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About gary1701

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  • Birthday 08/23/1969

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    Next door to Apache central!

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  1. Hi gents, Thought these might be of interest, especially as the 493rd FS F-15C in the D-Day anniversary scheme is due to be painted back to normal soon, if the 48th's comments of social media are accurate. Shot on Wednesday of this week in some nice light on the 24 approach. They didn't fly the similarly marked 492nd F-15E either, although that has been active this week. The third, the yellow tailed 494th FS jet has gone, as it's back in the US on overhaul and it will almost certainly come back blank. The 493rd 'heritage' jet, 84-0010 landing Wednesday afternoon as the second jet in 'Hitman' flight. Still seems strange to see a single seater painted in F-15E grey. Also a few routine shots of the 492nd and 493rd, the final squadron, the 494th is deployed for six months. Some of the 492nd still retain their mission tallies from their 2017 deployment. The 492nd's newly marked flagship has also strangely now acquired a green star on the nose, well after their last deployment operationally in late 2017. I can only assume they've decided to credit it with a UAV kill in a similar manner to 97-0219, the heritage jet. Still a few 494th left behind, presumably borrowed by the 492nd. Last light of the day, with a C and D paired up. Hope that's worth a look. Gary
  2. Hi, Nice and glad to see that you found the end of runway 02. I never got to see the 707's but I heard that they're departures were interesting. Gary
  3. Hi there, Okay, the images up and until the banked Italian were all taken from the A15/WAVE area on Thursday and Friday last week. You can use a step ladder up against the fence and hedge and shoot pics across the airfield and approach. It is being policed by WAVE staff with MoD/police support, the Israelis even have their own security officer in the car park, and there are some rules. If you use a stepladder they don't want you more than two steps up and will be watching - the Italians on the Southern taxiway show that should still be okay. They also don't want you closer up the road than the traffic lights, warning tape has been strung across the road at that point and again is being policed. Be advised only the Italians are coming past the road, the Germans are parked North side, and the Israelis are parked on the South Eastern corner away from the A15. First couple of days they taxied South side but now only taxi around the North - you can see them holding behind the Italians North side on the sixth pic down. The Israelis taxiing across the runway and landing are taken on Friday when they worked the far end. You can park in a layby on a small road (B1178) that runs on the Southside of the base, there's one either side of the road, the base side one is coned off and not available, but the one on the other side is - or was late last week. You need to walk down the lane towards the crash gate, it's a good ten minutes and the Israeli dispersal is right in front of you. It is possible (or again, was last week) to walk away from the Israeli dispersal to the left around the edge of the fence and field and get right to the approach. That's where all the approach shots were taken from at that end. As they were landing on the 02 runway they turn left at the top end to avoid the WAVE and the A15, taxi back down on the North side and then cross back towards their dispersal at the end in front of you. Standing on the raised grass verge between the fence and field allows you a elevated view over the runway and taxiway as they taxi across, no step ladder required. Obviously, I can't guarantee that it is still accessible as despite the hundreds down at the A15 end, there was only a dozen people down the Southern end at Friday lunchtime. I get the impression it's not well known, and I was not aware it was accessible until last week either. The Israeli dispersal is quite close, and they're not keen to have their personnel photographed, they don't really care about the jets, so I was careful not to wave a camera in their direction. They and the RAF Regiment will take a interest in people down there, there was a couple of fully tooled up RAF regiment guys by the fence watching us on Friday, but no attempt was made to move anybody and they seemed quite approachable. I think whilst it's kept to small numbers, access down there seems okay and it does allow for photo's that you can't get up by the WAVE/A15 end. Rumour has the Israelis possibly leaving on Thursday, no idea if that's accurate but just posted as a potential warning. Anything else by all means ask. Gary
  4. Gents, I spent two days late last week up at Waddington for Cobra Warrior. Thursday was nearly ruined by cloud, as I'm a bit of a stickler for having shots lit well, but Friday, despite a runway change made up for it. BUFF over the top from Friday morning. Looks like the Luftwaffe has the same problem as the RAF! Gary
  5. All, I have to admit it's been a considerable amount of time since I've been on the forum but a recent PM reminded me so I thought I would post a round of pics from trips out with the camera in the last couple of years to get back into the swing of things. No particular subject, but a mixture of pics from trips to the fences around Suffolk and Lincolnshire during some decent weather. Starting off with just a couple of weeks ago and the visit of the 93rd FS to Lakenheath. Unfortunately I managed just the one day which was before they really started to play to the crowd with some energetic departures. The 492nd D-Day anniversary jet, haven't got the other two yet. SOW ops at Mildenhall back at the end of February. 97-0219 just prior to being marked as the 492nd anniversary bird. Note the victory star for the Iranian UAV downed when deployed to the Middle East in 2017. Couple more local F-15s at Lakenheath. USN support at Mildenhall in October last year for the F/A-18 deployment into Lakenheath. This C-130T caught the heavy crosswind and nearly put the wingtip on the runway. The evening the F/A-18s arrived at Lakenheath, unfortunately I only caught the four E models as the four Fs that preceded them caught me in-between the two bases! Followed by the F-22s the next morning. Unfortunately I couldn't get back during the actual exercise days. The USAF operates two RC-135Us, both were at Mildenhall during 2018 and both also now sport the sharks mouth! Luftwaffe at Coningsby last September, they always seem to bring the bad weather with them. One of the wave of B-1s that passed through Mildenhall around the same time due to a shortage of tankers. I assume Mark (troffa) is still about so here's a few for him from my local, which I still visit from time to time. First is what was probably the last An-124 to land at Wattisham last August now that the runway is off-limits to anything fixed wing. The AH's still occasionally fly. Quick fuel stop for this Chinook. Finish this initial selection with a couple of 'arty' shots from a cold Coningsby in November. Hope it's okay to put these up after a long absence. Gary
  6. It looks like the AH is over the crest of the slope so it may not be buried in very deep. Mind you, it probably won't take a lot of damage for them to just use it for spares and not bother repairing it. The one that went done in the field South of Ipswich after striking cables in early 2012 was never repaired. Gary
  7. Hi Gents, Having heard about this over the weekend I went chasing after it this morning despite the dodgy weather. On the first two shots we tried to prompt him to cycle the canards but no luck. The later shots at least caught a little light! Gary
  8. Gents, I only read about the Reds practise display over Coningsby yesterday a few hours beforehand, so stuffed the gear in the car and made a quick run up from Suffolk to catch the 4PM display through the thick fog still covering East Anglia. I had my doubts it would still go ahead but it largely cleared once I got into Lincolnshire. I gather the Reds have done several practise displays at the various Lincolnshire bases this week as part of their pre-season work up. It didn't work out well for photography because it was still very hazy although a big hats off to the 'Red' who after the display gave a blatant banked photo pass to all the photographers gathered on the 07 end mound! I was inline with the display though so didn't get it. ][[ The locals were about, including a couple of 29 Sqn first solo pilots who were in the first two single seaters below. Then a change of ends, a nice sunset and a returning RAFAIR flight from the Middle East (Oman I believe), made for a good set up. Gary
  9. Lovely pics of my local. In some ways it's changed a lot, but in others it's just the same, especially that old control tower. Ironically the runway has just been downgraded and won't be resurfaced, so the days of any heavy fixed wings are now completely gone. Gary
  10. Thanks gents. Hi Mark, no, just the AMRAAM's of which he had two, one on each corner. He wasn't a QRA jet, but from 41 Sqn, the evaluation unit. They normally operate from the apron, rather than the HAS sites, but I would guess that live ordnance loading would probably be done on that side of the field only. I don't know what he was doing, as it was a normal 41 Sqn callsign. I never did find out if he brought them both back as he was one of the aircraft later silhouetted against the sun. Nobody that I know of monitored his comms either. Gary
  11. Hi gents, Here's another set of photos from the last couple of months. I hadn't posted anything for a few months up until earlier this week because I was having trouble accessing the site, but that seems to have been solved by a new PC and different browser so here's a few. All from a few trips upto Coningsby in November when the winter light is at it's best. Note the live AMRAAM's on this 41 Sqn bird. I've been trying to get some decent sunset pics here for years, but my timing and the weather has always been off, but for two weeks running I was lucky enough to get exactly the right kind of circumstances. First evening was arrivals on runway 25. The second attempt was at the other end, shooting as they came towards me. Gary
  12. Gents, I try and keep track of developments in the US carrier fleet and they often quote a legal requirement for 11 large deck carriers in the USN. Problem is, somebody in the US administration isn't very good at sums because the fleet has been 10 since the retirement of Enterprise at the end of 2012. This on/off again refuelling saga for the Washington has been played out for a while now and is due within the next couple of years, if they do lose her they're down to 9, although the new Gerald Ford is supposedly due to commission in 2016, but that seems rather optimist at the moment and a two year delay looks likely. Gary
  13. Another vote for the last one, I do loved that style of shot. Gary
  14. Hi there, you must have been unlucky because you shouldn't have any grief from them for just watching. Any idea whereabouts you were, as they get more upset about certain places than others? The answer to the question though is none, they have absolutely no power outside that fence at all, although the USAF police often either ignore this or simply don't know. Most of the guys who photograph know this and will not be moved on by them on the rare occasions that they try. Sometimes it results in the MoD police detachment being called to a dispute (who are the ones who have the power outside the fence), but this usually results in the USAF police being told to stop being silly, as the MoD police know most of the regulars and are quite friendly so know there's no real problem. You'd think the USAF police would learn after a while that they're not going to win but they still try it every now and again. I think the problem is that you get such a turnover and new guys posted in from the US, with little or no overseas experience who think they can carry on as if they are in the US. If they would introduce some form of orientation for new guys and teach them that they will encounter aviation enthusiasts on the fence then we wouldn't have the problems. It's quite telling that the guys you don't have any trouble with seem to be the older ones who have experience at overseas postings. For example, a few months ago I had a quite lengthy chat with a USAF police sergeant who had just been posted in from Japan, I thought at first he was coming over for the usual, but he just wanted to gen up the local customs and where the best pubs were! If they were all like him things would be fine. They do some daft things in the name of operational security though. For many years the stands that the visiting Sigint RC-135's would use were right on the South Western corner, beside the fence and often guys would walk around the fence and photograph them. This wasn't a problem for decades, until a couple of years ago they got moved to stands further in where it was difficult to see them, and certainly impossible to photograph. Now when they land/depart they use the centre taxiway and back track down the runway, clearly to avoid going around the taxiways up against the fence where we photograph them. They then completely forget all this and use the underrun at either end which has a close fence from which many close up pictures are taken! Not to mention they can't do a lot about landing and departure photo's... All the comms are in the clear, so arrivals and departures are known about hours in advance, for transits coming out of the West they're tracked all the way across the Atlantic as well. Completely pointless and there's hardly a security issue with photographing a RC-135 externally anyway. Edit: No Mark, I'm taking the 7D with me, but you can have the older one if you want! Gary
  15. Hi again gents, As far as I know the two engines are coupled to both sets of blades, so one engine can run both rotor heads. If one rotor head was to fail I would guess he's going down in a spin very quick! I was speaking to a Wattisham Apache driver a couple of years back when the first detachment of US based CV-22s spent a couple of weeks at Mildenhall and he was interested in them so when he was in Afghan he got talking to one Marine MV-22 outfit based there and he wasn't that impressed. His comment was, and I quote, 'every major failure results in the aircraft crashing and the crew dying!' I know the USMC has countered some US criticism of the type recently by stating it has the best accident ratio in the last ten years of all it's types. I think that's being very creative with figures, as I bet the actual flight hours are pretty low compared to other types so that doesn't stand upto statistical analysis but makes a good sound byte. It's quite telling that they need ten Ospreys with the Mildenhall SOG when the MH-53 strength was never higher than seven, and frequently less. Hi Mark it's been a while. Apaches just don't like being photographed nowadays, never coming near the fence or giving a photo pass like they used to. I'm already probably not very popular with the USAF at Mildenhall after sending a picture of a KC-135R landing with an emergency a couple of weeks ago to the local paper with details of what happened. It wasn't that big a problem but made for some decent pic's (shown below). Whilst supporting various fast jets deployed to Iceland, somebody took the refuelling basket clean off the tanker and jammed the hose extended (it was one of the few USAF KC-135's fitted with probe and drogue pods under the wing), so the aircraft had to recover with the hose still extended. I sent it to the local paper who published it, they spiced up the info I sent them and contacted the USAF at Mildenhall for comment, who just said it was a 'every day' occurrence. Yeah right... Gary
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