The RAF and over 20 nations were represented at the Virtual Air Tattoo
Air arms representing more than 20 countries from around the globe took part in a special event organised by the team behind the Royal International Air Tattoo and supported by the Royal Air Force.
The Virtual Air Tattoo was a free-to-view, live-streamed event that took place from 11am to 3pm on Saturday July 18 and Sunday July 19, the same weekend the actual airshow was due to be staged.
Hosted by Air Tattoo commentators and aviation experts Ben Dunnell and Mark Manwaring and featuring special welcome messages from Sir David Jason and Carol Vorderman, the Virtual Air Tattoo gave viewers a flavour of the real event planned for 2020 with dramatic virtual flying displays, pilot interviews, special guests and unique aircraft footage.
- Displays created by Virtual Airshows, performed by Europe’s top flight simulator pilots including the Virtual Red Arrows and Swiss, French and Italian teams.
- Footage from some of the most exciting Air Tattoo participants, including 2019 displays by the MiG-21 LanceR & EAV-8 Harrier.
- Live interviews with the Red Arrows as well as pilots from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and RAF Typhoon Display Team.
- Unique behind-the-scenes footage of military aviation including a flight on a recent Royal Air Force air-to-air refuelling mission.
- Messages, interviews and special aircraft tours courtesy of participating international aircrew.
And with tickets for the 2021 50th anniversary airshow going on sale over the same weekend, the Virtual Air Tattoo took a look back at some of the event’s aviation highlights since the live Air Tattoo was first staged in 1971.
Among the nations taking part in the Virtual Air Tattoo were Austria, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the US and UK – with Sri Lanka and Singapore being represented for the first time ever – albeit virtually. Video support for the Virtual Air Tattoo also came from aerospace industry, including BAE Systems Leonardo, Airbus Northrop Grumman, MBDA and Rolls-Royce, with additional help from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and other long-term sponsors.
Whilst the Air Tattoo delivered the main broadcast, the RAF hosted two additional channels, one providing extended footage of RAF content featured in the Virtual Air Tattoo and the other, broadcast live on Twitch, hosted by the RAF’s Video Gaming and Esports Association, who staged a number of socially-distanced esport competitions.
Working with PlanesTV, the programme was hosted from a live studio and, as well as featuring special guests, the show invited viewers’ questions via social media, making the Virtual Air Tattoo a truly interactive experience.
Before the event was broadcast, Air Tattoo Chief Executive Paul Atherton said:
“The Royal Air Force has been a great partner for the virtual Air Tattoo as they are for the Royal International Air Tattoo each year. Their support in providing behind-the-scenes access to, and footage of, its aircraft, facilities and people has been pivotal and we now look forward to sharing this content with our online visitors. We are confident that this, coupled with the incredible material created by our international friends and the virtual world of air displays will wow our audiences.”
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said:
“I am delighted the Royal Air Force has joined forces with RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises to deliver a trailblazing Virtual Air Tattoo. We look forward to exhilarating displays from our allies around the world, getting behind the scenes with the RAF and our industry partners as we showcase our talent, and sharing special moments from previous Air Tattoos as we approach the airshow’s 50th anniversary next year.”
You can still donate to the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, the Air Tattoo’s parent charity, by texting TRUST to 70490 to donate £5 (texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message).