THE Air Tattoo first came to Fairford in 1985 from its former home at Greenham Common.

The Adver’s official guide to what was until 1996 known simply as the International Air Tattoo ran to 24 tabloid pages and cost 40p. The tattoo’s main event was something of a homecoming for both the world famous display team and the world famous supersonic airliner.

“Apart from being a spectacle,” we said, “the get together of the Red Arrows and Concorde during the 1985 International Air Tattoo will be a nostalgic affair.

“When the Royal Air Force formed the Red Arrows 20 years ago their first home base was Fairford. And although Concorde 002, the British prototype of the faster-than-a-bullet airliner, actually made its maiden flight from Filton, it spent its working life at Fairford.”

It would be another 15 years before the crash of an Air France Concorde - caused by a piece of debris left on a runway by a DC10 - shook confidence in the aircraft and led to the machines being retired in 2003.

In 1985, though, they were still an international symbol of glamour and modernity, and the aircraft of choice for the rich and famous.

There were even short Concorde pleasure trips for passengers whose budgets didn’t run to the cost of a transatlantic ticket. We offered a seat on one of those trips as a competition prize.

“One lucky reader,” we said, “will be flying off from Heathrow in November and will return approximately one hour and fifty minutes later having flown at twice the speed of sound, Mach 2 - that’s faster than a bullet.

“During the supersonic flight, refreshments and champagne will be served and our winner will be invited to inspect the flight deck. Along with souvenirs to record the special flight, he or she will be presented with a certificate recording the event.”

Another highlight of the tattoo was the appearance of an aircraft even faster than Concorde - the American Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a high-altitude Cold War spyplane, had a recorded top speed of nearly 2,200mph, more than 700mph faster than the passenger aircraft.