To commemorate and celebrate the 50th year of The Royal International Air Tattoo in 2021, a special anniversary book has been commissioned.
For the first time ever, the complete history of the Air Tattoo, from its birth in 1971 at North Weald to the present day, has been captured in a beautifully illustrated book featuring hundreds of dramatic photos, many taken by some of the world's leading aircraft photographers. This Hardback book contains anecdotal highlights from one of its original founders, Tim Prince who describes how a small band of volunteers with a shared passion for aviation - and encouraged by legendary aviators including Battle of Britain ace Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader and Concorde test pilot Brian Trubshaw - went on to create one of the most loved and respected airshows in the world.
Split into decades, the book describes how special links forged in the 1970s with the Royal Air Force, NATO and the US Air Force (USAF) paid dividends and helped attract a mouth-watering array of international military aircraft to the airshow's second home, RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire. The fall of the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s further cemented the Air Tattoo's reputation as it enabled a number of special 'debuts' by Eastern Bloc aircraft rarely, if ever, seen in the West.
By then, hundreds of volunteers were helping stage the event, a number which grew to around 1,500 following the switch to a new home at RAF Fairford in 1985. This move, combined with the enduring support of the RAF and USAF, helped open the door to a wealth of exciting aircraft including the stealthy B-2 Spirit and F-117 Nighthawk, F-14 Tomcat carrier-borne fighters, B-52 and B-1 bombers, V-22 Osprey tilt-rotors and the latest Typhoon, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II combat fast jets - among many others.