Supporting the ‘Reds’ celebration were the French Aerobatic team the Patrouille de France, the Italiian team, the Frecce Tricolori, the Swiss team, the Patrouille Suisse, the Breitling Jet Team, the Orlik Aerobatic Team (Zespół Akrobacyjny “ORLIK”) from Poland, along with a rich variety of international performers and prominent among them were the Baltic Air Forces, the focus of this site. Squadron Leader Jim Turner, Red 1 and the leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is excited to be at RAF Fairford this weekend. He says: “RIAT is always very busy for us, with lots of people and plenty of interest in the team, so we’re delighted to be here, as ever.” Leading the Red Arrows in the team’s 50th display season is a massive privilege and one that Jim is quick to acknowledge. “I was incredibly proud to be chosen to lead the team, but to be doing so in the 50th season is absolutely fantastic,” he explains. “There is so much love for the team and everywhere go we see that and we get mobbed and, if anything, this year has been even crazier than normal.” But surely that level of adoration isn’t a surprise for the Reds any more? Jim laughs: “Well, I even get recognised on street from time to time and people come up to me and say ‘Are you in the Red Arrows, you’re the leader aren’t you!’ That certainly didn’t happen the first time I was in the team.” Celebrating a 50th season means that the Red Arrows’ schedule is busier than ever, and Jim notes just how hectic the team has been. “We’ve flown 25 displays in the past three weeks,” he says, “and this remains a very busy time for us, especially with RIAT, although we soon get ten days off which gives everyone on the team the chance to recharge and get ready for the second half of the season.” Jim adds: “I’m very glad that we are going to the airshow in Payerne later this year to help mark the 100th anniversary of the Swiss Air Force and I am delighted to see the Patrouille Suisse here at RIAT, joining us as we celebrate our birthday, as well as their own. We love all the European display teams and are most grateful to all those that are here this weekend.” source: RIAT website Among the other guests at the show was a strong contingent from the Baltic States. Attendees are listed in the gallery below;
This year was a great success. The Finnish Air Force/ilmavoimat NH-90 proved extremely popular last year. Hopefully, we can look forward to seeing the Suomen Ilmavoimat in the UK very soon. Richard Reynolds.