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About gary1701

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    Step away from the computer!
  • Birthday 08/23/1969

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    Stowmarket, Suffolk, UK (Neighbour to the AAC Apache AH1).

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  1. Gents, I managed a morning over at Mildenhall/Lakenheath to try and catch some of the visitors for the large multi-national exercise Cobra Warrior currently being hosted here in the UK. The stars of this one was the contingent of CAF CF-1888's that had deployed to RAF Waddington for the duration. Lincolnshire was a little out of my reach this time, so had to settle for the guests slightly more local. Starting at Mildenhall, which unusually for a heavy base was hosting the majority of the 480th FS's F-16's from Spangdahlem. These guys, despite being located on the North
  2. Gents, Managed a quick evening run over to Lakenheath on Thursday. Nothing special on but haven't been able to take anything for 2023 so far so knowing that they were doing some evening flying I put a couple of hours in on a fine summer evening. No F-35s, just the 494th went out but a nice bonus was the Top Aces Alpha Jets that have been here for most of 2023. A pair of these went out with the Panthers for some ACM in the North Sea ranges. They have also had some of their A-4s here as well but none currently. 'Ambush 71/72' returning.
  3. Hi, yeah I would agree if that was the availability rate for the 21 jets on the unit at this time but that wasn't necessarily the case, just that they flew half of their total jets at the same time, and have been consistently doing that for a while now. They may well have been able to fly more if required, just that was all that was scheduled for the morning and all that was required. I believe on a Friday morning, missions at the 48th are generally picking up what they couldn't get off earlier in the week as the 48th plans it's sorties for just the four days. Quite a few yesterday but the wea
  4. Hi again gents. An update as I went back again yesterday morning. Even colder here in the South East, Lakenheath was broadcasting -8 on its ATIS and it sure felt it. Morning wave only and you could tell the guys were nervous about a weather diversion as similar conditions on Wednesday afternoon caused the base to go from fine and clear to blanketed in fog in about 15 minutes causing weather diversions for a number of F-15s and F-35s. Luckily it stayed clear all morning. The two remaining F-22s from the diversion on the 8th are still here so I would imagine it's now touch and go as
  5. Thanks gents. Yes, I am rather lucky in that Mildenhall/Lakenheath is about a 50 minute drive for me, Wattisham (British Army Apache base) is about 10 minutes! Have the rest of the week off so looking at the weather forecast it might be worth another run out Thursday - gotta take advantage when you can! Gary
  6. Hi and thanks. I'm normally using two bodies and two lenses. One body will have the 100-400mm fitted, the other a 300mm prime. For a conventional landing shot I will usually use the 100-400 and go back to about the 200mm mark, give or take a little. All the shots of the F-35s and F-22s were taken on the 100-400mm, with the side on's being around the 200mm mark and more nose aspect angles zoomed further. I can't get further back because I'm backed up against the fence in a field with a treeline behind me. I like the flexibility of the zoom but the image quality of the prime is better. The decis
  7. Gents, I won't go into a lot of background on this one, as I've covered it many times before but I spent Thursday and Friday morning at my usual spot - the 24 approach into Lakenheath. Sub-zero at the moment here in the South East of the UK but lovely and clear once the fog and mist clears. Big post this so here goes. Local F-35 flights Thursday morning returning. 10 aircraft launched from the current 21 on strength. More superb and spirited circuits for the cameras.
  8. Gents, Many thanks for the kind comments. The F-35...a marmite jet if ever there was one. I tend to think it shoots better from behind the wing, rather than nose on. Now I've been over about 5/6 times since they arrived there's a few points I've noticed. As I'm sure is obvious from my long running series of pics from Lakenheath (and Mildenhall), it's very accessible and easy to photograph at. Whilst we can get around virtually all military airfields in the UK, Lakenheath is one of the few that has a proper, dedicated viewing car park, it's even signposted from the main
  9. Hi Gents, Here's another batch of pics from the RAF Lakenheath approach shot yesterday morning after the fog had cleared. Originally I wasn't planning a trip but booked the day off late on Monday due to feeling poorly after the Covid and flu injections, felt better late Monday, saw that Tuesday was going to be a sunny Autumn day so decided not to waste it. All standard resident F-15E and F-35As, with about 25 sorties in a three hour spell, all AM. F-15s first, and both the 492nd and 494th are currently back home - no specially marked up jet I'm afraid!
  10. Gents, A few piccys from a run over to Lakenheath one evening earlier this week. The summer months give you a chance to shoot from the North side with the sun behind you rather than the more normal South side. The forecast was for clearing skies at the end of the day but they got that mostly wrong so I got just a 10 minute spell of sunlight on just 2 of the F-35s and about 4/5 F-15s from the 16 that recovered from the late afternoon/early evening sortie. The Elmendorf F-22s that came in en route to Poland were hangered and out of sight although they finally went Thursday.
  11. Hi all/Bee, Thanks for the kind words. No further updates at the moment as the weather has been a bit grey in the evenings. Your question about the exhausts is one that I've wondered for many years and I've never found a answer from somebody who could say why with any authority. I realize the UK military is permanently short of funding but even allowing for that I can't believe we would not fit that mod purely for cost reasons so I can only assume that there must be a operational reason we don't do it - whatever that may be. I do recall reading somewhere - and I can't remember wher
  12. Hi gents, No, it's not a run over to Lakenheath, or even Mildenhall, but the results from a few evenings at somewhere a lot closer, actually just a few miles over the fields - Wattisham airfield. The airfield is a former RAF fast jet base, operating the last of the RAF F-4s until 1992. It was then handed over to the army, specifically the helicopter units coming out of Germany. Since 2007 it has been the main operating base of the British variant of the Apache - the WAH-64D. However, a few years ago it was decided to wind down the WAH-64 which required a very UK specific logistics
  13. Gents, Thanks for that. I am curious about the reflectors as I've never seen them missing before on routine flights, so maybe, as said above their may now be a fleet wide plan to remove them. I'll keep a eye out for other operators F-35 pics taken recently to see what happens there. I have seen some pics taken at Lakenheath by others on 10th May that show the same aircraft I photographed without reflectors, but a couple of others that were not out last Thursday/Friday that were still fitted. May be coincidence but those jets had the outboard AAM rails fitted, something I haven't se
  14. Hi gents, Some more pics from the last two days as I managed to book a couple of days, although when I did that the weather forecast was a lot better than how it turned out. A few changes here since the last visit. The 493rd F-15Cs are now history, all flyers have now returned to the US and look as if they're being split up amongst the various ANG units. 84-0001 has stayed here, and theories range from it being used as a maintenance trainer to replacing the F-15A (a model that never flew from here) that is currently on the pole near the main gate. The 495th FS's complement is now u
  15. Hi gents, Feel free to grab the images on a facebook page. If you want a bigger edit, PM me with a direct email and I'll send it over. Hi Jeff! I wish I'd spoked to the guy now but there was a lot of people about those two days. I must admit it didn't really help much at Lakenheath as distance and height is not really a problem there. When I moved over to Mildenhall he'd beaten me too it and the lift was already up and that does help clearing the parked tankers on the Southern stands to get a clear view of the runway, which a basic ladder struggles to do. Gary
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