Went to RIAT Air Tattoo at Fairford on saturday - fantastic day out and the best airshow ive ever been to. I spoke to a bunch of the pilots. Met a very nice U2 pilot who spent the last six years flying Orions out of Honolulu (nice), and watched him take the mickey out of an 15Echo jock by telling him that sometimes speed is not all important, and he can get it up higher than the other guy by a large distance. The 15Echo jockey said something insulting, so the U2 guy said "Yeah but I like to watch - everything" I laughed my ass off. I asked a guy stood out in front of the Bone about why we never see the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels in this country. He said that they didnt want to be humiliated by the Red Arrows, Patroulle de France, and Frecce Tricolore - is that true?
I met some Irish folk flying CASA twins in maritime patrolduties - (one was an absolutely stunning redhead) and spoke to some Germans about the frankly amazing paintjobs on their Tornadoes, and spoke to a bunch of the French lot. They are lovely. Not at all arrogant or condescending, just really nice folks - spent ages chatting to a Rafale pilot - he was a top bloke and not at all brash. Anyway, the Red Arrows put on an excellent display and were as good as ive seen them in a long time. I didnt think anyone could top the Brits display. By far and away the best solo display was the guy in the Mirage 2000 - he was excellent. Its always nice to see the Mirage, i like it, its a good airplane, and good looking too, but never seen it really impress me like it did on saturday. The typhoon was pretty good, so was the MiG29, and the dutch F16Charlie was very good too, but the Mirage was excellent - really top notch.
Then I saw the Patrouelle de France do their thang as the last of the flying programme - they have been pretty ropey at times when ive seen them and never been as good as the Red Arrows, and ive always rated the Spaniards with CASA101's better, so wasnt expecting such a top display - they were excellent and were it not for the red number five making a mess of a break and roll in towards the end they would have been a lot better than our boys, but i cant state this enough - they were amazing. Tight formations, good spacing, well timed and beautifully executed breaks, and some really impressive duo stuff that I have not seen before. Really good stuff.
Anyone else see them?