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RAF Fairford's International Air Tattoo offers two days of non-stop action with 160 aircraft, displays, family activities, stalls, food and live music.

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: July 19, 2013

By Helen Blow

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PACK your binoculars, plane-spotting guide and sunscreen and head to RAF Fairford for a feast of flying this weekend.

As the world's largest military air show, the Royal International Air Tattoo is expecting a sell-out crowd through its gates tomorrow and Sunday.

They will watch more than 160 aircraft from around the globe gather to display their impressive credentials at the Gloucestershire site.

Highlights of the seven-and-a-half hour flying display include the joint fly-past of the Red Arrows with the A380, the world's largest commercial passenger aircraft.

And the event will also commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters raid, with the veteran Lancaster bomber being joined by a specially-painted Tornado GR4 from the legendary 617 'Dambusters' Squadron.

Television presenter Carol Vorderman will open the event having touched down in a Diamond DA40 light aircraft she owns with her boyfriend and former Red Arrows pilot, Graham Duff.

She will be joined by actor David Jason, honorary vice-president of the RIAT.

Aviation fans will also get a rare opportunity to see a sea plane in action when the Catalina PBY-5A takes to the skies – and an even rarer chance to win a flight in this iconic aircraft in a special Air Tattoo competition.

For those wanting an adrenalin buzz there will be fast jets aplenty – the Typhoon, Mig-29, Rafale, F-16 and Gripen – alongside historic aircraft including the ever-popular Vulcan and Spitfire.

More thrills come from gravity-defying aerobatics from the Frecce Tricolori, the Breitling Wingwalkers and the RAF Red Arrows.

Meanwhile the showground is aiming to offer everything the visitor could wish for with three special 'service stations' providing all the essentials needed for a great day out – quality food outlets, free wi-fi, shaded areas, merchandise outlets, street entertainment, cash points and information services.

If the noise from live music or ground-based action is more your thing than the sound of a jet engine, three new zones offering dynamic entertainment and activities will appeal.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: "Our aim is to create a memorable family day out with all the thrills of a seven-hour flying display."

Tickets cost £45 (which must be bought in advance) but under-16s go free.

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