16 JULY 2018
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A record crowd of 185,000 people last weekend enjoyed a feast of flying as the Royal International Air Tattoo staged international celebrations at RAF Fairford marking the Royal Air Force’s Centenary.
In total, 302 aircraft, from 43 air arms representing 30 nations attended the airshow, of which 121 took part in the flying display.
Flypasts included a Lancaster bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly in formation with the squadron’s current aircraft, the Tornado, and the RAF’s new state-of-the-art F-35B Lightning II.
Other highlights included displays by the US Air Force Heritage Flight; the Ukrainian Su-27 Flanker; the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 Hornet; the French Aeronavale Rafale; the Italian Frecce Tricolori aerobatic display team and the Red Arrows. Visitors on Saturday watched a flypast by a US Air Force B-2A Spirit stealth bomber making a round trip from its base in Missouri.
Prior to the airshow, history was made as the first transatlantic flight by a civilian-registered Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) touched down, ushering in a new era in unmanned aviation.
The SkyGuardian is the latest version of the General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted air system. Capable of flying for up to 40hr at a time at altitudes of up 40,000ft, the aircraft will be known in the RAF version as ‘Protector’.
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