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Everything posted by gary1701

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Thanks gents, Nearly forgot after the two day session at Lakenheath. I moved over to Mildenhall for the late afternoon on the second day to catch the sole remaining WC-135 as it concluded a air test at Mildenhall. The aircraft has been deployed to Mildenhall amongst several other Offutt 'white' tops and has been heavily tasked since the Ukrainian war started. This air test was after a engine change. Rumour has it that the 100th ARW at Mildenhall may be activating a second KC-135 squadron to handle the workload. Gary
  15. Thanks gents, Just a few more odds and ends. Two flights of Seymour-Johnson jets returned from Poland on the Wednesday, coming in from the other end. This is the third time since October that they've deployed out somewhere else and returned to Lakenheath, they must be sick of the place! 'Siege 75' put in a overshoot with excellent timing. 'Siege 76' was a little late on the turn. The 510th FS from Aviano has also been deployed here and hopes for some banked F-16 shots on the Wednesday as they came towards
  16. Hi, Not sure what the plan is at this moment in time. I have heard that one of the F-15Cs may stay and replace the old F-15A on the pole at the main gate, which would fit as F-15A's never operated from here. However, I suppose it depends on how much these are in demand back stateside for the ANG units. The jets that have gone back have I believe been allocated around other units, as they are late production C and D models which would be newer than the existing airframes in use. The oldest 84-0001, hasn't been seen or flown for probably a year now so that may be a candidate for the
  17. Gents, As I'm sure many of us know, the 493rd FS (the Grim Reapers) are in the process of winding down on the F-15C/D at RAF Lakenheath, although they will stand up again on the F-35 as the second squadron in the 48th FW to operate the type in the future. Half the jets have already gone back to the US and with the few remaining working in mixed flights with the 495th FS F-35s for the the last few weeks and this week rumoured to be their last routine training week a trip over was in order. Combine that with a deployment of Aviano F-16s and the poor guys from Seymour-Johnson still st
  18. Hi gents, Thanks for the comments. To be honest I can't remember how they sounded compared to a F-15. I had my head down concentrating on the camera for most of the time when they were up close so was distracted. One thing that is quite noticeable is how different they sound on comms to a F-15 or any other fast jet for that matter. I first noticed it when the Hill detachment flew from here a few years ago but on a radio receiver a F-35 pilot sounds far more 'robotic' for want of a better word than the others. It's clear it's a F-35 straight away. There's a detachment o
  19. Gents, Here's a selection from a Friday morning run over to the local which I thought might be of interest. My first shots of the newly delivered 495th FS F-35s with a 3 ship flying early. Only 7 are on strength so far, and 3 of them only arrived directly from Forth Worth the previous day, so this was 3 from 4 active jets in just one flight which was nice. Early morning taxi to runway 24 on a bright winters morning. Unlike the F-15s, the F-35s don't do the EOR checks and just taxi direct. For several months a sqn from the 4th at SJ
  20. Thanks for the kind words gents. I have the coming week off as well but the weather doesn't look anything as kind as when I shot those. If it does change I will probably make another trip over. Also thanks for the info about the posting of images, I was sure it wasn't my imagination and it used to be easier to link images, now I know I'll get it right in future! Gary
  21. Hi habu, Figured it out, now working backwards! Edit; should be sorted now. Strange, as although it's been a long time since I posted any pics I'm damn sure you used to link the image code across with the [img] at either end here - as I do at any other forum I've ever posted at. Has something changed? Gary
  22. Gents. Here's some fairly regular pics from RAF Lakenheath and the 48th Fighter Wing taken over two days last week with some decent weather. This was the first time I have been able to get over since the Aviano F-16s visited early September last year. Nothing much has changed recently, the 492nd and 493rd are at home with the 494th deployed out East but due back within the next month or so following their six month stint. The newly reformed 495th should be standing up soon with the first F-35s due in December. 492nd lead jet on the tight bank for runway 24.
  23. Gents, I know it's been a while since this thread was updated but I just haven't been able to go over since you know what kicked off. Well, this evening was a special event, and by coincidence I had booked the second half of this week off to do some pics now that we can in the UK. Then a few days ago I found out a certain well know aircraft was coming to Mildenhall today. I actually did the day up at RAF Coningsby Typhoon hunting but knowing that this wasn't due in until early evening and it's on my run home I planned a stop. I had fears that security and policing wou
  24. Gents, Here in the UK we're doing pretty well with the vaccine, although it makes a refreshing change considering our track record on Covid so far hasn't been that good. Mum and dad are in their late 70's and early 80's and both had their jabs well over a month ago, no problems at all. Everybody I know in that age group has been vaccinated here for some time. Although it varies by area, they're a lot lower down that list now. At 51 with no other health complications to prioritize me I was called in last Friday morning. All done in around 15 minutes, a slightly aching shoulder in th
  25. Hi, Thanks for the info, I didn't realize it was just part of further modifications. The first two of the 'new' AH-64E's arrived in the UK and were trucked up to Wattisham a week or so ago. This pic from a source at Wattisham (not one of the released pics) shows that they don't have the exhaust mod. Gary
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