Virtual Air Tattoo attracts international support

By Barrie Hudson - 14 July 2020

  • The Virtual Air Tattoo takes place on what would have been this year's RIAT weekend

    The Virtual Air Tattoo takes place on what would have been this year's RIAT weekend

This weekend will see a virtual virtual event staged by the team behind the Royal International Air Tattoo and backed by the RAF.

  • Part of a display during a previous Air Tattoo

    Part of a display during a previous Air Tattoo

The Virtual Air Tattoo is a free-to-view, live-streamed event set  to take place from 11am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday, 18 and 19 July.

It would have been the weekend of RIAT had the coronavirus crisis not put large public gatherings on hold.

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 aims to give a flavour of the real event planned for this year.

Viewers are promised dramatic virtual flying displays, pilot interviews, special guests and unique aircraft footage.

Attractions will include:

- Displays created by specialist firm 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.

Air forces of more than 20 nations across the world will be represented.

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.”

Tickets for next year’s 50th anniversary airshow go on sale at the weekend, and the Virtual Air Tattoo will take a look back at some of the event’s aviation highlights since it was first staged in 1971. 

 During the event, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, the Air Tattoo’s parent charity. They are invited to text TRUST to 70490 to donate £5. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message. Donations can also be made through Virgin Money Giving:

Further information is available at and

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