Air Tattoo announces a UK-first with historic jet taking to the skies
By David Wood
This year's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford is set to be a historic one after organisers announced a Messerschmitt Me262 will be participating in this year's flying display.
With the aircraft set to feature on Saturday and Sunday, this will be the first time an Me262 has displayed at an airshow in the UK.
The aircraft holds special significance as the first operational jet-powered fighter in aviation history and one of the most powerful aircraft to fly in the Second World War. With its swept wings, axial flow jet engines and modern cockpit, the Me262 played a fundamental role in ushering in the dawn of the jet age.
Since then, five replicas of the jet have been built from scratch using fragment drawings in a process in a multiyear restoration process, with the maiden flight of the aircraft featuring in this year's Air Tattoo taking place in April 2006.
Peter Reoch, head of air operations at the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, says seeing the Me262 take to the skies will be one of the flying display highlights at this year's show: "Visitors to the Air Tattoo are used to seeing the power and agility of modern jet aircraft such as the Typhoon and Gripen in our flying display, so we're excited to be able to show them something very different with the Me262.
"Overall, the flying display programme for RIAT 2023 is coming together nicely, with something for everyone to enjoy, and plenty more displays still to be announced."
Earlier this month the airshow, which attracts 200,000 people to RAF Fairford every year, announced the iconic Harrier jump jet will also be taking part in this year's flying display, courtesy of the Spanish Navy, alongside crowd favourites such as the Red Arrows and a host of other aircraft.
Michael Schöllhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: "The Messerschmitt Me262 has never been displayed at a UK airshow before and we at Airbus Defence and Space, as the successor company of Messerschmitt, are honoured to bring it from its home in Manching, Bavaria to aviation enthusiasts and airshow attendees at RIAT this summer.
"The Me262 as the first series production jet engine fighter plane represents a milestone in aeronautical technology. It is a privilege to welcome the legendary Me262 to the UK skies."
Tickets for the Royal International Air Tattoo are still available from the website.
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