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Truro Model Builder

Where have all the aeroplanes gone?

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SWMBO and I have just returned from a week in sunny Cambridgeshire. There was the expected pilgrimage to Duxford and an hour at RAF Lakenheath watching F-15s, though nowt at Mildenhall bar the tumbleweeds. I also unexpectedly came across a nice model shop in the upstairs of a cycle shop in Ely, with the result that my wallet came away a little lighter.

 

There were many familiar names were seen on road signs... Wyton, Alconbury, Waterbeach, Oakington, Warboys, Mepal. All of them now quiet, in some cases the runways long gone, in others used for storing cars or just left to slowly break up. It makes you realise just how busy the skies were around those parts not too many years ago. But even with what is left it was very noticeable how bereft of military aircraft the skies were. In the whole week and discounting the visit to Lakenheath and Mildenhall I saw one MC-130 and one MV-22 when I was near Ely, one Austrian Hercules that had just taken off from Cambridge Airport flying over the city and heard barely enough (probably) F-15s in the overhead to count on one hand. I did see a Dragon Rapide in the evening sun over Grafham water and watched a D-Day striped Dakota drone over Huntingdon Sainsburys, unexpected sighting that were nice, but the lack of military aircraft was startling.

 

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I noticed that this year - I am a fairly regular visitor to Bury St Edmunds (home of my favourite LMS) and Ely. A few years ago an hour in each would produce some overhead movement of interest. This year three hours in Bury (on a weekday) saw one C-130 nothing else.  Still at the moment with Stansted, Duxford, Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Wattisham as  airfields I pass on days out etc,, I guess I am more fortunate than many in respect of interest.

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The 492nd at Lakenheath is probably undergoing maintenance as it's just come back from Red Flag. Some of the 493rd have been on leave. Mildenhall is hit and miss. I never venture to Marham.

Everywhere else has shut up shop.

I'm lucky if I see a couple of Apaches these days.

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I blame the Russians, they're just not belligerent enough any more. And despite the continuing threats from the usual suspects in hot, sandy places we seem to be relying on 'cyber warfare' and the Americans instead of projecting a credible deterent. It's very depressing and I've pretty much lost interest in the hobby these days, there's just nothing left to see.

 

Such a far cry from seeing Jaguars, Phantoms, A-10s, Tornados, F-111s and Canberras at pretty low level all over East Anglia in the 80s and early 90s. Halcyon days, now just memories and models.

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I grew up in Cambridgeshire, so was used to seeing the aircraft from Alconbury and Wyton. It was rare not to see a Canberra, RF-4C, F-5E or Nimrod, not to mention the odd Varsity, Harrier or raspberry ripple plane from Thurleigh. It seemed like everything went quiet all of a sudden, even if it didn't in reality.

 

I have to admit, I miss it terribly, even if I don't miss the Cold War tensions of the time.

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Scottish Borders here and on days in the eighties you could get an all day air show with Jaguars, Tornados, F111 and even memorably a B52 at low level and others scooting about at low level

 

now I see F15s playing about and the odd Typhoon. Odd I am just as likely to see USAF than RAF if you discount Hawks and formerly Tucanos. 

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As a youngster growing up on Tyneside in the 1970s, I used to see RAF aircraft all the time. I still have a couple of notebooks recording regular sightings of Vulcans, Shackletons, Canberras, Buccaneers, Jaguars and others. I also listed all the aircraft at the 1977 and 1978 Leuchars air displays (including 43 and 111 Sqns' Phantoms), and the ones I saw on spotting visits to Newcastle Airport where you had free access to the roof terrace: Comets, Tridents, HS748s, BAC 111s and on one memorable occasion an emergency landing by a 233 OCU Harrier T2, XW266, that had suffered a birdstrike.

 

These days, apart from the occasional Tucano (soon to disappear as well) or Chinook and for some reason regular sightings of an Osprey, I never see a military aircraft at all. Admittedly my eyesight isn't what it was in 1978 but I doubt that makes much difference as they simply aren't there. I've not been to an airshow for 20 years, as (a) there aren't any that I could conveniently reach and (b) it would be a lot of trouble and expense to go to for the doubtful pleasure of seeing a handful of types of grey aeroplanes that don't interest me. On the rare occasions when I subject myself to the ordeal of air travel, I don't even take notice of the type of aircraft I fly in, though I think it's almost always some uninteresting model of Boeing 737.

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I live in the south east and in the past used to see occasional low flying military types Still do, but only Chinooks and sometimes an Apache going by. When the wind is right, Gatwick traffic abounds being only Boeings and Airbus with the odd EMB, DHC-8 or ATr. But the stuff I notice most as being a lack of when comparing to the past are the civvy light planes on weekends  One local chap flies over where I live in his Alouette II every weekend mainly a Sunday. Noisy but exciting to see a vintage chopper regularly. But that's about it.

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It's the way of the world people.....aircraft are expensive to run and simulators can cover a lot of the training.....40:60 atm for Merlin soon to be the other way round.

Yeovilton (defo not E Angular🤣) is still fairly busy with Wildcat and Merlin plus Hawks and puddle jumpers but then there are a few squadrons here.

But someone decided we dont need ships and such like.....so take Portland 815 and 829 hangar used to empty every day...but then there were 40 + small ships flights ... Yeovil if not embarked over 30 Shars ..one hour turnarounds....ah well that's progress.

Speaking of E Angular ....kids book    thunder and lightning by Jan Mark.....fab book just up an east anglian enthusiasts street ...cheap as chips from well known auction site.

Edited by junglierating

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Saw a few things over Hinckley this week, some biplane I couldn't identify, and a P47. Heard a Spitfire a few days ago, but I was too lazy to get out of bed and go look, I knew it was a merlin engine and hearing it was good enough for me. 

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Try living where I live. I have to get excited when the local flying club gets airborne. That or get excited about contrails heading back and forth during the morning and evening Transatlantic rush hours. 

 

Yawn! 

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On 08/09/2019 at 22:38, JohnT said:

Scottish Borders here and on days in the eighties you could get an all day air show with Jaguars, Tornados, F111 and even memorably a B52 at low level and others scooting about at low level

 

now I see F15s playing about and the odd Typhoon. Odd I am just as likely to see USAF than RAF if you discount Hawks and formerly Tucanos. 

Ahhhhh. The good old days growing up in the country south of Dumfries in the ‘70s In exercise season. Whole days spent watching RAF and USAFE popping over one hill line, across the Nith valley and over the hills on the other side right in front of me without leaving the front room. Hourly supply of Vulcans, B52s, F111s, Phantoms, Jaguars, Buccaneers and the odd Harrier. Who needed airshows in them days!

 

Remember one day out walking the dog, had a Phantom do a very hard low level turn in front of me. Nice view of the crew in their white bone domes. Clearly lost and low trying to avoid flying over a built up area.

 

Later in 1980s living in Edinburgh and popping out to Turnhouse to see what had popped in for a JMC. Highlight then would be a squadron of USN / USMC F18s lined up on the tarmac night stopping.

 

Now living next to Edinburgh Airport flightpath it’s all B737s and A319s with the odd 787 or A330. So dull! But with Flight Radar I can at least know exactly who they are and where they are going to / coming from in real time. So I suppose progress is not all bad.

Edited by EwenS

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I think Wildcats must be at Wattisham or Woodbridge as seen them around for the last few days.

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Where I live we have a Cessna Caravan disgorging parachutists on a regular basis and that's about it. 

As mentioned already, it's the lack of the smaller civil types that is most noticeable. Where have they all gone?

Mind you, the sky's seem devoid of winged objects generally. Who remembers car windscreens covered in splattered bugs when they were growing up? I can't remember the last time I had to use my windscreen washer to remove any. 

Is it just me?

 

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On ‎9‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 11:09 AM, Timbo88 said:

Where I live we have a Cessna Caravan disgorging parachutists on a regular basis and that's about it. 

As mentioned already, it's the lack of the smaller civil types that is most noticeable. Where have they all gone?

Mind you, the sky's seem devoid of winged objects generally. Who remembers car windscreens covered in splattered bugs when they were growing up? I can't remember the last time I had to use my windscreen washer to remove any. 

Is it just me?

 

Now that you mention it. I don't remember many bugs on my windscreen of late. Although that could be because the windscreens are more aerodynamic on modern cars and they simply bounce off. Speaking of parachutists. I picked up quite a lot of bugs on the aeroplane when I was flying skydivers. All over the leading edges and annoyingly difficult to get off the windscreen. But the back of the propeller was were all the real carnage occurred to the point where it took on a distinct reddish tinge. Ugh! 

 

I do agree that even the smaller civil types seem to be rarer of late too. 

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