While enjoying the vintage aircraft park at this year's Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, an idea occurred for a possible theme for next year's event. The RIAT organisers always appear keen to adopt themes, no matter how tenuous, so I am sure would welcome the suggestion.
A collection of aircraft types, fronted perhaps by a Percival Prentice and a Eurofighter under the banner "Fifty Years of British Military Aircraft Procurement - A Celebration". Airworthy Prentices still exist, as do Eurofighters, but presumably as a real Eurofighter could not be spared from its now nearly decade-long development flying, we would have to make do with the much-travelled display mock-up. The fact that it was a plastic replica would, however, add an extra poignancy.
Criteria for inclusion in the line-up would be wide, but must at least take into account ineffectiveness, unsuitability, the size of the eventual cost overrun and the gap between the originally intended and actual dates of entry into service. In the latter case, the number and quality of the manufacturers' press releases explaining the gap - or clearly demonstrating that in fact there was no gap - could also be included.
There would be no shortage of potential candidates for the display. Personal choices would be the Nimrod AEW 3 (surely everyone's favourite) and the Tornado F3, but those of your readers who are UK taxpayers and have made some joyful and not insubstantial personal contribution over the decades, would I am sure be happy to suggest a few others.
Source: Flight International