Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2020

Discussion relating to 2020 airshows/fly-ins/exercises/other events. Post news before the event and post your photos afterwards! Please create only one thread per event.
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Nighthawk117
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Re: Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2020

Post by Nighthawk117 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:09 pm

Bingofuel wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:58 pm
Nighthawk117 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:53 pm
I'm slowly starting to plan my dream trip, going to RIAT in 2021. I would like to know your experiences to organize this kind of trip. I took a lot of information from the RIAT official website, but I would like to know if you know websites or blogs of people who tell their stories about RIAT and how to organize this type of trip? Thanks!
Good stuff...RIAT is incredible. Getting to Fairford isn't that hard. Fly to Heathrow...Take the bus or Train to Swindon. Uber or Taxi or Shuttle to Fairford. Much like Oshkosh bring a comfy par of shoes...You're gonna walk miles and miles.

I've been twice now 2013 and 2018. I'd say definitely choose a FRIAT enclosure package if you're going for AERIAL photography purposes. You get bleacher seating and the view looking down on the runway is amazing for photos. You get your own section with washrooms and a few food trucks all within the enclosure, so its pretty gucci. Can be pricey though.

As I'm not an avid photographer I decided in 2018 to choose the Garden Viewing Village. Cheaper but still an enclosure with provided chairs and close to everything. Much more relaxed atmosphere in there compared to FRIAT. FRIAT can be cramped and busy. Viewing Village has the option to also choose bleacher seating (But it's set back farther from the runway than the FRIAT stands). Otherwise the VV grass seating is quite spacious and comfortable.

***and did I mention they provide lawn chairs?*** Keep in mind travelling from Canada or the US you probably don't want to pack a folding chair with you. Or else you can purchase a chair at the show or at a store in Swindon the nearby city.

2013 I stayed in the town of Swindon and used the airshow shuttle each day to get to Fairford. Not a bad way to go, but the hotels drastically raise their prices for RIAT week. 2018 I decided to camp using Tangerine Fields. This is the official show campground right beside the Airfield. Paid extra to have a tent/mattress/sheets all pre setup for me when I got there. Amazing proximity to the show entrance and a good time with other Aviation Nerds in the campground with you. Albeit cold showers at times and VERY limited food options...but it's camping after all.

Whatever you do...Make sure you get the Pre-show and Departure day tickets. The Friday arrival day 2018 was easily the most amazing and varied day of Airshow insanity I've ever experienced. The show itself is fantastic but for aviation nerds the arrival days are the gems of the week 8-)

Feel free to PM me if you guys have any questions.
Thank you very much!!! A lot of great advice! :)
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Post by Flightline Uk » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:57 pm

I wouldn't get too excited about any repeats of 2018 happening in the near future (and I assume you mean 'Thursday Arrivals' as Friday was a full show day in 2018). It was a one-off due to RAF100 and the 2017/19 are perhaps a better indication of scale for future events.

RAF Fairford is due to undergo some significant upgrade works in preparation for RC-135 operations over the next few years which will affect how the Air Tattoo is staged. Much of the change will be 'behind the scenes' as most of the work is related to the buildings on the North side (so RIAT may have to change how it accommodates volunteers and the events that take place in the hangars). However, at some point there are due to be some major works to runway ends which need upgrading. RIAT will still be staged during the works which will accommodate the event but it may have adapt to changes in available runway etc.
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Post by Adam » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:19 pm

I've only done RIAT for a whole week once, and single days on four occasions, but here are a few quick thoughts:

1) I've never bought access to an enclosure, entry's expensive enough anyway. But bear in mind that if you don't have enclosure access, you'll struggle to find a spot within half a mile of show centre. The FRIAT grandstand is very intentionally located bang in the middle, so if that's important to you, FRIAT's a good place to head to.
2) Definitely stay for the arrivals if you can, they are a show in themselves. But you'll probably need a car to do the arrivals days justice; there are no shuttle buses from Swindon on arrivals days and the two park and view enclosures are not walking distance apart.
3) Camping is a great way to enjoy the show! If you're coming from abroad, then the official campsite is probably the way to go simply because they can set up the tent for you. There are tonnes of cheaper options though, and many have great views of the show, too, but you will be expected to bring your own tent.
4) If camping's not your thing, I heartily reccomend the Swindon shuttle bus, which was pretty seemless when I used it and very cheap. Hotels do become very expensive during RIAT, but there are plenty of exceptions and alternatives. I stayed in an excellent Air BnB for £30-per-night last year, a half hour walk from the shuttle bus terminal in Swindon. The Air BnB and shuttle bus combo worked a treat and, even though I only got out of bed at 6:30, I was still on the very first bus. I was back again by about 7pm, in my comfortable room with plenty of sockets and fast internet. Breakfast was included. Brilliant!
5) Just be aware of some pitfalls with the trains if you plan to "commute" to the show from further afield. If you catch the first train out of London on Sunday, you won't arrive in Swindon until mid-morning, after the flying display has already begun. Other than that, the trains are fast, regular and reasonably-priced. I fell into that trap when I first moved to the UK a few years ago.
6) I'd avoid the day coach trips, which may look appealing at first glance but really aren't great for hardcore fans. Coaches leave major towns all across the country each morning and head to the show, returning in the evening, usually offering a competitive bus and entry price. But beware! Twice I've been with people taking the coach, who have arrived late or had to leave early, because the coach timetables don't always seem to have much to do with the event schedule. They missed one of the star acts in one case.
7) This is a big difference between UK shows and US ones (particularly military shows). Here, spectators bring a whole shed-load of outdoor furniture, windbreaks, umbrellas, military-grade hazmat suits in case it dares to rain (which it almost definitely will), tents, stepladders and cool boxes as big as a medium-sized bungalo - often piled onto a massive trolley which digs trenches into the ground and dwarfs the family car which it, somehow, arrived in. I've never actually felt the need to bring a full-sized dining room table to an airshow, as many seemingly do, but I do always bring a chair and my own food to the Air Tattoo as I find that far preferable to getting the food in the showground. If you're not in an enclosure, bring a small folding chair for sure. You can pick them up very cheaply in a variety of shops once you get here.

I've probably missed some things, but those are just a few points that spring to mind from my own experience, hope they help!
Last edited by Adam on Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Bingofuel » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:40 pm

Flightline Uk wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:57 pm
I assume you mean 'Thursday Arrivals' as Friday was a full show day.
Right...Whoops. Agreed 2018 will most likely never be repeated...but from the standpoint of someone from North America, even a weaker RIAT is probably the best Airshow they'll have ever seen.
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Post by Nighthawk117 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:03 pm

Adam wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:19 pm
I've only done RIAT for a whole week once, and single days on four occasions, but here are a few quick thoughts:

1) I've never bought access to an enclosure, entry's expensive enough anyway. But bear in mind that if you don't have enclosure access, you'll struggle to find a spot within half a mile of show centre. The FRIAT grandstand is very intentionally located bang in the middle, so if that's important to you, FRIAT's a good place to head to.
2) Definitely stay for the arrivals if you can, they are a show in themselves. But you'll probably need a car to do the arrivals days justice; there are no shuttle buses from Swindon on arrivals days and the two park and view enclosures are not walking distance apart.
3) Camping is a great way to enjoy the show! If you're coming from abroad, then the official campsite is probably the way to go simply because they can set up the tent for you. There are tonnes of cheaper options though, and many have great views of the show, too, but you will be expected to bring your own tent.
4) If camping's not your thing, I heartily reccomend the Swindon shuttle bus, which was pretty seemless when I used it and very cheap. Hotels do become very expensive during RIAT, but there are plenty of exceptions and alternatives. I stayed in an excellent Air BnB for £30-per-night last year, a half hour walk from the shuttle bus terminal in Swindon. The Air BnB and shuttle bus combo worked a treat and, even though I only got out of bed at 6:30, I was still on the very first bus. I was back again by about 7pm, in my comfortable room with plenty of sockets and fast internet. Breakfast was included. Brilliant!
5) Just be aware of some pitfalls with the trains if you plan to "commute" to the show from further afield. If you catch the first train out of London on Sunday, you won't arrive in Swindon until mid-morning, after the flying display has already begun. Other than that, the trains are fast, regular and reasonably-priced. I fell into that trap when I first moved to the UK a few years ago.
6) I'd avoid the day coach trips, which may look appealing at first glance but really aren't great for hardcore fans. Coaches leave major towns all across the country each morning and head to the show, returning in the evening, usually offering a competitive bus and entry price. But beware! Twice I've been with people taking the coach, who have arrived late or had to leave early, because the coach timetables don't always seem to have much to do with the event schedule. They missed one of the star acts in one case.
7) This is a big difference between UK shows and US ones (particularly military shows). Here, spectators bring a whole shed-load of outdoor furniture, windbreaks, umbrellas, military-grade hazmat suits in case it dares to rain (which it almost definitely will), tents, stepladders and cool boxes as big as a medium-sized bungalo - often piled onto a massive trolley which digs trenches into the ground and dwarfs the family car which it, somehow, arrived in. I've never actually felt the need to bring a full-sized dining room table to an airshow, as many seemingly do, but I do always bring a chair and my own food to the Air Tattoo as I find that far preferable to getting the food in the showground. If you're not in an enclosure, bring a small folding chair for sure. You can pick them up very cheaply in a variety of shops once you get here.

I've probably missed some things, but those are just a few points that spring to mind from my own experience, hope they help!
Thank you very much!! :)
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Post by n33d4sp33d_85 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:07 am

Our discounted tickets for Friday and Sunday are set to rise in price from 31 January, just two weeks from now!

✈️Friday will increase from £44 to £49.
✈️Sunday will increase from £49 to £54.

Book your tickets here: http://bit.ly/363weAg
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Post by mstares » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:48 am

Nighthawk117 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:53 pm
I'm slowly starting to plan my dream trip, going to RIAT in 2021. I would like to know your experiences to organize this kind of trip. I took a lot of information from the RIAT official website, but I would like to know if you know websites or blogs of people who tell their stories about RIAT and how to organize this type of trip? Thanks!
Hey,

Well done, I chose 2013 as my first Canada -> RIAT adventure. Did a lot of digging thru various forums and sought a lot of advice. Really helped make a successful trip and I have learned much more from my various trips since (It is addictive). A few thoughts building on some of the great advice already given:

1. Budget. Assess up front what you can afford to spend as it impacts a wide range of decisions. Essentially in terms of spending power, 1£ in the UK goes as far as $1 goes in Canada except that in reality 1£ = ~$1.75 . That adds up in a hurry. Make major travel choices well in advance and in keeping with your budget otherwise you will get there and still be agonizing over the potential cost of certain choices - that is a major buzzkill whilst travelling.

Bear budget in mind with all these choices...

2. FRIAT. If this is your dream trip, ie RIAT is the primary goal, not merely 1 day of a larger itinerary, FRIAT is THE way to do it:
(a)It gives you access for the entire duration of the show.
(b)Short of the 'naughty fields, if they still exist, it is the ONLY way to see departures day at the rotation point for many of the aircraft. A good departures day can make up for a 'mediocre' show weekend.
(c) Whilst many of your fellow FRIAT attendees are not perfect, they are better than being stuck with the mob who do not care about your personal spare,crushing you camera gear, or controlling their screaming children. (Yes, I can be an elitist snob)
(d) Shelter from the occasional downpour.
(e) Left luggage facility.
(f) Best view in the house.
(g) Despite my opening comment in (c), in FRIAT I have mostly sat next to some great guys who have really added to the experience. They can watch your gear in a pinch or even lend you a spare memory card.
(h)Still excellent value for money if you compare the cost of paying individual admission for each park/view day and show day.
(i) Dedicated, mostly clean, washrooms - not porta-potties

3. Travel (Assuming you are flying to Heathrow) - A few options:

(a) My current method is to rent a car at Heathrow and drive to Swindon, driving back and forth between Swindon accommodations and the show each day. Whilst driving in the UK (if having only driven in North America) does not require super human efforts it is not for the timid either - Further renting a car in the UK is a hateful experience. All that said i would not do it any other way. (PM me if you want me to expand on the topic).

(b) Bus / Train. Accessing Swindon from Heathrow can be done directly by bus or a combination of bus/train. A cab /uber to back and forth between Swindon accommodations and the show is possible on arrivals and departures days - difficult to improbable on show days. On show days the Shuttlebus from the Swindon bus station is incredibly convenient but get there early and pay really close attention to the return schedules.

Accommodations. In Swindon I have done both the Campanile and the PremierInn M4 Swindon West. Campanile is cheaper, in less immediate demand and clean but it does not have air conditioning (Yes, this can really matter!). The PremierInn is great but if you wait beyond August on the year before you likely will not be able to get a room. Even then it is best to phone to reserve as the website may never show availability. As noted all hotels will gouge you during that week but I have had good luck with those spots. For most locations, if you are doing the shuttle bus you will need a cab to get to the bus station in the morning.

4. Pace yourself. The show grounds are huge. Even on an 'off' year the static display is huge. Even on an 'off' year the aerial display will run from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Choose carefully what aerial acts you NEED to see and what static aircraft (patch hunting etc) you NEED to see and juggle your time accordingly. To the uninitiated this is Aviation Disneyworld. You will miss something crucial if you do give it some thought.

5. Food. In FRIAT there are water bowsers for refilling water bottles so no need to hump in much liquid. The on site food ranges from the disgusting/inedible to not bad - it is all fairly expensive however. Seriously consider hitting one of the various Swindon grocery stores for packing lunches. Be warned, I believe the Reeses brand is the only palatable peanut butter I have found in the UK.

That does not scratch the surface. Again feel free to ask further here or PM me. I have really enjoyed my trips over and have managed to work out many of the wrinkles.

Cheers

Mark
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Post by Nighthawk117 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:12 pm

mstares wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:48 am
Nighthawk117 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:53 pm
I'm slowly starting to plan my dream trip, going to RIAT in 2021. I would like to know your experiences to organize this kind of trip. I took a lot of information from the RIAT official website, but I would like to know if you know websites or blogs of people who tell their stories about RIAT and how to organize this type of trip? Thanks!
Hey,

Well done, I chose 2013 as my first Canada -> RIAT adventure. Did a lot of digging thru various forums and sought a lot of advice. Really helped make a successful trip and I have learned much more from my various trips since (It is addictive). A few thoughts building on some of the great advice already given:

1. Budget. Assess up front what you can afford to spend as it impacts a wide range of decisions. Essentially in terms of spending power, 1£ in the UK goes as far as $1 goes in Canada except that in reality 1£ = ~$1.75 . That adds up in a hurry. Make major travel choices well in advance and in keeping with your budget otherwise you will get there and still be agonizing over the potential cost of certain choices - that is a major buzzkill whilst travelling.

Bear budget in mind with all these choices...

2. FRIAT. If this is your dream trip, ie RIAT is the primary goal, not merely 1 day of a larger itinerary, FRIAT is THE way to do it:
(a)It gives you access for the entire duration of the show.
(b)Short of the 'naughty fields, if they still exist, it is the ONLY way to see departures day at the rotation point for many of the aircraft. A good departures day can make up for a 'mediocre' show weekend.
(c) Whilst many of your fellow FRIAT attendees are not perfect, they are better than being stuck with the mob who do not care about your personal spare,crushing you camera gear, or controlling their screaming children. (Yes, I can be an elitist snob)
(d) Shelter from the occasional downpour.
(e) Left luggage facility.
(f) Best view in the house.
(g) Despite my opening comment in (c), in FRIAT I have mostly sat next to some great guys who have really added to the experience. They can watch your gear in a pinch or even lend you a spare memory card.
(h)Still excellent value for money if you compare the cost of paying individual admission for each park/view day and show day.
(i) Dedicated, mostly clean, washrooms - not porta-potties

3. Travel (Assuming you are flying to Heathrow) - A few options:

(a) My current method is to rent a car at Heathrow and drive to Swindon, driving back and forth between Swindon accommodations and the show each day. Whilst driving in the UK (if having only driven in North America) does not require super human efforts it is not for the timid either - Further renting a car in the UK is a hateful experience. All that said i would not do it any other way. (PM me if you want me to expand on the topic).

(b) Bus / Train. Accessing Swindon from Heathrow can be done directly by bus or a combination of bus/train. A cab /uber to back and forth between Swindon accommodations and the show is possible on arrivals and departures days - difficult to improbable on show days. On show days the Shuttlebus from the Swindon bus station is incredibly convenient but get there early and pay really close attention to the return schedules.

Accommodations. In Swindon I have done both the Campanile and the PremierInn M4 Swindon West. Campanile is cheaper, in less immediate demand and clean but it does not have air conditioning (Yes, this can really matter!). The PremierInn is great but if you wait beyond August on the year before you likely will not be able to get a room. Even then it is best to phone to reserve as the website may never show availability. As noted all hotels will gouge you during that week but I have had good luck with those spots. For most locations, if you are doing the shuttle bus you will need a cab to get to the bus station in the morning.

4. Pace yourself. The show grounds are huge. Even on an 'off' year the static display is huge. Even on an 'off' year the aerial display will run from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Choose carefully what aerial acts you NEED to see and what static aircraft (patch hunting etc) you NEED to see and juggle your time accordingly. To the uninitiated this is Aviation Disneyworld. You will miss something crucial if you do give it some thought.

5. Food. In FRIAT there are water bowsers for refilling water bottles so no need to hump in much liquid. The on site food ranges from the disgusting/inedible to not bad - it is all fairly expensive however. Seriously consider hitting one of the various Swindon grocery stores for packing lunches. Be warned, I believe the Reeses brand is the only palatable peanut butter I have found in the UK.

That does not scratch the surface. Again feel free to ask further here or PM me. I have really enjoyed my trips over and have managed to work out many of the wrinkles.

Cheers

Mark
Wow!! Big thank you Mark, for all the great advice! :)
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Post by mstares » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:30 pm

I have caved, Brexit uncertainty be damned.... FRIAT 2020 tickets secured.
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Post by n33d4sp33d_85 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:10 am

Don't forget that there's just one week left before ticket prices rise for 2020's show!

With under 18s free with an accompanied paying adult it's the perfect excuse for a fantastic family day out!

Book here: http://bit.ly/2JtX3Wq
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