Arrivals day at any air show is a good opportunity to catch the movements of aircraft that will only be in the static display as opposed to the flying display. At RIAT, there are park and view areas at the east and west ends of the airfield. I have used both over the years but the east end can be really hectic. It does give you the chance to shoot the aircraft on final approach but you can really be fighting for space.
I chose the west end this year. Planes were landing at the east end but it was pretty normal for aircraft to taxi to the west end to then be led to their parking location. Of course, a few interesting types managed to turn off early or backtrack before they got to the end but, on the whole, we did well. The weather wasn’t great but there was a fair bit of sun which helped.
Some of the more exotic types made it up our way. The Ukrainian SU-27s and their IL-76 came up as did the special schemes on some of the F-16s. The Luftwaffe brought some marked jets along too. An F-15E taxied past twice and provided a couple of speed brake waves for the gathered photographers. It could get a bit congested and, with jets holding in the turning loop, they did occasionally send their jet wash across the path of the incoming jets which sabotaged a few photo opportunities.
Later on the Thursday, a few practice displays were also flown by crews qualifying for the show which provided a different angle on some of the performances. An F-16C of the USAF did its full routine and then added a few extra banana passes bringing out right over us at speed several times. Much appreciated!