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gary1701

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About gary1701

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  • Birthday 08/23/1969

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    http://gary1701.piwigo.com/
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    Stowmarket, Suffolk, UK (Neighbour to the AAC Apache AH1).

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  1. gary1701

    CD48149 - F-15E Lakenheath Strike Eagles

    Hi, It's strange but as I'm the local to Lakenheath I've been following the thread with interest even though I was not able to get over and photograph any of the 494th FS (I could have done the Sunday batch if given the heads up...grr!) when they returned, but just seeing 97-0219 from the 492nd listed suddenly made me remember that was the jet I shot a couple of months ago with the green star. I was just going to post a query but I can see I've been beaten to it! I know they're already on the forum elsewhere but reference pics, 30/11/2018; Gary
  2. Gents, I can't speak for war shots, but the F-15E's at Lakenheath have only just started to carry AIM-9X training rounds in the last couple of months. Even then it's still probably a 50/50 spilt with the AIM-9M. Gary
  3. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Hi again, Chris, Word about at the moment is that it will be reviewed in January sometime. pretty sure we will know soon after they start operating down there again. I wouldn't be surprised if they are under further restrictions though. One of the UK tabloids carried a nice shot of a 48th F-15E surrounded in vapour a few days ago so I'm pretty sure that the USAF aircraft in the country, even the Navy Hawks have been through. Here's another random selection of Lakenheath pulled from the archives. A couple from formal visits onto the base, from 2007 and 2011 if I remember correctly. I have mixed feelings about the visits onto the base. It's always interesting to go on and meet the guys and have a look at areas other than just the jets. However, the restrictions for photography are extremely tight so if that is a major interest it has limited appeal. I turned down a trip last year as I didn't think it was worth a day's leave from work. I was pleased to see this sign on one of the shelters, paying homage to the F-111 crew lost in 1986. Even managed to shoot a few from the tower during one of the visits. Whilst most of my pics are taken from the 24 end, you can photograph down the other end at Lakenheath, although it's limited. Swedish Gripen's deployed for one exercise. NATO E-3 turning in for a tight circuit. Back to the 24 end and a detachment of Turkish F-16s passing through to the US for a exercise. Lithuanian Air Force C-27 dropping in and supporting a deployment of 493rd FS jets on Baltic Air Policing. Resident returning in one of my favourite times to shoot, just prior to dusk. Finally, for this batch, a pic in conditions little different. The first deployment of the F-22 to Europe was actually in 2010, not the 2016 deployment that many in the aviation media stated. Unfortunately, the four Elmendorf F-22s arrived in terrible conditions. That's it for this batch. Gary
  4. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Hi Chris, No change that I know of yet. Seen no evidence that the RAF are back but I believe the 48th and Mildenhall SOW have been down in the loop. Any change and I'll post it up. Gary
  5. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Hi gents, Here's a selection from the archives showing mostly A-10Cs from the 81st Fighter Squadron during a deployment to Lakenheath in August 2011. They used to do this occasionally to use the UK ranges and exercise/low flying areas as I believe it allowed them better training opportunities compared to closer to home at Spangdahlem. Ironically this was the last time they deployed as they were disbanded shortly afterwards, the final A-10 based in Europe. They arrived in pairs, complete with baggage pods and after visiting Holbeach range whilst enroute. I was able to spend quite a few days over at Lakenheath during that week. Being the height of summer the long evenings allowed the rare opportunity to get around to the other side and photograph them. I remember I was having a few problems with focusing at the time, and I never did find out why, so found a lot of pics slightly blurred, but I managed to get enough that were sharp. I hope so as I still use the same lenses now, eight years later! The 48th were also busy. I remember one evening watching them on the army training area at Stamford, just North of Lakenheath working a FAC exercise close enough to the airfield that you could see them orbiting whilst sitting at Lakenheath. This rather shy C-12 was also working with them for a couple of days during the deployment. He always fast taxied and didn't seem to like being photographed! A-10s on runway 24, about to depart. Hope that's okay for a little Christmas update on the thread. The 48th used to fly a couple of days normal ops in between Christmas and New Year, which allowed me the chance for a few piccies during the holiday, but this is the second year they haven't done it. Weather is grey and grotty here in East Anglia anyway! Gary
  6. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Hi, Yes, the different colours are allocated to the squadrons, which is a fairly standard pattern in the USAF. At Lakenheath the 492nd is blue, 493rd is yellow outlined in black, and the 494th is red. The now transferred 56th Rescue Squadron shows as green on the multi colour wing jets, but never carried green on their Pavehawks. Gary
  7. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Hi Phil, I will try, got a couple more days off next week, last before Christmas but UK weather in December...lovely light when the suns out, as it was on Friday, but that's going to be rare now! I saw the pics of the mass runway taxi of F-35s and some footage of the launch, nice. The rumour network in the UK is normally very reliable, and rarely gets it wrong but I think this might be one of those cases when it is wrong, as early December seems a strange time for a deployment exercise. There's been none of the usual signs with support flights that are the usual give away that it's imminent, although apparently Hill personnel are already on the base according to the locals with the connections. We will see but in this case I'm not confident. A couple more pics that were worth editing; Showing the 492nd on the intake but no fin flash. Gary
  8. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Hi Phillip, Thanks and I have just stumbled across this, which fits the time scale for the 492nd deployment last year. https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a27001/syria-iran-drone-shaheed-129/ Gary
  9. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Gents, After a week of near non-stop rain and gales today was blessed with near clear skies and I also had a couple of days off so thought I would put in a Friday morning on the 24 approach at Lakenheath. Nothing unusual was expected or known so it was just going to be the locals. There's still a rumour going around of another deployment of Hill F-35s but they were supposedly meant to be in last weekend so I have my doubts now. Another reason just to catch the locals is that a month ago I bought a near new camera off a friend (a Canon Eos7D MkII to replace my long standing Mk1 model) and when I used it on a Saturday morning at Mildenhall recently I wasn't impressed with the focusing, supposedly one of the cameras strengths. It turns out a lot of the in depth settings had been changed so this was a first opportunity to test it again after resetting it and it seems okay now on this evidence. So here's a selection from this morning, pretty standard fare on runway 24 with a first wave from the 492nd, followed by a late morning wave from the 494th. The C models from the 493rd messed off down to Italy a week or so ago so no action from them. I'm trying these at 1200 pixels rather than my usual 1024 to see how they go. Anybody know anything about the star on 97-0219? I can't find anything about it and the 492nd did do a long deployment down in the desert during 2017, so maybe connected with that - a drone perhaps? Some of the 492nd still retain their mission marks from the 2017 deployment, unlike the 2018 deployment by the 494th who removed them straight away, mind you. They were a lot more restrained than the 494th. Newly changed 48th FW jet. They haven't marked out the green on the fin for the now transferred 56th RS. 494th returning. Note that on the near jet of the two ship you can see that it was one of the airframes marked with the flashy nose art that has been roughly removed. Hope they're up to standard. Also noticed that a few of the 494th FS jets were now carrying AIM-9X drill rounds rather than the usual older AIM-9M. Gary
  10. Hi guys, The local enthusiasts over here have fond memories of the then Colonel Robert Novotny when he was the boss at the 48th. He gained a large following on the various Lakenheath newsfeeds online, and unashamedly considered himself an aviation 'nut' in the various pieces he wrote for the local newspaper here in Suffolk. It was his idea to get the Vulcan over Lakenheath in formation with F-15s a few years back, and made sure that the local community knew about it so they could come and watch. I didn't see it myself, but I'm told his final flight from Lakenheath, when he led a four ship through the Mach Loop and posted the details on the web so the loop photographers knew they were coming was a sight to see. He sounds like a very switched on and public minded guy so after his various initiatives at Lakenheath this doesn't surprise me. Gary
  11. gary1701

    CD48149 - F-15E Lakenheath Strike Eagles

    Gents, Unfortunately they didn't waste anytime in taking them off. I think guys who had a base visit a few days later saw them being taken off. I just got back from a morning photo trip to Lakenheath and shot some of the 494th jets involved and can clearly see on at least one jet where the markings have been removed. Gary
  12. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Chris, Just a update, a USAF pilot friend has told me that a contact has told him that all RAF frontline types are now banned from the loop for a year. I'm surprised at the length of the ban, but it did seem clear that this one was more than just a 'ticking off' from the CO. My contact believes that training types (RAF and RN Hawks) and other services, including UK based USAF aircraft (Mildenhall SOW and Lakenheath F-15's) are unaffected, although I haven't heard of any going through since this happened, so not sure on that front. However, if you take out RAF frontliners, that's probably 60/70% of the traffic gone. Gary
  13. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Hi Bee, this is the incident that caused the current fuss, pasted from the woman's twitter feed. I know it looks fairly harmless but there are some quite strict rules concerning low level passes through the Mach Loop and this has broken quite a few. It also was a set up job as the woman who took it has connections within the RAF so it's clearly showboating to the camera and there's been some quite strong fallout from it. Having photographers given the heads up by aircrew contacts is nothing new, I know several guys who have been in regular contact with the F-15 crews at Lakenheath and know exactly when they're coming through. The crew rooms at Lakenheath are covered in large framed prints of their jets low level in the loop and many of those pics are not taken by chance. When Colonel Novotny flew his 'fini' flight as 48th FW boss a few years ago he made sure that everybody knew exactly when he would be leading a flight through the Loop. Nothing wrong with all that, as long as they still fly to the rules and don't showboat, unlike this guy. So the consequences are that all RAF Typhoon (possibly all military traffic, don't know on that) are now on what may be quite a lengthy ban on doing the loop. It comes at a bad time, as some locals have started a campaign to get all loop flights banned and it has gained quite a lot of publicity recently, the local MP is also onboard so if this reaches them imagine trying to justify low level flying here as essential training for professional military pilots - all they're going to think is that every fighter pilot really is a Top Gun Pete Mitchell caricature and their concerns are justified. Gary
  14. gary1701

    RAF Lakenheath photo thread

    Chris, Just a heads up, RAF Typhoon units are now on a enforced 'break' from the Mach Loop - somebody has been a bit silly and it's been filmed and posted on Social Media (as it would) so it may well be a bit quiet over in the valleys. I don't know if this also applies to other UK military types or the USAF units. It's not the first time, when will they learn..! Gary
  15. gary1701

    RAF Mildenhall photo thread

    Hi gents, A few more from todays trip over to Mildenhall. I didn't actually plan on going over at all, popped over to Bury St Edmunds, which is just 10 miles from Mildenhall this morning, intending only on visiting this! The opening of the towns annual Sci-Fi exhibition. Complete with actors on the opening morning. When I came out the weather looked good so figured I might as well carry on and see what was about. Got there late morning and RC-135S 'Cobra Ball' was just about to roll and head home. I'd forgotten he was in and if I'd been a few minutes earlier he would have taxied down past Folly Rd in front of me. Quite rare HC-130J from California ANG arriving. Pretty new as well, 2015 fiscal on the tail. This '135 passing through needs a identity. The same C-40 as last weekend also turned up again. The TDY RC-135U was out on a planned 17 hour sortie, having left at 3AM local, so I had my doubts I was going to see him but he came back early. I photographed '847 here back in May with a sharks mouth, and I found out today that the other airframe, '849 has also gained one now as well. 'Luigi 16' returning after 'only' a 13 hour sortie. Even better I heard that the Western end of 'Bravo' taxiway is out of service at the moment, meaning he would have to back taxi down the runway and come off and taxi past us! Followed by 'King 99' departing after a quick turn. Not bad for a day when I didn't actually intend to go over. Gary
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