TV PRESENTER Carol Vorderman touched down on board the first arrival at this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo to open the show.

The former Countdown presenter landed at RAF Fairford in the first of more than 160 aircraft expected at the world’s biggest airshow, which takes place this weekend.

She has announced plans to fly solo around the world, following the flightpath of her heroine, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.

“I’m an airshow junkie. We try to get to lots of the airshows, and I’ve been coming to RIAT for the past five or six years,” she said.

“The Air Tattoo is the big one. It’s very special because of all the military aircraft that come every year, but mainly I just love the noise.”

Carol has cut back on her TV work to spend more time learning to fly in preparation for her round-the-world flight, building up her hours with a flying school in Gloucestershire.

She flew in to the Gloucestershire Airbase ahead of the event in the Diamond DA40 light aircraft that she owns with her boyfriend, former Red Arrows pilot Graham Duff.

Carol started learning to fly last summer, and once she’s gained her pilot’s licence hopes to set off on the 29,000-mile journey next year, with Graham following in a support aircraft.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust which, in turn, awards grants in support of the RAF family, including serving personnel and Air Cadets.

Since the trust was established in January 2005, the trustees have awarded more than £1.8m to a wide range of projects and initiatives.

With weekend weather set on scorching, tickets are selling well. Saturday is nearly sold out, as are the enclosures.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is held over Saturday and Sunday. Admission starts from £40. To buy tickets, visit air All under-16s go free and there is free parking.

For full information and tickets visit