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Exercise Talon Hydra at Wattisham.


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Gents,

 

Having gone back to work in the last couple of weeks I haven't been able to put the evenings in at Wattisham as I was during June, but I popped up for a couple of hours last night to catch the activity associated with the finale of Exercise Talon Hydra. This exercise has involved the Stamford training area (STANTA) in Norfolk. As well as the resident Apaches yesterday saw up to four Chinooks and two Pumas working out of Wattisham, to and from STANTA.

 

Started well when I found out that they were operating a Apache FARP down at the Western end on the North side with a couple of AH's lifting right in front of me, but restricted to a very narrow view with the camera at the gate.

 

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The two Pumas came out after refueling and headed back to STANTA. Unlike Chinooks, you rarely see them around here, and I haven't photographed one for a long time, but really surprised as too how 'murky' and dark they look when compared to a Chinook.

 

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Two of the Chinooks had left as I arrived and turned for STANTA, so I was guessing they would come back sometime to refuel, and sure enough the first, a solo, came up on the box inbound. As there was already several guys at my usual spot by the memorial fence I decided to head down to the 23 approach and take a chance on them turning and banking towards me as they turned onto the runway heading from a North Easterly approach. Trying to second guess helos is always risky as they never seem to keep to predictable tracks. 

 

'Pegasus 1' timed it right.

 

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No sooner was he on the deck for a running refuel the remaining three also called up as 'Titan' section. Well I figured if the first had timed it well, I was in for a chance with the others. My luck was in again. Note the different external configurations between the various Chinooks. I'm not really up on my current Chinook variants and marks.

 

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So, with the sun getting lower and all four refueling it was back up the Western end again to hopefully catch them coming out in some golden light. This time they went off as two pairs, heading home to Odiham.

 

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Not too shabby for just a couple of hours!

 

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

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Rarely see much military in this part of the world these days especially helicopters but from past experience the current green scheme just seems to suck light in if is at all dull so you did really well catching them on such a fine evening , thanks for sharing.

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Nice phots gotta love Apache (worked them) 

..Chinook cool worked with 7 Squadron on several joint things 🤔

Hmm puma sigh ...'pose they look good 😐 but they ditched the wrong helo.

Good evening wasted👍

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A very nice set.

10 hours ago, Des said:

Rarely see much military in this part of the world these days especially helicopters but from past experience the current green scheme just seems to suck light in if is at all dull so you did really well catching them on such a fine evening , thanks for sharing.

Very true about the light. Quite often I don't even bother to lift the camera for one if it's dull. 

On a sunny day the shade of green can look totally different depending on the time of day.

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Thanks gents, thinking about it a bit more the Puma shots may be slightly darker than they should have been. They were the first pics I took when I got there and I was still quickly trying to reconfigure the camera from Comet photography (see my Comet Neowise pics!) to aviation and didn't get it completely set up in time. The aperture setting is a lot higher than it should have been and the higher the F number the darker the picture. I've pulled it back as much in processing as I dare without making the images look false but given the time they probably would have looked better.

 

Gary

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Very nice shots, clicked and saved a few :)

I guess if I was still living in London I would have caught the Chinooks flying past my house on the heli lane through good ol' Walthamstow :)  I do miss that sight and sound... 

Cheers

Jeffrey

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