THE world’s most exciting aircraft will be taking to the sky for the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford next month.

From legendary wartime planes including the Lancaster bomber and the Spitfire fighter to the cutting-edge Typhoon, you could be there to see them all at one of the world’s greatest air shows — thanks to the Herald.

We have five pairs of adult tickets to the annual aviation extravanganza on the weekend of July 20 to 21 to be won in our latest competition.

In March, the USA Today newspaper included the air tattoo at Fairford in its top ten of the world’s greatest airshows.

Staged in support of the RAF Charitable Trust, the air show will feature a seven-hour flying display, an exhibition of aircraft on the ground and a wide range of interactive family entertainment.

Thrilling spectators in the air will be aircraft such as the RAF Typhoon, the Vulcan Bomber, the Lancaster and the Spitfire, wingwalkers and aerobatic display teams, including the Red Arrows.

Some of the flying formations will never have been seen previously. But not all the thrills will be in the air as three exciting zones will be set up on the showground — the Vintage Village, the Techno Zone and the Toys For Boys Zone — each offering a range of dynamic, ground-based entertainment and hands-on activities for all the family.

A spokesman for the tattoo said: “Last year saw us deliver one of the world’s most exciting flying displays and our aim this summer is to replicate that level of excellence on the ground in terms of the overall visitor experience.”

The event, which has been staged each summer at Fairford since 1985, was the brainchild of air traffickers Tim Prince and Paul Bowen and a handful of friends who shared their same passion for aircraft.

That enthusiasm has seen the event blossom from a modest though successful event at North Weald airfield in 1971 into the aviation spectacle it is today. One of the secrets behind its success has been the army of volunteers, numbering about 2,000, who travel from around the world to help stage the event each year — train drivers, teachers, police officers, kitchen fitters, former test pilots, writers and university students all bitten by the aviation bug.

By the early 1990s, the tattoo had earned such an international reputation that Eastern Bloc aircraft, never before seen in the UK, arrived in the Cotswolds to take part in the airshow.

In 1996, the event received ‘Royal’ status and in 2003, on the 100th anniversary of flight, Guinness World Records officially recognised the airshow as the biggest in the world.

To be in with a chance of winning our tickets valid for Sunday, July 21, send your name, address and telephone number (preferably a mobile phone number) in an email to: or send your details on a postcard or reverse of a sealed envelope to: Royal International Air Tattoo competition, Herald Series, Promotions Department, Newsquest Oxfordshire, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0EJ, by the contest’s closing date of Wednesday, June 19.

If you are not lucky enough to win our tickets, they start from £40 (under-16s go free) and are available online at, where more information about the show can also be found, or by calling 0800 107 1940. Parking is free of charge.