Interesting to read the comments relating to good and bad about RIAT 2016.
Firstly, if you didn't attend the show itself, I feel you have no right to comment on what you did or didn't like based on what was visible from a camp site or distant field, also it shouldn't be overlooked that RIAT is held to uphold very worthwhile charitable enterprises and at least deserves our support as enthusiasts.
My first International Air Tattoo was 1973-the first at Greenham Common and my experience was similar to that of many of the newer attendees of recent Fairford shows in that there was an astonishing array of unusual and rare military aircraft on show such as a Sikorsky Skycrane, Lockheed Neptune and Ohio Air Guard KC97, things you had only read about in magazines (there was no internet).
Over the years, global changes such as wars, recession, national unification and terrorism have had varied effects on the scale and content of Tattoos but one thing has remained, it is still the world's premier international military airshow, featuring collections of aircraft you won't see anywhere else.
I read with frustration the debate about why there are no longer 450 aircraft on show or what can't some active front line aircraft visit in greater numbers, the reason can be found in the small print at the bottom of every RIAT ticket under "operational commitments"- surely it can't escape the notice of even the most blinkered enthusiast that many countries resources are stretched as they are at war?
Add to that the fact that most air arms operate fewer multi-role types rather than a number of specific operational types and it is obvious that there will be fewer aircraft globally to invite.
One thing that does need to be considered is to compare RIAT not with previous RIAT or IAT events gone by but with other current air shows around the world.
Unless I am mistaken there were 23 different air arms present this year and most latest generation combat aircraft from Western manufacturers not only attended, but also flew- which other airshow can make such a claim?
OK, links with Farnborough contribute to this, but who cares?...the organisers made sure the aircraft were there and it was good to see.
Testament to the global appeal of RIAT is the number of foreign visitors from far and wide that are attracted to the show, for them to make a journey from all over Europe and beyond is only due to the status and continued spectacle of what is on show at RIAT- we are very fortunate to have a show of such magnitude on our doorstep in the UK.
There has also been some criticism of costs for food provided by the vendors in the show and unfair comparison with Flying Legends at Duxford.
The thread on Duxford also mentions extortionate food prices so that argument is redundant, food at any event is naturally going to be more expensive than Macdonalds or your local chippy.
One of the key things that improved for 2016 is the arrivals days, at the Western P&V it was fantastic to be so close to the arriving aircraft, well done air traffic for sending most of the arrivals around the loop/taxiway Alpha, a controller actually came to ensure the group of people at the Western end were happy.
Also of note, although I walked into the show each day, traffic seemed to be handled very efficiently, car parks emptying very quickly.
Aircraft on static was also quality and slightly more were present than previous years, most crews were by their aircraft and happy to discuss anything and everything enthusiastically- just what air shows are all about- again, where will you see such an array of air arms on show?
Entertainment zones were excellent for those with broader age groups and children, again there was tons to do for all ages and interests, encouraging the future aviators to find out how everything about flight actually works.
I may be mistaken but was there a fairground this year????.....I don't recall seeing one which is also a step forward, although I may have been distracted by all the other good stuff on show.
So, in summary, I felt RIAT 2016, when viewed as a stand alone show, was a terrific success once more and the RIAT team should be applauded, what has gone before, since 1973, has been fantastic, but unachievable in these modern and challenging times, RIAT is still the act to beat...and I doubt anybody will.