The first Air Tattoo was staged at North Weald airfield in Essex with just over 100 aircraft taking part. The event was founded by Timothy Prince and Paul Bowen. From these small beginnings the show became the International Air Tattoo in 1976, and recognition of its unique status was granted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1996, when the current Royal International Air Tattoo title was adopted. From 1973 to 1983 RIAT was held at Greenham Common before moving to RAF Fairford in 1985.
The show is a showcase for the world’s military, and has become an important precursor to the Farnborough Airshow, which takes place a week after RIAT, every ‘even’ year. It allows the military aerospace industry to display and present its products outside the commercial pressures of the Farnborough show.
RIAT 2010 was held on 17-18 July 2010. The themes for the show were the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Training Aircraft and Cadet 150. The F-22 Raptor also appeared in its first RIAT flying display since 2008’s canceled show.