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On base at Lakenheath with the specially marked tail F-15C Reaper


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Yesterday (Friday) I was fortunate to be a member of a group allowed on base to photograph the specially marked tail F-15C at Lakenheath before it returns to the US.

 

Organised by Richard Cooper, founder of the Centre for Aviation Photography (COAP), we were given the opportunity to shoot whatever pictures we wanted with the aircraft in front of a hardened shelter. The only restriction was no shots of the cockpit. The specially marked air brake has been replaced with a conventionally painted version, I don't know why 

 

The last four C versions return to the US on Monday 25th April. The departure time is expected to be around 11am. UPDATE as of Sunday evening Monday's planned departure has been delayed. I don't have any more details than that. One aircraft which is out of hours will remain on base as a ground instructional airframe. 

 

A huge thank you to "Buddha", the squadron commander for giving us this opportunity and Richard Cooper for organising it. I did take close ups of wheels, missile rails etc and although I haven't posted them here, if anybody needs an image to help one of their builds then drop me a PM. 

 

1. 

DSC_0023 (002)

 

2. 

AAA_5592 (3)

 

3. 

AAA_5549 (3)

 

4.

AAA_5564 (2)

 

5.

AAA_5586 (2)

 

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AAA_3685 (2)

 

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AAA_3683 (2)

 

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AAA_5608 (3)

 

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AAA_5671

 

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AAA_5595 (2)

 

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AAA_3675 (3)

 

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AAA_3743 (2)

 

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AAA_3731 (2)

 

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AAA_3715 (2)

 

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AAA_3666 (2)

 

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AAA_3669 (2)

 

17. Our hosts; "Vegas" and "Buddha"

AAA_5633 (3)

 

18.

AAA_5629 (2)

 

That's it, thanks for looking! 

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25 minutes ago, Alpha Delta 210 said:

Looks like a once in a lifetime opportunity, Latinbear! Thanks for sharing. 

 

I imagine that there will be a lot of people at Lakenheath on Monday!

 

Thanks AD, yes definitely an opportunity that won't be repeated! Apparently, the forest entrance was full by 7am yesterday and so I imagine a repeat will be likely on Monday as the grapevine spreads the word. 

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Nice, last time I went they would not allow cockpit phots of the E model they prepared, also no shots of the exhausts for some reason?

 

Julien

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9 minutes ago, Julien said:

Nice, last time I went they would not allow cockpit phots of the E model they prepared, also no shots of the exhausts for some reason?

 

Julien

 

Vegas put up the crew ladder so we could all climb up and look in the cockpit but no shots of the 'pit itself which seemed a bit odd given the aircraft is so old. We were also told no pictures of any F-35s or indeed any other aircraft on base but there were no aircraft visible on our walk from the coach via the Reapers' building anyway. No such rules yesterday about taking shots of the exhausts. Perhaps the E's have RWR nestling somewhere around the back? 

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25 minutes ago, Latinbear said:

 

Vegas put up the crew ladder so we could all climb up and look in the cockpit but no shots of the 'pit itself which seemed a bit odd given the aircraft is so old. We were also told no pictures of any F-35s or indeed any other aircraft on base but there were no aircraft visible on our walk from the coach via the Reapers' building anyway. No such rules yesterday about taking shots of the exhausts. Perhaps the E's have RWR nestling somewhere around the back? 

Those restrictions are mostly a bit nonsense, bar any cockpit mods.... 

Exhausts, antennae, .. everything x

external is pretty well covered on the net anyways.. But crew has rules to follow :D

 

at an airshow they ( pilots) told me once regarding some Eurofighter sensors that they were not allowed to talk about them... but instead they recommended wikipedia to me :D

 

 

Great photos, thanks for sharing!!

Shame the grey Eagles leave... but maybe, with more Eagle IIs on the horizon some will return to Europe... fingers crossed!

 

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Hi gents,

 

I've had similar when on Lakenheath base visits in the past. You can normally photograph the one aircraft that has been allocated to the visiting group, which has usually been sanitized and I do remember on one visit not being allowed to shoot directly up the exhaust cans. That is normally it, no pics of any other aircraft are allowed, and when that has been flouted a tour group will be thrown off the base.  It doesn't really make any sense, given that if you're outside the fence anything is fair game, but as a guest, those are the rules. It's the same at Mildenhall, you can photograph the one KC-135 that you've been allocated, and that's it, even if there's one on a neighbouring stand, it's out of bounds. On base visits are interesting and informative, but the photography is generally better from the fence!

 

Gary

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What a terrific selection of shots and a rare and fantastic opportunity to get up close with the anniversary jet. I am most envious!!

 

Thanks for sharing and well done on getting on base to do the photo shoot. With the last 5 Grim Reapers F15Cs due to leave for good next week, sadly the end of the F15C is USAFE is almost upon us :(

 

Mark

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3 hours ago, gary1701 said:

Hi gents,

 

I've had similar when on Lakenheath base visits in the past. You can normally photograph the one aircraft that has been allocated to the visiting group, which has usually been sanitized and I do remember on one visit not being allowed to shoot directly up the exhaust cans. That is normally it, no pics of any other aircraft are allowed, and when that has been flouted a tour group will be thrown off the base.  It doesn't really make any sense, given that if you're outside the fence anything is fair game, but as a guest, those are the rules. It's the same at Mildenhall, you can photograph the one KC-135 that you've been allocated, and that's it, even if there's one on a neighbouring stand, it's out of bounds. On base visits are interesting and informative, but the photography is generally better from the fence!

 

Gary

Never had that issue at Mildenhall. They did ask us not to take pictures of the people in and around the RC-135 that looked like it was getting ready to leave. Everything else was fair game. 

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Thanks for the pics! Interested to learn that a Charlie model will remain on base as a GI airframe due to being out of hours; bearing in mind these are the newest F-15Cs in the inventory they must have been flown hard! You wouldn't happen to know the serial of that airframe by any chance?

Ralph 

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12 hours ago, Ralph said:

Thanks for the pics! Interested to learn that a Charlie model will remain on base as a GI airframe due to being out of hours; bearing in mind these are the newest F-15Cs in the inventory they must have been flown hard! You wouldn't happen to know the serial of that airframe by any chance?

Ralph 

 

Hi Ralph, I'm afraid I don't know which aircraft it is. It might be worth looking at Fighter Control or posing the question on the forum as there seems to be some very well informed people who contribute to it.

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On the subject of base-security, I was part of a tour of Mildenhall about 10-15 years ago. We were told in direct terms that we could photograph ONLY the KC-135 that we were given a tour of and that there was a potential for the use of deadly force, if we strayed outside of the yellow-lined parking zone that "our" tanker was parked in. 

 

The reason given for only photographing our allocated KC was that the aircraft of many nations fly into the 'Hall and some would not appreciate being represented. This struck me as very curious, as - if you stand on the bases' perimeter-fence - they have no issues whatsoever with you photographing all the arrivals. Still, as a guest in someone's house you follow their rules, dontcha?

 

Cheers.

 

Chris.   

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16 hours ago, Ralph said:

Thanks for the pics! Interested to learn that a Charlie model will remain on base as a GI airframe due to being out of hours; bearing in mind these are the newest F-15Cs in the inventory they must have been flown hard! You wouldn't happen to know the serial of that airframe by any chance?

Ralph 

84-0001 is the 493rd frame remaining on base.

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1 hour ago, Ralph said:

Thanks! Am trying to remember when I last saw that flying!

By all accounts it last flew in 2020 and has been inactive since then. It is thought that the airframe was over stressed during air combat manoeuvring.  

 

Mark

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