RIAT 2010 – Return of the Raptor

Simply breathtaking. Thats the only way one can describe the display by the Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor. Flown by this years Demonstration Pilot, Major Dave “Zeke” Skalicky, the display appeared to me slightly more restrained than that seen perviously in 2008. It still defied gravity though.

They arrived from RAF Lakenheath, the base for their European stay in July,  on the Thursday before the show in the (now) typical dreary July RIAT weather.

Later that afternoon the aircraft, from the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf, Alaska flew a practise display. It held at the end of the runway waiting for the weather to clear. From the conversations over the radio it would appear that the Raptor pilot has access to better weather reporting than the local Met Office as his weather prediction was spot on! Unfortunately time constraints meant that he had to launch directly into a rain shower.

The next day I was able to get a closer view of the display, including a nice view of the old and the new!

Flat spin through cloud, descending through a hole of its own making

Break to land

“Please stay 100ft in front and off to one side!”

The display on the show days were blessed with some (occasionally) better weather

As its so manoeuvrable, by virtue of its inherent instability, vapour features in any Raptor display.

I hope its not too long before they return, they really are a showstopper.

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