Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Shaken awake

I would have liked to get down to Wales today.... but a little judder between two of the surface plates that make up the crust of my home planet at 00:57 a.m. this morning mean't a tiny plastic loop on the back of my kitchen clock broke; not a great deal of damage for a 5.2 Richter scale earthquake you may think, however the clock descended rapidly into my sink where 2 of last nights unwashed dinner plates and a dessert bowl wallowed in tepid soapy water. The resulting crash and splash caused me to almost jump out of my skin, my PC screen shook and the doors and windows rattled and the lights fickered.
I settled into bed... waking at 7:25 am and swore, that event in the early hours glitched the electric and messed up my alarm, it had been set for 3:30am and it was now far to late to get to my favourite Welsh hill, Lakenheath and Mildenhall would have to be the destination today, actually it was a good day too, a great sunset, a Bone parked in an impossible to photograph place at the 'Hall, and a fair bit of F15 action too. A few of todays pix in no particular order below.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Grey on grey

Despite a bright'ish start the day soon got dull and grey, the action though was red hot.
Spent some time at Mildenhall at first, chatted to James ( check these slide shows of his out ) for some time and saw just a couple of movements, but in the north sky F15Es screeched out of the 'Heath, it seemed a good idea to get over there, I arrived to see four C models being last chance checked, but before they launched several E's recovered to base.
There were a few very spirited touch and go's, and from my perch on a pile of logs that enabled me to shoot over the fence I managed a shot of an F15E at the instant the wheels 'smoked' the runway.
One of the 135s from Mildenhall did a few circuits too.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Hercs at last!

3 whole days of glorious sunshine loads of Hawks, a GR4, a T12 Harrier and a GR9, but at long last Hercules, not just one but 5 passes in total during the my time at Bwlch top shelf and Bwlch exit, the fourth day held the promise of F3 special tail (paint scheme) Tornados but the weather put paid to that! Great company on the hill with Meirion, Jess, Paul, Rob, Eddie, Keith and all, I can't wait for another trip.

Jess, Rob and Eddie with a Hawk passing the Bwlch exit.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Eagle Wednesday

Monday may have been a bit of a bad day, but blimey Wednesday was just blistering, it was a long slog up the hill because I took all my kit, 600mm f4 Is and 300mm f2.8 and 3 bodies made for a heavy bag, flask of coffee and sarnies too added even more weight.
The day started off a bit bad as I really do want Hercules through the valley, two came down from Bala and turned in through Cad, I excitedly checked the camera settings and waited but they must have gone straight down over Tal-y-Llyn, I was gutted as I just cannot get a Herc in low level!
I chatted to several others including Meirion, Gareth, Jess, Lozza and Colin, all internet names without faces until this week, we all watched the skies and waited; then the Eagle action started and the assembled gang forgot about feeling cold.
What a fantastic day it was, the F15Es gave us some stunning camera passes, there was a couple of RAF Valley Hawks whizzed through, and the 'icing on what was already a very tasty cake' majestically cruised up the valley, red, white and blue in afternoon sunlight, the Empire test pilots school Andover.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Back to the hills

My first day in the hills this year, despite a promissing forecast (the day before) the weather was pretty dire. A 3am start from home, unfortunately I got held up on the M6 for over an hour and then caught slow traffic for the rest of the trip, arriving in the layby on the A470 at 10:20am.Met Jess Wright at the top shelf at about 10:50am, he had seen just one Hawk since arriving much earlier.We got 'machine gunned' by what felt like white ball bearings in a hail blizzard, it was a white out with zero viz for quite a while, but after a long wait we had a Tornado through at 12:51 , that was followed by several Hawks.Not a great day, but it was made better by having some good company, Wednesday looks like better weather, so I'll be back for another go!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Hectic 'Heath, coat required!

Due to an appointment first thing I didn't arrive at Lakenheath until late morning, but what a frantic few hours it was. There was a very cold, strong gusty crosswind that meant a good few of the F15's 'tucked away the dunlops' and went around again, a few circuits from a KC-135R the 100th ARW commanders Boeing, and some very odd crosswind approaches from the MC-130P, it seemed it almost hovered at one point.
In all it was a great day and I also had the pleasure of meeting Mike H (UKAR) and Paul (Loveitlow, Warplane forum), great company and full CF cards, it don't get much better!