Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Eagle sunset!

About six weeks either side of the shortest day there are a few days when the sun sets in line with the runway at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, after many years of trying and seeing great sunsets and no aircraft landing and/or lots of jets but clouds blocking the sun I finally got the shots I was after on Monday, over 400 of them in fact, afterwards I viewed the pictures on the back of my camera, it was a Tourettes moment!

The last days of a legendary jet

For 3 days in December I headed up the A1 with a heavy heart, they would be the last days in service of the iconic Harrier; for 40 years this quite astonishing aircraft has, in it’s various versions, been one of the RAF’s most versatile jets, leaping into the air from conventional runways, ships decks, rough fields and well just about anywhere!
The defence cuts spelt the end of it’s career here in the UK, so on the 13-15th of December 2009 the most faithful of British plane spotters gathered to freeze in the winter wet and wind at RAF Cottesmore to pay homage as the crews rehearsed and displayed to mark this sad occasion.
The Monday (13th) was such a slow day, grey weather, low cloud and rain meant delays and at times looked like no flying would happen; however at lunchtime the sky cleared and the whine of Pegasus engines warmed the cold crowd! 17 aircraft taxied out a 2 seater with a photographer in the back seat and the 16 ship formation flight; fortunately they managed to overfly all the sites that the last flypast would entail as the weather on the big day (15th) would be dreadful.
For those of us gathered on the fence the return of the Harriers to Cottesmore could not have been more fitting, a spectacular sunset being the finest of backdrops to see them against.
The 14th and 15th were just as cold, the Harriers flew both days, but sadly not able to do the 16 ship flypast at their home base on either.