Royal International Air Tattoo 2017 Saturday display highlights

Here are my highlights from the Royal International Air Tattoo 2017 Saturday display. It was an interesting job getting through these, I had just over 4,000 shots from Saturday alone!

The weather at RAF Fairford on the 15th of June was pretty horrendous, it rained and low clouds loomed over the airfield the whole day. I did my best with a 70-200mm lens, so I hope you guys like them :)

Let’s get started then, with the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militaire) Panavia A-200A Tornado ECR CSX7041 / RS-01 of 311’ Gruppo Volo / RSV. Bit of a difficult edit, the rain drops and grain took forever to get rid of!

Side note: Because of the weather, a few of the morning displays were cancelled, including Finnish Midnight Hawks, Belgian F-16, RAF Typhoon, Spanish EF-18. Then rain ruined a bunch of shots, those of the Belgian Sea King and Royal Jordanian Falcons. Wasn’t a very good start :(

Royal Air Force Boeing CH-47 Chinook HC.4 ZA675 of 18 Squadron heading towards those very low clouds…

A pair of Czech Republic Air Force Aero L-159 ALCAs, 6054 (left) and 6060 of 21.zTL / 212.TL


The Royal Air Force aerobatic display team seemed to cheer up the crowds a little. Nothing like a bit of flying patriotism!

The first 'Murican thing then popped up, in the shape of USAF Europe Bell Boeing CV-22B Osprey 0058, of 352nd SOW / 7th SOS

Austrian Air Force Saab J 105Ö and Slovenian Air Force Pilatus PC-9M flew, but they were quite small, and I didn’t really get many good shots at 200mm.

The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was a right treat to see! Avro Lancaster PA474 (the big thing in the middle) made her debut after 3 years of heavy maintenance. She was escorted by three Supermarine Spitfire variants and a sole Hawker Hurricane.

Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus Military) A400M C.1 Atlas EC-404 making a ridiculous vertical departure and then a very condensation filled display! Bloody clouds have left most of my shots with this lovely white background…

Then came the USAF 70th Anniversary Flypasts. B-17 and P-51 flew before the big guys came along.

USAF Europe Boeing KC-135R 91-471, of 100th ARW / 351st ARS, kicked off the flypast.

USAF Europe Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules of 86th AW / 37th AS came past next

Spot the difference. 2x USAF Europe McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagles, from 48th FW / 493rd FS, and a sole USAF Europe McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle of 48th FW / 494th FS

Urgghhh. Some F-16s came past, and then the F-15s flew again. But the weather and lighting was awful…

Ohhhhh yehhh…And then they cancelled the F-22 Raptor. You could literally feel the frustration in the air. But no worries mate, we can still fly the P-51D. This sums it up:

Anyway, Thunderbirds are GO! How these weren’t cancelled, I’m not sure. Btw those are a Lockheed Martin F-16D & Lockheed Martin F-16C Fighting Falcon of the US Air Combat Command aerobatic display team “The Thunderbirds” It’s been a while since they were at RIAT!


Decent display overall. But the white livery on white background was annoying…Did I mention I hate clouds? At this point I wasn’t the only annoyed person on the airfield!

Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militaire) Alenia Aermacchi/Leonardo T-346 Master then flew. No good shots. Rip

Oh look, something worth photographing! The absolutely insert expletive here amazing Turkish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C Fighting Falcon 88-0032 of 141 Filo. OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SOLOTÜRK!!

I couldn’t care less about the weather, this display, this amazing livery, the emphatic commentary and that full afterburner made up for it. Definitely the highlight of Saturday. I didn’t get good shots of the whole display, but boy did he do some crazy stuff: 9G turns, negative G dives and some rolls that should have knocked him out. That pilot was a superhuman!!

More incredible jet action up next, with the Swedish Air Force Saab JAS-39C Gripen 39215 / 215 of F 7

The Swiss Air Force aerobatic display team “Patrouille Suisse” put on a stunning display! Their team is made up of 6 Northrop F-5E Tiger II

The last act I witnessed was something very different. A cargo plane behaving like a jet! Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militaire) Alenia C-27J Spartan CSX62219 / RS-50 of 311’ Gruppo Volo / RSV was thrown around like a rag doll!

Once again, I aplogise for the less than satisfactory weather. Luckily, I returned to RIAT again on Sunday, where the weather was slightly better. I’ll post those photos in another thread at a later date…

As always, if you want to see more of my photography, check out my Instagram account:

Thanks :)


Amazing shots very very nice planes would have love to been there myself! Thanks for sharing them.


These are some amazing shots and the fact these are just a fraction of the over 4,000 you took


Those are amazing pics! 👌


The Red Arrows are brilliant (saw them at Silverstone last year) but damn, that Swedish livery is incredible.

Great shots as always :)


Great job on these pictures! That Bell Boeing Osprey is just beautiful😍


Lovely pictures of the red arrows!


That’s just cool no other words it’s just cool


Awesome shots. I love the Thunderbird ones especially. Was Maj. Kevin Walsh still commanding them?

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Really great photos, never really get to see most of these planes here in Singapore!

If I may ask, which camera/lens combo did you use?

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Very nice pictures. Can’t wait to see more. Also, great photos considering the clouds.

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Great photos! I’ve never been to an air show myself, and these pictures are motivating me to go look for one online. The formation displays look amazing as well.

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Royal Air Force Aerobatic Display Team*, sorry me just being pedantic but anyway someone from my Sqn was there, he said it was amazing. I’ll look into going next year!

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Looks like it was a awesome air show. Love the photos, specially the Thunderbirds!

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Love the pictures and it seems like it was an awesome air show!

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Thank you mate! Hope you get there next year :)

The Red Arrows are always brilliant. Every time I see them, I swear they get better and better! Thanks :)

Btw, you think the Swedish livery is incredible?? It’s a bit, well…grey. Are you talking about Soloturk instead?

It’s a spectacular aircraft! It was my first time seeing one fly close up, and it was an amazing display. As always, thanks for the kind comments :)

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I meant the Swiss ones (was thinking why on earth is Sweden in Red crosses…). I read the caption above :)

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Ok, so now this automated message is telling me to reply to all these comments at once. Here goes…

@Mad_Dog Thanks! It was a very big and tiring job getting through all this!

@Laura_Murphy @Ishan_S Thank you all :)

@Kevin They were amazing! And very, very loud!! Upon checking the website, “Lt. Col”. Kevin Walsh is currently Thunderbirds 7, Operations Officer. The Commander / Leader (Thunderbirds 1) is currently Lt. Col. Jason Heard

@Iggydang I believe there is an airshow in Singapore each year? Do RSAF fly there? Btw I use a Canon EOS 700D with a EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

@JRRaviation Thanks, it was some challenging conditions! I’ll do the rest in a few days :)

@Ksisky Thank you! You’ve never been to an airshow?! If you’re living in Massachusetts, I found a really cool looking airshow at Westfield International.

Those are the displays, check it out ^ A very nice lineup, including some of the displays you can see in my pictures.

@Declan_OHara I was offered a place on camp with my Sqn but chose to go on both days instead. Wasn’t sure what the photo opportunities were like. If your mate went on camp, ask him about “safeguarding” XD

@brunocr98 Thank you! The seem to be quite a favourite in this thread!

@SpiritA319 It’s acclaimed to be the world’s greatest military airshow, and it certainly lived up to standards! Cheers

Sorry I couldn’t reply to them individually!