Air Show Report : RIAT 2015 Rhymes Farm
RIAT 2015 Friday Air Show from Rhymes Farm
Jiun Yap looks back at his experience at Rhymes Farm watching the Royal International Air Tattoo 2015 flying displays on Friday July 17th.
The 2015 Royal International Air Tattoo was held from 17 to 19 July at RAF Fairford. This is the biggest military airshow in the world and this year’s show was again well attended. It even saw the participation of the Kawasaki P-1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. Other notable highlights included the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the final participation of the last airworthy Avro Vulcan bomber and the 35th anniversary of the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE).
I watched Air Tattoo in 2013 and 2014 from the crowdline side of the airfield and I wondered what it’s like to experience and watch the air show from the other side. I found out that there were several camping fields around the airfield and decided to go to the one at Rhymes Farm on 17 July. This was in addition to attending the aircraft arrivals as well as the air show on 19 July at the official air show site. Rhymes farm’s camping field is usually a field for farm animals and the farmer would open the field up for paid access during the air show. As this was a private enterprise, the facilities could not compare to those at the official site operated by the air show. However, basic necessities such as toilets and burger vans were present. Big disadvantages were that the view of the airfield was obstructed by the air base security fencing and that the displaying aircraft of course planned for their flying routine to be viewed from the official site. Thus, the majority of those who went to the camping fields were air show enthusiasts who want to photograph the air show from a different perspective.
The air show on 17 July had a shorter programme compared to the full show on 18 and 19 July. This half day show on Friday was added in 2014 mainly featuring aircraft from the Royal Air Force. However, this year Friday’s air show had more display aircraft from other air arms, including the Czech Air Force Mi-24V/Mi-35 'Hind', Belgian Air Component F-16AM, Polish Air Force MiG-29, Hellenic Air Force F-16 Zeus, Royal Netherlands Air Force AH-64 Apache, Patrouille de France, and USAF CV-22B Osprey. Participants from the RAF included the Red Arrows, Typhoon Display, Hawk T2 Role Demo, and A400M.
This was my first time viewing the air show from the opposite side of the airfield. The experience was unique as I was closer to the flying display line. I had the chance to photograph the displaying aircraft from perspectives that you would not have if you were at the official site. On the other hand, as the displays were designed to be best viewed from the official site, for aircraft flying in formation the view was less than perfect. I have read discussions about viewing an air show from the unofficial site versus the official site. There were many points raised by both sides. In my opinion, after viewing this year Air Tattoo from an unofficial site, I must conclude that an air show is best enjoyed at an official site. Also, the experience is richer at an official site as you can visit the numerous aircraft on static display. Most air shows have several aviation related exhibitions and you can learn always learn more about the wonderful world of aviation. The facilities at the official site are much better, for one you have more catering choices. Generally there are also retail and play facilities to entertain your partner and children. The last point which I think is the most important is safety. At an unofficial site you are putting yourself at greater risk because the safety rules for the flying display are mainly crafted to protect those at the official site. I understand that it can be thrilling to be photographing aircraft that are flying over your head, but I think you can get better looking pictures from the crowdline at the official site.
Report and photos by Jiun Yap ( view portfolio )
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Last Modified: 11 October 2015