Royal Airshow Fairford or Raf, is the annual greatest event of that kind in Europe. As usual, it starts on the third Sunday of July and lasts during one week. What is the main idea of the show and is it worth watching? Let’s find out!
The History of Fairford Airshow
The history of Raf started in 1971. It was organized by two friends, Paul Bowen and Tim Prince, two military men, who understood the importance of air forces for their country. The aim of the show was to emphasize the importance of army in the society, especially that part of the army that was connected with aviation.
The first Fairford airshow was not so pretentious as it became later, when it was valued by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1971 only 100 aircrafts took part in the show, it was short and quite simple. But it was a great success with the public and thus the long history of the event started. It lasts till now, and during the long period from 1971 till 2015 a lot of sad and happy events took place.
Thus, in 2003 the show had a great financial hit and it was so close to cancellation. This fact is explained by the act of terrorism in 2002 in USA. People were afraid of similar attack during the show – as it was always overcrowded and thus was a great target for terrorists.
In 2004 one of its founders, Paul Bowen died and further continuation of the show was quite questionable.
Finally, in 2008 it was completely cancelled because of heavy rainfall that took place during the week and made it impossible to show different tricks in the air.
But in spite of all those difficulties, till now Raf is popular. It is visited by 150,000 tourists every year and it is a favorite event for thousands of Europeans.
The program of the show is changeable and every year something new is presented. It is not known, what we will be able to see within the program of the show in 2016, but in 2015 it was really great!
232 aircrafts participated in the show. Representatives of 22 countries took part in the event. The lovers of airshows could see many solo displays, local teams’ performances and of course, displays of aircrafts from different European countries. Static exposition, devoted to military air forces, was presented here too, so the program of the show was rich and interesting.
It is allowed to make photos and videos of the displays during the show, so if you are interested in photo shoot, you can be provided with lots of interesting material.
The radio station that is organized by the administration of the show works all day long and it is supposed not just for entertainment. A lot of useful information can be heard on the radio about the event. Besides the necessary information about the traffic and the situation at the entrance/exit of the place, where the event is held, can help you not to lose, while coming here as it is always overcrowded.
Tickets and Admission
If you plan your visit here, it is better to do it in advance, as there are more than 150,000 visitors every year, so it is hard to get there.
If you are interested in tickets prices, they depend on your age (for children under 16 there are discounts) and on the seat you are going to occupy. The seats are divided into three sections and the price is fixed for any of them.
Besides the show lasts during one week and you can get the tickets for one day of the show, two days etc. Of course, the amount of the days you are going to be present here also influences the price of the ticket.
We give you an average amount for one day of the show for you just to understand, what price level is used here. But the exact amount is hard to calculate. Besides it can be changed, so you should find out the prices 2016 later, when they will be formed by the organizers of the event.
In average one day of the event costs £150 for an adult and £80 for a child under 16.
Getting to the Place of the Event
The event is held at Fairford, Gloucestershire, in Great Britain. The show takes place at Fairford airbase. It is quite remote place, so it is not so easy to get there, using public transport. Of course, busses are provided by administration of the event to give people an opportunity to get to the place, where the show is organized. The prices for tickets for the busses are quite high and very often they are overcrowded, but if you have no extra choice, you can get to the Fairford airbase by bus.
It is much more recommended to get to the airbase by car. It is not far from the town, the traffic is regulated and well-organized, so you will come here quickly and without any problems. It is possible to leave the car at one of three affordable car parks. They are free and there’s enough space at every car park.
You can choose the parking for your car, depending on the direction you come from.
As for accommodation, unfortunately, there’s no big hotel near Fairford airbase, so you should plan your staying here in advance. It is possible to use camping to spend a night here or to come back to Fairford for a night.
The same things are with the restaurants. There’s not much places to eat near Fairford and that’s why the visitors of the show plan in advance their meals. Some of them get the food just from the stalls that are situated on the territory of the airbase. The food there is pricy and there’s no wide choice of dishes, so if you are allergic or have some dietary needs or simply too picky in eating, it is better to take packed lunch with you. If you look about during the show, you will see plenty of people with small portative fridges, where they have food and drinks.
Really, there are some problems with getting to the place of the show and spending the night there. The prices are quite high, and that’s why many people hesitate, if it is really worth it – to visit this show.
In spite of all the difficulties, visiting this event is highly recommended. It is a noble and interesting event that has not only local, but continental meaning. Many countries send their military aircrafts to participate in the show. It is the opportunity to honor the air forces of your country and to support them!
So, yes! It is really worth it!