THE heavens were having a party on Friday as jets at the Royal International Air Tattoo thundered through the skies in a breath-taking start to the world's biggest airshow.

The show, staged at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, attracts flying enthusiasts from all over the world and this year's display includes special celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets.

The annual event, which runs until tomorrow, allows spectators to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most advanced flying machines.

It is staged in support of the RAF Charitable Trust, which assists the force and encourages young people to get involved in the UK’s aviation industry.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge arrived just after midday with little Prince George, who was treated to a special guided tour of a Red Arrows’ jet.

The normally impeccably-behaved youngster, dressed in navy shorts and a white T-shirt seemed to throw something of a tantrum shortly after his arrival.

However, the two-year-old was swept up into his mother's arms and given some ear defenders to drown out some of the noise that had perhaps startled him when he first arrived.

Soon the toddler was giving a big thumbs up as he explored various aircraft and helicopters and skipped around the wheels of a Hawker Sea Hawk fighter jet, where he was given a sticker.

The Duchess is patron of the Air Cadet Organisation, having taken over the role from the Duke of Edinburgh in December last year. The trip was the first time George, who turns three in two weeks, has joined his parents on an official engagement in the UK.

The Adver spoke to two U.S. flying aces, who gave us an insight into the thrills of piloting the aircraft.

Colonel Bill Lieblein, of the United States Marine Corp, who’ll be taking to the sky this weekend, said: “Flying aeroplanes like these is an unbelievable experience. It’s probably one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

“There’s so much complexity involved and a lot of training and studying but when you finally get up there, there’s nothing quite like it.”

Colonel George Rowell, also of the U.S. Marine Corp, said: “It doesn’t matter how many flights you do, every single one still feels very special.

“We’re very lucky to do what we do and it’s a pleasure to be here today at this fantastic event.”

The show was opened at 11am yesterday with a spectacular display by a Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II and a KC-130J Hercules.

It is the first time the £70m Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II has taken part in a display outside the U.S. and it was well received by spectators.

Ian Gibson, 69, from Australia, said: “What a fantastic show. It’s brilliant, just brilliant. The pilots are wonderful, it’s incredible to watch.

“If the weather holds ups I’m sure it’s going to be a great weekend.”

Paul Warren, 54, of High Wycombe, came with daughter Ceire, 18. Paul said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve seen it a few times before but last year was the first time I’d been in about 20 years, so I think I’ve got the bug again.

“It’s always an incredible show and it’s great that my daughter agreed to come along this year.”

Ceire said: “I’ve really enjoyed it so far. There’s so much to see and I think it’s amazing.

Alan and Margaret Mortimer came all the way from Scotland for the weekend. Margaret, 48, said: “I think it’s wonderful, the displays so far have been amazing. The skills of the pilots are incredible and it’s simply breath-taking to see what they can do.”

Stephen Oliver, 65, from London, said: “It’s a very impressive show, very exciting and a real thrill to watch.

“These pilots are just incredible. They never know when they’ll be called to the front line to do this stuff for real. They do a wonderful job protecting us and keeping us safe by deterring potential aggressors.”

Ian and Christopher Spencer travelled down from Stockport to see the show. Ian, 52, said: “It’s been great so far, really well organised and with plenty of places to sit and watch the show.”

Christopher agreed: “There’s so much to do and so many different things to see, I think it’s going to be a great weekend.”