Royal International Air Tattoo 2003.

Fairford Airbase, Gloucestershire, July 19th 2003.

We went back to Fairford for a second visit in 2003. This was the first outing for my new camera and I had high hopes. The results were a little mixed as you will see, problems with the autofocus and trigger delay. I should have read the autofocus problems as the first signs of trouble - two weeeks later the camera was back at Minolta who managed to keep it for nearly 3 months. When the camera was returned from service they had had it 3 times longer than I had since purchase ! Anyway, we had another great day - here's some photos.

A Spitfire taking off F4F Phantom II Leaving the ground Harrier hovering Tornado Blowtorch Hawk T1a Junkers Ju52 a10 Aero L39 Albatros Landing F4F Phantom II Landing with chute Arrows and F117A Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets of Patrouille de France F4F Phantom II Low Pass Arrows coming in Arrow Hawk T1a1.jpg Saab JAS39A Gripen Landing - Full RES Tornado GR4 Landing with stoppers on

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Red Arrows

Here we are back at Fairford in 2003, once more it is Cloudy with the sun managing a quick flash now and then. The clouds got heavier and threatened rain as the day went on, but it never came to anything more than interesting skies.

Mig 29

I didn't think we would be getting a show this year with the invasion of Iraq and the base having been on active duty for Bomber service, but someone deserves to get the credit for getting the show on and once more doing it so well.

F117A Nighthawk Landing with chute

We came on the Saturday this year, I don't really know why, but parking in Swindon seemed more difficult even though we came early. The buses to Fairford were running every few minutes and we were soon underway.

B1B Lancer Take Off

The bus stop had been moved further to the edge of the site and security was seemingly much tighter, with bag searches and metal detectors plus whatever was happening in the Car Parks.

Dassault Mirage 2000

We had decided to get tickets for entry into the Waitrose Pavillion so we would get a decent seat and handy refreshments, Jo's queuing experiences of the previous year and toilets had nothing to do with this decision !

F4F Phantom II from back left a strange shaped bird

I'd do it again but not if it costs much more, the reasonably quick access to both food and drink certainly helps though.

F16A taxis back

Mig 29 turning

The displays were pretty much non-stop and what you see here is just a fraction of the programme for the day. We didn't spend long away from the runway this year.

Red Arrows

The Dimage gets very hot around the CF Card during sustained periods of shooting.( Could heat have been a factor in the breakdown ? I don't know and Minolta won't tell.)

German Navy Tornado MFG2

I had problems to begin with panning and allowing for the shutter lag but this came with practice. The image quality suffered more from the auto focus than anything else ! I finally switched to manual focus, it's true what they say about doing it yourself.

Space Invader Fly-By from a B2

Highlights included the F4 Phantom - such a loud aircraft when going low and fast, and the Red Arrows flying with a Nighthawk in their display which was brought about by a curious coincidence of Pilots.

F16A Leaving the deck

This year celebrated the 100th Aniversary of Powered Flight and Fairford marked the occasion in suitable style. I had hoped we would see an English Electric Lightning flying, but it was not to be.

Eurofighter Typhoon

We did see some great airial displays by more Display Teams than we had seen last year or at any other airshows we've been to. The sky was changing colour all day ! Even allowing for the differences in elevation some of these manouvers really put a lot of aircraft in a small bit of sky.

I have now started to post most of my newer images on Flickr. This sample links to my Airshows collection from here you can also get to my other photo collections.To see a different set of random images you can refresh this page.
DaveGray's Airshows photoset DaveGray's Airshows photoset



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