RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby JA Boomer on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 4:37 pm

Hello,

My wife and I will be making RIAT the first stop on our honeymoon trip to Europe this July. We live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and so RIAT may very well be a once in a lifetime experience and I want to make sure we're as prepared as possible to enjoy it to the maximum!

We attend the Abbotsford International Airshow every year and I've been to several smaller airshows in Alberta, but RIAT is clearly on a whole different scale. I'm a huge aviation (and primarily military aviation) enthusiast so attending the world's largest military airshow is definitely a bucket list experience for me. To make the most of RIAT, we purchased FRIAT Mach 3 packages and will be staying in Cheltenham for the RIAT weekend.

So I was wondering if any of the members here would be willing to share helpful suggestion or tips that would help make our RIAT/FRIAT experience the best possible.

Some more specific question I have are:

-Are the directions for travel routes to RIAT and parking at the airshow that FRIAT provided accurate? Any tips for avoiding the worst traffic or other pitfalls of the commute?
-I'm going to bring my camera, but I also enjoy simply watching the air displays. Is the FRIAT grandstand a photographer-nazi zone? Does the amount and size of camera lenses detract from simply watching the aircraft?
-Are all of the static displays roped off, or are you able to get up close or even inside some of the aircraft?
-How are the food vending and washroom facilities? Long lines, lot of selection?
-Are the designated park-and-view locations the best places to be on Thursday and Monday?

I'm not trying to gain years of tricks by asking, but like I mentioned, this might be a once in a lifetime experience, and I'm wanting to make the most of it!

Thanks to anyone willing to share information!
JA Boomer

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby Go4Long on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 4:45 pm

JA Boomer wrote:Hello,

My wife and I will be making RIAT the first stop on our honeymoon trip to Europe this July. We live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and so RIAT may very well be a once in a lifetime experience and I want to make sure we're as prepared as possible to enjoy it to the maximum!

We attend the Abbotsford International Airshow every year and I've been to several smaller airshows in Alberta, but RIAT is clearly on a whole different scale. I'm a huge aviation (and primarily military aviation) enthusiast so attending the world's largest military airshow is definitely a bucket list experience for me. To make the most of RIAT, we purchased FRIAT Mach 3 packages and will be staying in Cheltenham for the RIAT weekend.

So I was wondering if any of the members here would be willing to share helpful suggestion or tips that would help make our RIAT/FRIAT experience the best possible.

Some more specific question I have are:

-Are the directions for travel routes to RIAT and parking at the airshow that FRIAT provided accurate? Any tips for avoiding the worst traffic or other pitfalls of the commute?
-I'm going to bring my camera, but I also enjoy simply watching the air displays. Is the FRIAT grandstand a photographer-nazi zone? Does the amount and size of camera lenses detract from simply watching the aircraft?
-Are all of the static displays roped off, or are you able to get up close or even inside some of the aircraft?
-How are the food vending and washroom facilities? Long lines, lot of selection?
-Are the designated park-and-view locations the best places to be on Thursday and Monday?

I'm not trying to gain years of tricks by asking, but like I mentioned, this might be a once in a lifetime experience, and I'm wanting to make the most of it!

Thanks to anyone willing to share information!


I'm travelling out of Calgary as well...flying out on the 5th and doing the Yeovilton show the weekend before. I'll take a stab at your questions...I'm sure some others will add some more info.

- The directions are good. But you might want to consider the shuttle service from Cheltenham Race Track for the show days (Friday - Sunday) as they actually run pretty smoothly.
- There are lots of people with cameras, and lots of people without cameras. The grandstands offer a big enough height differential between the rows that one doesn't generally interfere with others
- The statics vary, but for the most part you can get pretty close to them with some obvious exceptions...if everyone's rumour mills are correct and there's a B-2 there, just pay attention to the fence line, since the men with guns get uptight around that one
- the food facilities inside FRIAT are OK. More options outside the enclosure. I never encountered a line at the washrooms, but some people were complaining about it last year.
- I believe park and view is the only option for Wednesday, but I think the enclosure is open on monday...perhaps someone can correct me if I'm wrong...this is my first year with Mach 3
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Go4Long

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby aviodromefriend on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 5:16 pm

JA Boomer wrote:Are the directions for travel routes to RIAT and parking at the airshow that FRIAT provided accurate? Any tips for avoiding the worst traffic or other pitfalls of the commute?
Not sure what FRIAT says, but the routes at http://www.airtattoo.com/airshow/visiting/visitorinformation/travel are accurate, avoiding the worst traffic? Travel early and wait at Fairford until the gates/security-checks open. Just take a look at Google Streetview to get yourself an idea about the roads around the base. If you want to get a lot of people to your party there, you WILL get some problems. It is one of the things I keep wondering about, why does DBH allow his visitors to bring their cars congesting up that roads, while other shows prove regularly that away from base parking and shuttling people in can work great.
JA Boomer wrote:Are all of the static displays roped off, or are you able to get up close or even inside some of the aircraft?
Only a few statics are not roped off, some fighters to allow sit-in experiences and sometimes some bigger aircraft are not to allow walking through. Also the Air Cadets aircraft can be touched, but that is mostly under supervision of their staff, and they prefer that to happen by small kids more then adults. Fortunately most are roped off so don't have to worry too much about inconsiderate people walking into view.
JA Boomer wrote:Are the designated park-and-view locations the best places to be on Thursday and Monday?
On Thursday and Wednesday P&V is better than FRIAT IMO, You'll see aircraft in the air, by the time they reach FRIAT they are firmly settled on the runway. On the other hand, on Monday FRIAT is the superb option available.
A weather forecast is a forecast and just that

Mike Moses, Launch Integration Manager Space Shuttle Program
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aviodromefriend

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby DonaldGrump on Thu 22 Jun 2017, 3:16 pm

Whatever you do make sure you bring an umbrella and check that you dont have footwear that is letting in water. Only a couple of years ago I found my left trainer was taking on water an a miserable day followed.
DonaldGrump

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby Brevet Cable on Thu 22 Jun 2017, 4:07 pm

Can only speak for the 'Blue' route, so don't know if the same applies for the others....
Queueing aside ( which, as already said, can be avoided ) getting there is only half the problem on the weekend itself -- there's also leaving there afterwards.
Whilst the route in is easy enough - and most of it is coned-off & signposted from the rest of the carriageway pretty much from when you leave the M4, the same cannot be said for the exit route.
For the weekend ( and the Friday ) they operate a one-way system, so you don't leave by the same route you arrived by.
As is typical for a lot of parts of the UK, the signposting isn't exactly brilliant ( in fact, it can be non-existent in places )....it's OK if you leave the same time as everybody else ( just follow the crowd ) but not so if you wait until the queue's died down.
Meh !!
Not an enthusiast or a spotter
trollpikken fforwm swyddogol
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Brevet Cable

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby CJS on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 8:36 pm

"Also the Air Cadets aircraft can be touched..."

I had to read this twice before I realised you had indeed used the word 'aircraft' in the sentence. Was getting a little concerned!
"Forewarned is forearmed"
How do you know I didn't?
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CJS

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby alpha586 on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 10:08 pm

If you come in on the red route the one way system is reversed around mid afternoon so you will leave the same way you came in.
Some of the bigger static aircraft are open to allow walk through, most of the crews are on hand to chat and answer any questions and most are very friendly and eager to talk to people. One word of caution there will be queues for most of the aircraft.
There is a variety of food on offer, all of it vastly overpriced and only some of it edible! Best advice would be to stock up at breakfast at the hotel and if possible get to a local supermarket the night before the show and stock up on sandwiches, snacks and drinks to take in with you. You can always leave a lunch bag / cool box with the left luggage facility.
The FRIAT grandstand is by far the best place for photography as the stand sits at crowd centre so the majority of displays use the stand to centre their displays. If you are not going to be taking photographs all day, the stand is still the best place to be. Hint have your camera ready for the end of the AAC Apache display, especially if you're in the stand.
As for park and view versus grandstand, park and view is best for arrivals the grandstand is best for departures, but again it all depends on what you want to see / photograph.
Lo que volará volará whatever will fly will fly!!
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alpha586

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby JA Boomer on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 6:38 pm

Thanks to all for the advice!

-On Thursday, is the route to the Park and View different than driving to the air show?
-On Monday, do you just drive to the air show to get to the grandstand?
-If you're going to be there for the three show days, any suggestions on how to take in all the flying displays and static?
JA Boomer

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby aviodromefriend on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 7:06 pm

JA Boomer wrote:If you're going to be there for the three show days, any suggestions on how to take in all the flying displays and static?
Check the program of the flying display if there aren't things listed that are not all three days flying. In the past Friday has had some items that were Friday only. Make sure you catch them on the first (or only?) possibility Also walk aound to see if there are some aircraft parked together nicely, during the weekend you might have to deal with bigger crowds, or late aircraft arrivals ruining the opportunity of a good picture (like the P-1/P-8 and the TTTE Tornados two years ago). Use Saturday for the flying display, if an item has to cancel for whatever reason, there is still a second chance on Sunday, then do the static and if you're interested in the stalls also these on the Sunday. Just prepare yourself for when Saturday's cancelled items are planned to go up, to break away from the static into watching the flying.
JA Boomer wrote:On Thursday, is the route to the Park and View different than driving to the air show?
If you are lucky a number of roads that will be closed during showdays are open on Thursday, so it might be possible you can have a quicker drive on Thursday. The routes that are operational during the showdays will also be open on Thursday.
A weather forecast is a forecast and just that

Mike Moses, Launch Integration Manager Space Shuttle Program
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aviodromefriend

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby JA Boomer on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 7:24 pm

aviodromefriend wrote:
JA Boomer wrote:If you're going to be there for the three show days, any suggestions on how to take in all the flying displays and static?
Check the program of the flying display if there aren't things listed that are not all three days flying. In the past Friday has had some items that were Friday only. Make sure you catch them on the first (or only?) possibility Also walk aound to see if there are some aircraft parked together nicely, during the weekend you might have to deal with bigger crowds, or late aircraft arrivals ruining the opportunity of a good picture (like the P-1/P-8 and the TTTE Tornados two years ago). Use Saturday for the flying display, if an item has to cancel for whatever reason, there is still a second chance on Sunday, then do the static and if you're interested in the stalls also these on the Sunday. Just prepare yourself for when Saturday's cancelled items are planned to go up, to break away from the static into watching the flying.
JA Boomer wrote:On Thursday, is the route to the Park and View different than driving to the air show?
If you are lucky a number of roads that will be closed during showdays are open on Thursday, so it might be possible you can have a quicker drive on Thursday. The routes that are operational during the showdays will also be open on Thursday.

Thanks! What are the 'stalls'?
JA Boomer

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby aviodromefriend on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 7:37 pm

JA Boomer wrote:Thanks! What are the 'stalls'?
Places where people try to sell whatever they have for sale, sometimes aviation related, mostly things that have little or nothing to do with aviation. The most ridiculous trade I can remember was a demonstration of dog-food. Just being there made it to the RNLAF staff magazine RIAT feature back in '99. Haven't seen it back ever since.
A weather forecast is a forecast and just that

Mike Moses, Launch Integration Manager Space Shuttle Program
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aviodromefriend

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby sopwithflyer on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 7:46 pm

JA Boomer wrote:
aviodromefriend wrote:
JA Boomer wrote:If you're going to be there for the three show days, any suggestions on how to take in all the flying displays and static?
Check the program of the flying display if there aren't things listed that are not all three days flying. In the past Friday has had some items that were Friday only. Make sure you catch them on the first (or only?) possibility Also walk aound to see if there are some aircraft parked together nicely, during the weekend you might have to deal with bigger crowds, or late aircraft arrivals ruining the opportunity of a good picture (like the P-1/P-8 and the TTTE Tornados two years ago). Use Saturday for the flying display, if an item has to cancel for whatever reason, there is still a second chance on Sunday, then do the static and if you're interested in the stalls also these on the Sunday. Just prepare yourself for when Saturday's cancelled items are planned to go up, to break away from the static into watching the flying.
JA Boomer wrote:On Thursday, is the route to the Park and View different than driving to the air show?
If you are lucky a number of roads that will be closed during showdays are open on Thursday, so it might be possible you can have a quicker drive on Thursday. The routes that are operational during the showdays will also be open on Thursday.

Thanks! What are the 'stalls'?


Stalls are where you commit to buy a fantastic conservatory. Worth doing as you can sit in it on a lovely day in your replica red arrows flight suit and look at the lovely wooden sculpture of a Stegosaurus that you also bought while having joyous thoughts about the dog you sponsored.
sopwithflyer

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby Brevet Cable on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 7:51 pm

And if it rains, there'll probably be a stall there that'll sell you a boat.....or if you require other transport, a car or a motorbike.
Meh !!
Not an enthusiast or a spotter
trollpikken fforwm swyddogol
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Brevet Cable

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby JA Boomer on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 10:30 pm

Also curious where FRIAT members can pick up the program and daily flying schedules?
JA Boomer

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby Go4Long on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 10:47 pm

JA Boomer wrote:Also curious where FRIAT members can pick up the program and daily flying schedules?


This will become very obvious when you enter the FRIAT enclosure. ;)
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Go4Long

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby JA Boomer on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 10:51 pm

Go4Long wrote:
JA Boomer wrote:Also curious where FRIAT members can pick up the program and daily flying schedules?


This will become very obvious when you enter the FRIAT enclosure. ;)

Can't wait! What else is in the FRIAT enclosure?
JA Boomer

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby coanda on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 7:36 am

The FRIAT enclosure usually consists of:

Benches, water points, and 2-3 food vans out the back

The marquee where Wendy and co are based which includes more seating, squadron prints stand and the left luggage facility

There are a few toilet blocks in the enclosure.

Obviously there is the stand and some standing room in front of it.

The enclosure is quite central. There are usually more food points behind the enclosure.

I don't blame you for checking it out considering it's a special occasion.

I find the routes to be well posted close to the show and then there's a bit of following your nose further away. Brown route is quite nice going through the Cotswolds water park and surrounding countryside. I have often gone that way. Coming from cheltenham you'll be put on the green route which is quite direct.

The key to avoiding the queues is being early. I aim to be parked by 7am at the latest. Some very hardcore enthusiasts will be earlier. I see that Cheltenham racecourse park and ride starts at 0645 and takes an estimated 90 minutes, and of course, you are then limited to the return journey timetable. I can see that this would be easier if you haven't driven here before though.
coanda

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby JA Boomer on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 3:30 pm

Thanks coanda :).

coanda wrote:There are a few toilet blocks in the enclosure.


The wife is wondering if this means there's options other than outhouses (portaloos) at FRIAT or elsewhere on the grounds?

Also wondering is the majority of the air-show grounds paved or if you're quite dirty/dusty at the end of the day?
JA Boomer

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby coanda on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 4:10 pm

I should be clear that the toilet blocks are not permanent, they are also not portaloo cubicles. They are temporary portacabin type arrangements. They are pretty good all things considered and the relatively few people in the enclosure means they stay pretty good, and of course, there will be few women so that probably helps on the cleanliness side of things.

All the static park will be on taxiway. The enclosures and viewing areas are all on grass. Usually its pretty decent under foot. If it rains it could get interesting towards the end, but in general, no, no dust and no mud.
coanda

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby Brevet Cable on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 4:11 pm

Assuming they don't change it this year, there are a mixture of both 'one-holer' portaloos and proper 'multi-hole' portable toilet blocks around the showground.....you'll find a load of the latter on the right just after you go through the Blue/FRIAT showground entrance, for instance.
The showground entrance & all the static park is paved.
It's only when you venture down towards the crowdline that it changes to dirt & grass.....normally not a problem unless there's been heavy rain.
Not done FRIAT, but some of the enclosures have a temporary walkway leading to them....don't know if that applies to the FRIAT stand or not.
Meh !!
Not an enthusiast or a spotter
trollpikken fforwm swyddogol
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Brevet Cable

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby JA Boomer on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 4:16 pm

Thanks guys!
JA Boomer

Re: RIAT / FRIAT Helpful Suggestions

Postby HMS Seahawk on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 4:40 pm

The only answer to avoid the traffic queues is to set off early. By early I do not mean 8am! There have been early bird car parks in use in previous years. This will mean you can arrive and park up near the airfield and either join a queue (on foot) by a gate and wait to get in, or sit in your vehicle until the gates open and wait for the queues to subside before walking in to the admissions and security check area.

If you are staying on a campsite you have the benefit of being quite close to the airfield whereas if you are in a hotel or B&B you will probably situated a little further away and will need to allow for traffic and adjust your journey times accordingly. It might not look far on the sat-nav or map however traffic starts queuing early especially on Saturday & Sunday.

Bag searches take place so try not to carry to much as this will have to be checked before you can get on the airfield. If you don't like the food on offer on the airfield or in the FRIAT enclosure or don't like the prices bring your own but as stated it is extra stuff that will have to be checked before you get in.

If it is your first time in the FRIAT enclosure please take a few minutes to read the "do's and dont's (FRIAT enclosure etiquette) that you should have received with your membership details and most of all enjoy yourself!
HMS Seahawk


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