The 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force was celebrated at an airshow in Britain over the weekend. All kinds of aircraft were featured at the show, from antique B-52s to the agile Thunderbirds aerobatics team. As Mandy Clark reports, organizers wanted to celebrate the close relationship between the U.K. and U.S. military forces.
F-15 fighter jets, stealth bombers and an aerobatic display to boot. For American Air Force fans, this was a rare treat. The Royal International Air Tattoo is the world's largest annual military airshow, featuring more than 320 aircraft from 24 countries. This year the United States Air Force was being honored -- celebrating it's 60th anniversary and the close relationship between Britain and America's Air Forces.
The star attraction for many was the Thunderbirds aerobatics display. It was the team's first time to the airshow but for pilot Ed Casey it felt familiar. “Of course, Great Britain and we are so similar in our values and background, here we feel like we are home," says Casey.
Enthusiasts of all ages enjoyed the range of rarely-seen aircraft. But it seemed no one could agree on a favourite plane.
People had various reactions. "I liked the Stealth," says one.
"The Red Arrows were good," says another.
"We liked the display by the Lancer."
A graceful twirl of a Chinook helicopter and a flypast from the Red Arrows had even the aircrew grabbing their cameras.
The pilots were stars for the day, signing autographs and posing with fans. For fighter pilot Captain Jen Fugimoto the event meant a lot.
"It's just a great honour to be here,” said Fugimoto. “Obviously the British are our strongest allies, it's fantastic."
There was no doubt “red, white and blue” was the theme for the day.
But beyond celebrating the anniversary, the event also seemed to inspire a future generations of flyers.