During the weekend of 16 and 17 July, the annual Royal International Air Tattoo took place at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire (UK). As tradition they always work with themes, and Bronco Demo Team was invited to participate in the STAR11 (STrike Attack Reconnaissance) theme for static display. Of course we couldn’t refuse the invitation and were very happy to participate the biggest military airshow in the world.

Wednesday evening, the first part of the team left with the van towards Swindon where accommodation was provided for the whole team. Thursday morning the team checked-in at RAF Fairford and waited impatiently until the Bronco would arrive. Thursday noon Tony flew the Bronco to RAF Fairford where the team welcomed him after his arrival. He taxied to his parking spot which was located next to the tiger painted aircraft. What a nice position we got in the static display.

In the evening the team went to the Meet And Greet, an informal gathering to welcome air and ground crew to RIAT 2011. Later in the evening, the second part of the team arrived at Swindon after an eight-hour drive with lots of traffic jams. The team was complete now, so let the show begin!!

Friday, after a good night’s sleep the Bronco cheerleaders went to the downtown of Swindon for shopping for the upcoming gala dinner in the evening. Wim, one of the crew chiefs, was dropped at the airbase to make pictures of the arriving participants and rehearsals of the displays. Tony and Michael went to SES in Tetbury, to see if at all it would be possible to restore the Bronco's LW-3B ejection seats to serviceable condition. It appears, they may! Some further in depth engineering assessment will be necessary however. In the afternoon they joined Wim and in the late afternoon also the girls arrived at the airbase with a lot of pockets but much less money.

Friday evening, Tony and Edith were invited to the formal Gala Dinner. The gala dinner took place in a hangar at the airbase, which was transformed into an impressive gala hall. It was "jolly good night" - to quote one of our hosts -, with excellent food, wines and company! The rest of the team went back to the hotel and after a good meal they went for a good night’s sleep to be ready for the airshow weekend.

Saturday morning the team took the first shuttle bus to the airbase in order to arrive in time before the public would arrive. Upon arrival the weather was cold and rainy and we saw no improvement in the coming hours. We decided to set the merchandising stand and once it was ready, the rain gods continued their work and it rained even harder... We were surprised that still so many people came to the showground, but obviously British people aren’t afraid of some rain. Due to the rain, not many people visited our stand, but we could welcome a few familiar faces that were searching for shelter in the rain.

At noon the rain gods couldn’t resist the sun and they decided to keep it a day. From then on the show could really start as well as the flying displays. It was very sunny for the rest of the day. A lot of people were very interested in our special airplane and many pictures were taken as well. In the evening we all returned to our hotel with the shuttle bus where we could discover the traditions of various tiger units, this was a lot of fun.

For Sunday they predicted even more rain then on Saturday. When we left the hotel early in the morning it was already raining, so we stayed in the flight center. Then we decided to go to our stand and defy the weather. Once outside, the rain was stopped and it stayed dry but cloudy for the rest of the day, much to the delight of everybody at the show. Again a lot of interested people visited our stand and came to make a chat.

Sunday evening all the crews were invited to the Salute Hangar Party, the final event of The Royal International Air Tattoo 2011. It was a great way to end our nice weekend at the Air Tattoo and to have a chat with other crews.

Monday morning Tony had his slot at 10h18 local time to depart back home. With a small delay, Tony took off with his Bronco in real 'RIAT style', staying low after takeoff and banking to the FRIAT grandstand with smoke!!! What a grand finale. After Tony’s departure we stayed a bit longer to watch the other aircraft departing and in the afternoon we drove back to Belgium, all with great memories from the past weekend.

So a nice weekend was finished and we all enjoyed it very much. By this way we would like to thank everyone of the organization for their great hospitality, as well as the people from the Madison Hotel and all the visitors and friends who came over to visit us! And thanks to Andy Evans for sending in the great picture of the Bronco departing Fairford. We hope to come back next year for the next Royal International Air Tattoo!


© Copyright 2010-2016 - OV-10 Bronco Demo Team | display@broncodemoteam.com