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RAF Mildenhall photo thread

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1 hour ago, 11bee said:

Great pictures as always Gary.  Question - I just noticed that dome-shaped antenna on the aft fuselage of those two CV-22s.  Never seen that before and it wasn't present on the aircraft you photographed earlier this year (at top of page).   Any idea when this first appeared and what it's purpose is (my guess is that it's an upgraded SATCOM rig)?


I really like the way the CV-22 looks with the nacelles configured for high speed flight.




Well spotted that man! 11-0059/60 are both long term residents with the 7th SOS here, and formed part of the initial establishment back in 2013/14. That dome has only recently started to appear on the airframes and this is the first time I've photographed it. I would guess it's a SATCOM antenna but don't know. The upper aerial array configuration has always varied to some degree but that is new. Note the new addition of the full serial on the upper rear fuselage - clearer on '59 than '60. Also first time I've shot them with a Browning in the back.


Local rumour is of a fleet swap over in January, so some or all of these may well change with some different airframes coming in.


Here's one addition, 'Knife 71' in the transition.





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Another run today, exactly a week after the last one, but another bright clear day so with nothing better to do over the holiday period it seemed like a good idea. I still had it in mind that the C-5M that came in on Saturday had not been noted leaving so I had hopes of getting my first shots of that variant, if he actually left and didn't go u/s obviously. Got him..










Not the best place to park a truck.




Not a lot else going on, the usual local circuit work from the 67th SOS. Different aircraft to last week.






CV-22 pair went off as well, first aircraft came back broke, but they swapped air frames quickly and went back out. Figured I'd try down by their pad today as I doubted I would get lucky up the Eastern end two trips running - wise precaution as they came in high.


'Knife 72' was '059', one from last week and went direct to the pad as I hoped. Looks like he'd been in a muddy field whilst out.






'Knife 71', on his second aircraft wouldn't play ball, coming around from the opposite end and behind me. Note, as spotted by bee above, this is a newer airframe (12-0063) but doesn't have the newer additions to the upper fuselage that some of the others have. 




That will certainly be it for 2019. Hopefully next year will provide a few opportunities.



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9 hours ago, Dutch said:

Beautiful photos Gary!  Thanks for sharing your passion and skill!  K/r, Dutch


Thank you. I'll try and add when I can. Weather and work tend to get in the way too much nowadays. Love the profile pic - one of my favorite film characters!



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Hey Gary,


Somewhat OT but you might be interested in this book (assuming you haven't seen it before):




I got it for Christmas and am really enjoying it.   Many of the pics were taken by local spotters.   Had no idea that SAC had such a large footprint in the UK back then.  Fascinating stuff. 

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Hi Bee,


That's a new book on me, might well have a look at it as always looking for new stuff. I see a lot of pics showing US aircraft, including B-47's and aircraft from that era as I'm a member at the local aviation society and we have quite a few members who took pics at Mildenhall and elsewhere back then, I'm one of the younger members and I'm no youngster! We often have slide and digitized presentations at club showing all the types from the 50's and 60's. 


I'm old enough to remember SR-71 ops at Mildenhall and did photograph them in operation (not airshow pics) back in the 80's myself, unfortunately only prints survive.  We still use the same spots even now. The change in operational tempo is massive compared to non-stop back to back movements back then. I had a guy contact me on Monday wanting to visit Mildenhall for the first time on Friday asking for advice on where to go. I did add make sure you bring a book or two!



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Hi Gents,


Just a couple to add here from yesterdays trip out. Already put the Lakenheath ones in a separate thread but as there's not anything special I thought I would put them in the regular thread. It was very quiet, most of the tankers are away, as are most of the MC-130Js as well, just the Ospreys seemed to be here in numbers. There wasn't a single transiting aircraft on the field. Monitoring movements in time to get too the correct spot with the camera is difficult as the radio frequencies are all screwed up at the moment. Late last year there was one of the whole sale frequency changes that occasionally happens with the military allocations in the UK. It should have been straightforward, a set date was announced, I even had a copy of the NATS document listing all the changes so it should have been a case of just changing them in the radio on the date listed....never that easy is it? It's June and some bases have changed some frequencies, some they haven't when they should, some have even changed multiple times. It doesn't matter if us, the enthusiasts can't keep up with it, but the crews seem to be as confused as much as we are. I've lost track of the number of times I've heard crews being told that they have the wrong frequency, or they have to ask what it is as it's not what it should be. So yesterday I was frequently in the wrong place for the few movements I did see.


Based tanker landing and turning off South side. Unfortunately wrong side for the nose art, but shooting across to the runway is a waste of time due to heat haze. Cropped the first a little loose as you can see the tower on the right and the CV-22 line on the left.






This caught me unawares, and at the wrong end of the field as well. RAF C-17 in for some circuit work, which they've been doing quite frequently whilst it's been quiet. That aircraft is the exact airframe I had a flight on nearly 20 years ago when first delivered to the RAF. It's also the one that hardly flies nowadays, it's rumoured to have a few problems.... I would have gone down the other end to get him on the approach, as they're usually in for a while, but after two ILS's he was waved off because of the problems at Lakenheath and the then probability that their F-15s would be diverting into Mildenhall.




I was at the Western end to check if any of the CV-22 were looking like they were going to go out, bearing in mind it takes them forever to prep. Finally got one, but summer is never a good time to try this as the light had already gone around too far.




The last shot before I moved over too Lakenheath for the Retros was one of the few MC-130Js on base coming out.




Then I moved to LN, which is on a separate thread.



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