RIATAfter 42 years at the helm of the Royal International Air Tattoo, Chief Executive Tim Prince announced today (June 24) that the 2014 airshow will be his last.

As one of the airshow’s founding fathers, Mr Prince has helped build the event into what is widely considered to be the greatest airshow in the world.

He said he couldn’t go on forever and that it was time to stand down and entrust the Air Tattoo’s future to a fresh pair of hands.

Mr Prince said: “For the past 42 years, the Air Tattoo has been my life and I’ve loved every minute of it. During this time I have been fortunate enough to have met some incredible and inspirational people and have made many wonderful friends. It’s now time to pass on the baton.”

The Air Tattoo was first organised by a group of aircraft loving air traffickers at North Weald airfield in 1971. Driven by their passion for aviation, the Air Tattoo grew over the following three decades until, in 2003, Guinness World Records recognised it as the largest military airshow in the world.

The Air Tattoo continues to feature rare aircraft from countries that have never participated in British airshows before. In 2012, Japan, South Korea and Colombia were the latest names added to the list of 54 nations that have been represented at the airshow since the beginning.

Chairman of the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises (RAFCTE) Alan Smith described Tim as a “fantastic” leader of the organisation who is greatly admired by the thousands of volunteers, employees, sponsors and customers who have always been very happy to follow his lead.

Mr Smith said: “The Trustees, the Directors and myself are hugely grateful to Tim for agreeing to remain with the company for the next 14 months (and two more Air Tattoos) to help both appoint and introduce his successor.

“Tim’s most important legacy will be that, along with Paul Bowen, he created the greatest airshow in the world and subsequently ensured, with the support of many others, its long term presence in the annual aviation calendar. As a result, thousands of people have benefitted from the millions of charity pounds raised.”

Details of the Chief Executive vacancy will be published after this summer’s Air Tattoo on July 20-21. However, the RAFCTE Board of Directors wish to encourage prospective applicants, on their own initiative, to visit the airshow next month if they have not attended the event in recent years.