That Time A Group Of Photographers Was Blown And Burnt By A B-1B Lancer’s Afterburners At An Airshow

A screenshot of the video showing the incident at RIAT. (Image credit: jetnoiseforever via YT)

“Beware of Jet Blast”

The incident happened on arrival day at RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) airshow at RAF Cottesmore airbase, UK, in 2001.

Some photographers and aircraft spotters were next to the perimeter fence on the northeastern side of the airport, next to the runway 23 threshold. This spot provided a unique point-of-view as arriving and departing aircraft were pretty close.

A B-1B Lancer 86-0104, 34th Bomb Squadron, was preparing for his rehearsal: it taxied to the holding point of runway 23, entered the runway and lined-up, while many photographers thought that the Bone’s departure would provide the perfect opportunity to get an impressive shot.

However, as the pilot pushed the throttles to the stop, to full afterburner, exhaust gases reached the spotters assembled just a few meters behind the American bomber.

Heat haze hit the photographers, some of those barely manage to escape the jet blast: some were burnt, others slightly injured cuts and bruises, others simply shocked.

Fortunately, nobody was seriously hurt.

The incident was caught in camera. You can find the video on Youtube at this link.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.