I do love the Tornado. It was coming in to service just when I was getting into aviation and I ended up working on handling clearances for them when I was a junior aerodynamicist. Their retirement by the RAF was a sad thing for me but I was consoled by the fact they remain in service with the other operators. I was looking forward to seeing some at RIAT. I did get to see some flying at a distance on arrivals day and they taxied up our way. Nothing too close in the air though.
I did get a chance to see them on static display which is fine but not as fun as seeing them flying. A lot of my hopes, therefore, were focused on departures day. The German jets were scheduled out at various times during the morning. However, they weren’t hitting their designated times and I was getting close to needing to leave. Eventually I realized my time had run out. I walked back behind the FRIAT stands and popped to the facilities prior to making the drive away. While in there, I heard a very familiar roar. Sure enough, as soon as I was out of sight, a Luftwaffe Tornado made its departure. The Tornado doesn’t climb fast so it was nice and low as it passed the stand – apparently. Bum!