In a few days’ time all eyes will be on the skies above RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire as the 2019 Royal International Air Tattoo gets underway.
It’s the world’s largest military air show and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. Whilst the main draw of RIAT is undoubtedly the spectacular performances by the world’s leading aerobatic teams, special flypasts and static displays of aircraft, there’s plenty to do to keep the whole family entertained.
Here are 5 reasons why you should go:
1: The Planes.
It sounds pretty obvious given it’s an Air Tattoo, but as well as watching all the amazing aerial displays and impressive acrobatics in the sky, you can also go inside and have a nosey inside some really impressive planes like the massive Hercules military transport aircraft – not something you get to do every day! The crews are always on hand to chat and they’ll be happy to answer any questions you or the kids might have about the planes or what it’s like to be a pilot. They often give out stickers and other little treats which the little ones love!
2: The Fairford Eye and Activity Zone.
New this year, the Fairford Eye is an attraction you literally won’t be able to miss! The giant Observation Wheel will allow you to view the Air Tattoo from above.
Kids will also love The Activity Zone where they’ll be able to channel their inner stuntman and jump from great heights onto the AirBag, fly on the Bungee Trampolines or tackle the Obstacle Course.
3: The Red Arrows
Famous for their vibrant vapour trails, there’s no mistaking The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team when they take to the skies. There are few things as quintessentially British as the Red Arrows and it’s easy to see why everyone loves them.
They’re one the world’s premiere aerobatic display teams made up of a group of elite pilots flying distinctive Hawk jets, as well as a team of engineers and essential support staff.
Their displays, which consist of synchronised, formation aerobatics, represent the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force, and are definitely a highlight of the Air Tattoo. It’ll be the last opportunity to see them before they jet off on their USA tour, so don’t miss them!
4.The Techno Zone
They say every day’s a school day, and a visit to The Techno Zone will have your children’s brains bursting with new information.
With aviation at its heart, science, technology, maths and engineering is brought to life with cutting-edge exhibits and hands-on activities to engage and inspire young (and not so young) minds.
With its 2019 theme ‘Air & Space: Inspiring The Next Generation Air Force’, the Air Tattoo will be turning its spotlight to the heavens to look at some of the exciting and innovative ways organisations are reaching out into space. So, expect rockets and lots of exciting entertainment and activities across the showground - including a planetarium where you can all watch space-related show.
- Astronaut Major Tim Peake.
Yes, Major Tim Peake – an actual real-life astronaut – will be at the Air Tattoo on Friday July 19th!!
He was the first British ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut to visit the International SpaceStation, launching in a Soyuz rocket in December 2015 and returning to earth six months later having taken part in a variety of activities including conducting a spacewalk to repair the Station's power supply.
Tim, who is currently Head of Astronaut Operations at ESA's European Astronaut Centre in Germany, will be at the air show to help inspire people in the critically-acclaimed Techno Zone®.
Top Tips for a great day out at The Royal International Air Tattoo
• Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated during the day.
• A hat is advisable in direct sunlight especially for children.
• Sun tan lotion is essential, even on a cloudy or hazy day.
• Some aircraft are loud! Use ear defenders or ear plugs to protect your own hearing and your children's. Purchase ear defenders from any Official Air Tattoo Souvenir Outlet.
• The showground is massive so if you’re in two minds whether or not to take a buggy for your toddler – take one!!
• Pick up a free welcome leaflet and map when you arrive, these are given out by Air Cadets at the Entry Points.
• Use the FREE bus service operating from each entrance gate and along the showground. The map shows where the bus stops are and lists the main attractions in each area.
• Decide on a meeting point in case your child gets lost and point out the Air Tattoo volunteers who will all be easily identifiable and advise them to seek one of them out if they can’t find the meeting point. Consider putting your contact details on a piece of paper and popping it in your child’s pocket.
• Service stations provide a number of facilities including one in each of the coloured zones. Facilities include food and drink, visitor information, FREE WiFi, cash points, Official Air Tattoo Merchandise Outlets, picnic benches, sheltered areas and public toilets.
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