US Military Answers Internet Demands By Sending Dozens Of Aircraft To Royal International Air Tattoo

posted in: Airshows | 2

US Navy Blue Angels

The United States Air Force announced an unprecedented increase in airshow support today with the unveiling of the Royal International Air Tattoo Supporting Unit Coordination Command Squadron. The Royal International Air Tattoo, better known as RIAT, is a large military-themed airshow held every summer at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England. The new command will arrange demonstrations by all current US Air Force aircraft at the airshow.

The special unit came into being as an answer to international demand in the form of incessant comments left by RIAT supporters on any and every aviation-related internet post since mid-2017. Their sense of entitlement and lack of any sort of moderation impressed Air Force leaders. Unit Commander Colonel (Col.) Walter Haut explains:

“It is our mission to demonstrate US air power to the world, and we intend to do so by sending everything we have to a single airshow that isn’t even on American soil. Every time the Air Force wondered how to best showcase our technological might, we were immediately inundated with comments begging us to ‘come to RIAT.’ While initially shallow and whimsical of an idea to entertain, the frequency of these comments became a decidedly convincing argument that we simply couldn’t say no to any longer.”

RIAT Comments

“We’re excited to fly for the crowd at RIAT,” said Lieutenant William H. Blanchard, 2018 demonstration pilot for the newly re-activated F-15E Strike Eagle Demo Team East. “It means a lot to me to represent the US Air Force; I remember when I was a young child from Nebraska and my parents took me to see the Thunderbirds perform at an airshow in France. It inspired me to join the service and learn to fly – hopefully I can pass that on to a few of the younger Brits in the RIAT crowd to join the US Armed Forces.”

Other branches of the US military are also preparing numerous demonstrations of their own, pulling aircraft from US airshows and even from combat missions to support RIATSUCCS performances. The US Army has postponed a deployment of the 82nd Aviation Regiment’s newest AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to prepare them for the upcoming display.

US Army AH-64 ApacheUSAF F-15E Strike Eagle

The US Navy Blue Angels are also assuming RIAT-related roles, as they will be debuting their new UCAV aircraft at the event. These jets have been a topic of hot discussion since the leak of their transition in 2015, but this will not be the only new technology debuting to an overseas public before the national introduction.

RIATSUCCS Unit Patch

In a Lockheed Martin press conference, a representative was quoted as having said “We fully support and applaud the US military’s efforts to demonstrate abroad. In an act of solidarity, Lockheed will be sending two of their latest prototype aircraft for their official debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo. We will also be sending a fleet of brand new F-35 Lightning IIs to perform a mass-flypast with the Air Force counterparts to open the show.”

In response to this unprecedented move, the Royal Air Force announced plans to reciprocate the USAF’s gesture of friendship by sending a single C-17 transport to an airshow in the US. Unfortunately, the visit was immediately canceled.

USAF Thunderbirds Soar Over Paris, Normandy Beach, And More In Preparation For Bastille Day Flyover

posted in: Jet Teams | 0
USAF Thunderbirds Over Paris, France - July 2017
Photos Courtesy of the USAF Thunderbirds

Members of the United States Air Force (USAF) Thunderbirds demonstration team are in Europe this week, preparing for their upcoming shows in France and England. The team is set to fly over the city of Paris, France on July 14 in celebration of Bastille Day, France’s La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) commemorating the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July, 1789.

The team flew a practice sortie over the city as well as the beaches at Normandy and Mont Saint-Michel. Check out these incredible photos!

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Mont. Saint-Michel

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Pointe Du HocUSAF Thunderbirds Over France - Normandy Beach

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Louvre

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Normandy Beach

This year, the traditional flyover of the parade through Paris will feature the Patrouille de France and a number of other aircraft from the French Air Force’s inventory, to include Dassault Mirage 2000s and Rafales. Following them will be the USAF Thunderbirds and a pair of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors. Much like the Patrouille de France’s American Tour earlier this year, the inclusion of the Thunderbirds in these festivities marks the 100th year since the United State’s entry into the First World War, signifying solidarity between the French and American forces.

Following their Bastille Day flyover, the team will be performing at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England July 14-16. Afterwards, they will depart Europe back for the US to fly at Flight Over the Falls in Great Falls, Montana on July 22-23.

To see where you can catch the USAF Thunderbirds this year, check out our post with their 2017 schedule!

2017 USAF F-22 Raptor Demo Team Schedule Released

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 1

USAF F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team

The US Air Force has released the 2017 airshow schedule for the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team. Will you see the Raptor in 2017? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and in our forums, and make sure you share pictures after the show!

Also check out the rest of the 2017 airshow appearance schedules!

2017 Appearance Schedule – USAF F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team

Feb 28-March 5th: Avalon, Australia

March 24-26th: Brunswick, GA

April 22-23rd: Tyndall AFB, FL (HF with P-51)

May 6-7: McEntire JNGB, SC (HF with P-51)
May 13-14th: Pittsburgh, PA (HF with P-51)
May 20-21st: Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC (HF with A-10 and P-51)
May 27-28: Miami, FL (HF with P-51)

June 17-18th: Ocean City, MD (HF with A-10 and P-51)
June 24-25th: Bagotville, Quebec, Canada (HF with ?)

July 1st: Goshen, IN (Heritage Flight Only with P-51)
July 1-4th: Battle Creek, MI (HF with P-51)
July 14-16; RAF Fairford, UK (HF with P-51)
July 29-30th: Kennewick, WA (HF with P-51)

August 4-5th: Seattle, WA
August 12-13: Wilkes-Barre Scranton, PA (HF with P-51)
August 18-20th: Chicago, IL (HF with A-10 and P-51)

Sept 2-4th: Toronto, ON, Canada (HF with P-51)
Sept 13-14: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, DC (HF with P-51)
Sept 16-17th: Joint Base Andrews, MD (HF with P-51)
Sept 16th: Air Force Marathon – Wright Patterson AFB, OH (Flyover Only)
Sept 22-24th: Hillsboro, OR (HF with P-51)
Sept 29-Oct 1st: Salinas, CA (HF with A-10 and P-51)

Oct 17-22: Seoul, Korea

Nov 4-5th: NAS Jacksonville, FL (HF with A-10 and P-51)
Nov 11-12th: Nellis AFB, NV (HF with A-10 and P-51)

US Air Force Thunderbirds To Perform At RIAT In 2017

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 0

US Air Force Thunderbirds

The US Air Force Thunderbirds will be heading overseas this summer. The Royal International Air Tattoo announced that it will host the team at RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom on July 14, 15, and 16. This is not surprising, since the dates were left conspicuously open on the 2017 USAF Thunderbirds schedule, released earlier this week. The RIAT dates are book-ended by US airshow appearances, so the team will likely only be performing at the single event rather than conducting a multi-stop European tour. The announcement does mention that it will be the team’s only UK appearance of 2017.

The RIAT appearance is fitting this year, as the event is honoring the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force. The Thunderbirds previously performed in Europe as recently as 2011.

F-22 Raptor Demo Team Going International Again In 2016

posted in: Airshows, Military | 0

USAF F-22 Raptor

The USAF F-22 Raptor demonstration team schedule that was released today (along with the F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration team schedule) contains a few surprises for fans, the biggest of which is the number of international appearances. International appearances are always noteworthy for the F-22 since many fans are so eager to see what is arguably the world’s most advanced fighter. These appearances are also somewhat rare due to budget constraints and limited aircraft availability, not to mention the inherent security requirements for the secretive aircraft.

The 2016 schedule includes four airshows outside the US; Trenton and London in Ontario, Canada, as well as the International Air & Space Fair (FIDAE) in Chile and the famed Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in the United Kingdom. FIDAE and RIAT both hosted the team in 2010, and a planned RIAT appearance in 2008 was canceled at the last moment due to weather. The team has also performed in South Korea, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates in the last few years.

International trips are often met with frustration in the US airshow community as every weekend away is one less opportunity for US crowds to see it, especially with the schedule limitations in the past few years. However, the aircraft is unquestionably one method for the US to send a message about its military might. Given the current state of the world, it isn’t too surprising that the powers that be would send it to perform on a world stage like FIDAE and RIAT. Hopefully many of the worldwide Raptor fans get a chance to see it!

F-35 Lightning IIs To Appear At Two UK Airshows In 2016

posted in: Airshows, Military | 1

USAF F-35 Lightning II - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Airshow fans in the UK will have a chance to see the F-35 Lightning II this summer! The US Marine Corps announced on Monday that it is planning to send two F-35s to the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough airshows. The US Air Force also is rumored to be sending jets, though nothing has been announced yet. The visit will be not only for public outreach, but also as a test of long-range deployability and interoperability between the different countries.

The UK is a member of the multi-national F-35 partnership and currently has four aircraft operating in the US as part of their initial training. F-35s were scheduled to appear at RIAT in 2014, but a safety stand down resulting from an engine fire caused the appearance to be canceled. The massive Joint Strike Fighter program has been under incredible scrutiny in recent years, so the services are eager to get the jet out in front of the public for some positive PR, especially with the programs smaller international partners where support for program participation has come into question. USMC F-35s have performed mini-demonstrations at US shows already, and the USAF sent two of their jets to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last summer. They have also announced that a USAF F-35 will perform in Heritage Flights at select US shows in 2016.