Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2021

Discussion relating to 2021 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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n33d4sp33d_85
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Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2021

Post by n33d4sp33d_85 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:12 am

Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2021 - RIAT's 50th Anniversary
July 16th, 17th and 18th
RAF Fairford
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Featuring
RAF Red Arrows [Hawk T1 x 9]
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Post by mstares » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:15 pm

A bit of a heads up.

If you are being optimistic about RIAT 2021 travel plans give some thought now to booking your accommodations.

I had 2020 FRAT tickets, let them roll over into 2021 FRIAT tickets. This morning, in a fit of said optimism, I booked my room for RIAT week 2021(At a refundable rate!).

If you are looking for North American style hotel lodging in the Swindon/Fairford area, there are limited options. Even fewer options with air conditioning. The better choices tend to fill up early, I am fairly certain much of which is being held for anticipated aircrew (As an example good luck getting a room at the Double Tree no matter how early you try to book).

I have experience with two properties in Swindon.

1. The Campanile. 'Cheap and Cheerful' in local parlance ('Cheap' is quite relative during RIAT week, when all room rates spike). It is clean and comfortable (rooms are rather efficient though), helpful staff, has good parking and bar/restaurant onsite. Really enjoyed my stays there with one caveat... no air conditioning (Windows do open... but I have bought a fan each year I have stayed there ). This is not always an issue in the UK but having done RIAT during heat waves it is definitely a consideration. It is a short cab ride from the Swindon bus station if you plan on doing the shuttle bus and it is in walking distance of a couple of american style supermarkets.

2. Premier Inn Swindon West. More expensive than the Campanile but more comfortable overall (large room with lots of storage and a couch in double rooms). Importantly the rooms are air conditioned, which in the right weather is really appreciated. There are a couple of restaurants/lounges onsite (A Beefeater or the eatery in the Doubletree across the drive) along with a complex across the parking lot with a corner store, subway and coffee shop/drivethru. The parking spaces however, even by british standards, are quite tight which can be entertaining. Also they now monitor the lot for unauthorized overnight parking... This lead to me getting wrongly dinged by ticket AFTER I got home last year. Lastly the Premier Inn is right off the M4 which is very convenient if you are driving back and forth to the show each day (Whether to drive or take shuttle bus is a whole other conversation)... it is not a place to stay if you have not rented a car.

Mark
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Post by Adam » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:18 pm

Yeah, air con just isn't the norm here. It simply isn't needed on all but a few weeks of the year and while some bigger hotels have it, I don't know a single person who has it in their actual home. A tip from me: do check Air BnB. I needed a room for the night at fairly short notice last year and I found a very good Air BnB (double room, high speed wifi, on-street parking, good host and a light breakfast included) for £30 per night, a half-hour walk from the railway station and bus station, so it makes the show doable without a car if necessary. I don't think there were any hotel rooms available in Swindon for less than three figures a night at that stage, so it was a massive saving!

I also see above the Red Arrows are listed as a performer. While it's true the Red Arrows have participated in every RIAT in recent years, neither the airshow organisers nor the team themselves have announced their participation yet, so it really is nothing more than a guess. From the same logic we can probably add all the other RAF display teams, the Airbus A400M... where would it end? I mean no disrespect, @Nick, but promoting performers more than half a year before any official announcement isn't what either the Red Arrows, nor the Air Tattoo organisers, would want.
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Post by Nick » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:44 am

Hello @Adam Sorry but I'm confused on the message covering about announcing performers more than half a year. Well to be frank, usually I format performers when they are confirmed and/or official statement clarifying that specific performer will be attending that certain show, expo, open house, exercise and/or fly-in. And fairly obvious I'm not the owner or creator of this thread (Royal International Air Tattoo 2021 or abbreviated RIAT '21) the form that I created related to this is I had no knowledge that a specific person @n33d4sp33d_85 had already created the thread. Not to be disrespectful but I there's misunderstanding, event organizers usually release their performers when the air show is usually at least 2 weeks to a maximum of 1 month to inform visitors and sponsors. Very few like (KC Airshow) release their performers a year before the show even occurs, but it was most likely COVID-19 (Corona virus Novel) may be having effects on some airshows releasing their performers way early than usual, same thing occurred with Chennault International Airshow organizers. So basically (like said above and explained) I usually format performers on threads when announced. My opinion on those releasing their performers early is probability they do not want fans to be waiting a year to know what performers will be attending the show in which actually surprised me at first.


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Last edited by Nick on Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Flightline Uk » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:00 pm

The hotel prices for any property within Swindon next year are truly eye-watering for a variety of reasons. Fortunately if you go a little further away the savings are substantial.

For example, the Campenile (usually the cheapest of the chain hotels in Swindon) is currently quoted on booking.com at over £1000 for Wednesday through to Monday. Premier Inn wanted around £600 for most of its rooms on the flex rate. :shock:
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Post by Adam » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:22 pm

Apologies @Nick, I tagged the wrong person there, that wasn't meant for you! I must have hit the wrong "@n".
Last edited by Adam on Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Adam » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:41 pm

Of course the other accomodation option is camping! I appreciate camping in one of the unofficial campsites (which I've done for a very reasonable £70 for the week) isn't realistic for most overseas visitors, but the official campsite does offer pre-pitched tent accomodation with airbeds included. I haven't looked into it too much, but I think it's a £40 starting price and £10 per night thereafter for one of the cheaper options - and while that's still more than some Air BnBs, you can just walk into the showground each morning so it's much more convenient. Just bring a big portable charger for the phone and camera, and you're set! Although you will need a hire car to get to and from the campsite in the first place, and probably to store your more valuable belongings. I wouldn't swear by it, but I seem to remember there was still some availability in the weeks immediately before the show? Maybe someone can confirm that.

I think the bottom line is that while traditional hotel accomodation within a half-hour drive of Fairford is hard to come by for a reasonable price, if you can stay further afield or if you're willing to stay somewhere a bit less conventional, there are still some feasible and affordable options for smaller groups/individuals just a few weeks before the show.
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Post by RyanS » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:12 pm

Adam wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:41 pm
I think the bottom line is that while traditional hotel accomodation within a half-hour drive of Fairford is hard to come by for a reasonable price, if you can stay further afield or if you're willing to stay somewhere a bit less conventional, there are still some feasible and affordable options for smaller groups/individuals just a few weeks before the show.
So what is a good time to show up in the morning, and when would one have to leave by? For an enthusiast, so pretty much first in last out.
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Post by Nick » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:38 am

Adam wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:22 pm
Apologies @Nick, I tagged the wrong person there, that wasn't meant for you! I must have hit the wrong "@n".
No worries just wanted to let you know respecfully that Im not the creator of this thread.
Last edited by Nick on Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by mstares » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:46 am

For my initial visit in 2013 I had intended to drive to the show site for arrivals/departures and take the shuttle on show days (Was concerned with dealing with show day traffic chaos whilst driving on the left for the first time) so I focused on Swindon where the shuttle departs from(Campanile was cheaper then - $800 Canadian for Tue-Mon)... as a creature of habit, whilst I now drive in every day, I still stay in Swindon (Handy to Fairford, shopping - camp chairs etc- and restaurants).

I have met a few North American RIAT visitors who have done the camping route quite successfully. I fold RIAT into a longer European holiday with my partner, whilst she is a great sport for happily sitting thru 6 days of airshow... camping would be a bridge too far (In fairness not really for me either)!

In terms of timings you have arrivals days vs show days. For arrivals days we aim to be in the park and view east parking lot 30 minutes before they start screening attendees (Lot opening times and enclosure opening times are given out in advance). If you want the prime fenceline space you have to come earlier, but I have found that heading to the back fence at the far end of the step ladder enclosure provides excellent unobstructed views of the arrivals/practices without too early a rise or a sprint for the best spot.

For show days and departure days I am in the FRIAT enclosure. I like to sit on a camping chair on the grass in front of the FRIAT stand so we arrive at the blue car park 30-60 minutes before the FRIAT entrance opens (again timings will be given in advance) to line up with the rest of the mob in trees along the fence. Because of this I have never encountered much real traffic heading in to RIAT (leaving is something else - The last couple of years it has been an hour or more of total gridlock/anger/chaos trying to leave the blue lot around the end of the flying display... I may linger later this year )

It has been 4 or 5 years since I have done the shuttle, I aimed to get the the Swindon Bus Station 15-30 minutes before the first bus, so as to get a seat on the first bus... bear in mind the bus drops you (and picks you up) at the far eastern end of the show ground so consider the timings and hike re: where you intend to set up for the day. IIRC the bus tickets gave the time of the last return trip of day (1830 maybe), we took no chances with that for fear of getting stranded.

Mark
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