RIAT: RAF TriStar makes final air tattoo appearance

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After a military service life spanning almost 30 years, a UK Royal Air Force Lockheed TriStar made the type's final contribution to a Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) on 21 July, with one of the service's remaining aircraft having performed a single flypast.

 

All pictures: Craig Hoyle/Flightglobal

One of seven TriStars still operated by 216 Sqn, tanker-configured ZD951 entered military service after being converted from a civilian L1011-500. It was flown over the show at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire from its nearby home base at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, where the unit has operated the type since late 1984.

RAF operations with its last four TriStar tankers and three transports are due to conclude in early 2014. The type's capabilities - as with those of the final aged Vickers VC10s of its 101 Sqn - are being assumed by AirTanker-provided Airbus A330 Voyagers. Nine of the latter will be in operational use by May 2014, with six already delivered.

 

Due to be retired from service in September 2013, one of the RAF's remaining VC10 K3 tankers - ZA148 (above) - was on static display at the show, along with Voyager ZZ333 (below). Delivered recently in a three-point tanker configuration and with a 291-seat cabin, the latter has yet to enter regular service with its operator, 10 Sqn.