Royal International Air Tattoo 2018, also known as RAIT 2018, is the worlds largest airshow, held annually over the third weekend in July, usually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
The first Air Tattoo was staged at North Weald Airfield in Essex in 1971, with just over 100 aircraft taking part. The event was founded by Paul Bowen and Timothy Prince, who were CAA Air Traffic Controllers, and Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley-Milling. From 1973 to 1983 it was held intermittently at RAF Greenham Common, initially under the title of the Royal Air Forces Association, South Eastern Area, Air Tattoo before moving to RAF Fairford in 1985. The show became the International Air Tattoo in 1976, and recognition of its unique status was granted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996, when the current Royal International Air Tattoo title was adopted.
The event has had a number of air show firsts, including the first display and landing of the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber outside the United States of America during the 1997 '50 Years of the USAF' event and in 2008 the first landing of the Lockheed F-22 Raptor in Europe.
RIAT 2018 was staged over 13-15 July 2018. The 2018 show featured 302 aircraft from 43 air arms and 30 nations, and featured a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force. Highlights of the show included displays by the US Air Force Heritage Flight, an Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27, a Royal Canadian Air Force McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Horne, the Italian Air Force's Frecce Tricolori aerobatic display team, and the RAF's Red Arrows. Visitors on Saturday were treated to a rare flyby by an American Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber that had made the round trip from its base in Missouri, United States.