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gary1701

RAF Lakenheath photo thread

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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

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On 10/24/2018 at 2:44 PM, gary1701 said:

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

Details man, I want details!

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17 hours ago, 11bee said:

Details man, I want details!

 

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

 

 

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Ahh, well, that is a bummer.  I do understand the need to adhere to rules, of course, but hopefully the vast majority of pilots do adhere to the rules which keeps everyone safe (pilots, residents and aircraft).  That was a LOW flight for sure.  It is fun to see however.  And the squeal at the end was a bonus.  Apparently, looking at her twitter feed, she caught a world of crap for the posting.  Seems like she has a lot of support, thankfully.

 

Chris

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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

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Cheers Gary,


Thanks for the update!  Means a lot actually as now I'll leave the big tripod and the 200-500 home which completely changes my photo bag to something much smaller and more manageable.  The good news is I'm sure I'll have other chances next year to come over and maybe by then the ban will have been lifted.


Really do appreciate the updates!

Chris

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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?

 

IMG-9857.jpg

 

2G5A0192.jpg

 

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.

 

2G5A0170.jpg

 

2G5A0050.jpg

 

2G5A0115.jpg

 

2G5A0178.jpg

 

2G5A9984.jpg

 

Newly changed 48th FW jet. They haven't marked out the green on the fin for the now transferred 56th RS.

 

2G5A0323.jpg

 

2G5A0337.jpg

 

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.

 

2G5A0344.jpg

 

2G5A0371.jpg

 

2G5A0413.jpg

 

2G5A0418.jpg

 

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

 

 

 

 

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I did a quick check and there is mention of an F-15 scoring a drone kill, possibly 2 different aircraft with kills.  97-0219 is mentioned as having the kill marking but I don't see a mention that it was one of the planes involves.  There is also another picture out there of another F-15E from this squadron also carrying a Green Star kill marking.

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Glad to help in any way and keep the pics coming.

 

I live about 45 minutes south of Hill AFB but the 35s don't usually come down this far south.  Haven't heard about a deployment but they recently did a big "Elephant Walk" with them and one of my buddies took some pics.

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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;

 

2G5A0366.jpg

 

2G5A0102.jpg

 

2G5A9996.jpg

 

Showing the 492nd on the intake but no fin flash.

 

2G5A0071.jpg

 

Gary

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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

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19 hours ago, gary1701 said:

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

Interesting! Green used to be the color for the 495th when the wing was still flying the 'Varks!

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97-0219 shot down a UAV over Syria back in 2017, hence the green star. 

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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.

 

IMG-8062.jpg

 

IMG-8138.jpg

 

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!

 

IMG-0993.jpg

 

IMG-8573.jpg

 

IMG-8583.jpg

 

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.

 

IMG-8395.jpg

 

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!

 

IMG-1148.jpg

 

A-10s on runway 24, about to depart.

 

IMG-1254.jpg

 

IMG-1327.jpg

 

IMG-1260.jpg

 

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

 

 

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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

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Excellent photos Gary! The A10 is my favourite aircraft ever - brings back happy memories of cycling up to Lakenheath and Mildenhall as a kid and watching them come in. I am looking to build one in the near future so I will be using the great shots for reference.

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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.

 

IMG-3786.jpg

 

I was pleased to see this sign on one of the shelters, paying homage to the F-111 crew lost in 1986.

 

IMG-4412.jpg

 

Even managed to shoot a few from the tower during one of the visits.

 

IMG-4841.jpg

 

IMG-4810.jpg

 

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.

 

IMG-9039.jpg

 

NATO E-3 turning in for a tight circuit.

 

IMG-9088.jpg

 

Back to the 24 end and a detachment of Turkish F-16s passing through to the US for a exercise.

 

IMG-7033.jpg

 

IMG-7042.jpg

 

Lithuanian Air Force C-27 dropping in and supporting a deployment of 493rd FS jets on Baltic Air Policing.

 

IMG-3419.jpg

 

Resident returning in one of my favourite times to shoot, just prior to dusk.

 

IMG-1152.jpg

 

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.

 

IMG-9151.jpg

 

That's it for this batch.

 

Gary

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35 minutes ago, WAD3 said:

Anybody get shot of the F-15 E that is painted in WWII striping?

 

Hi,

 

Don't think it's flown yet. It's 97-0219 and I would guess knowing what usually happens, the moment it taxies out at Lakenheath word will go out and everybody will descend on the place. I'm gonna struggle though as I'm not going to be able to get over on a week day for the foreseeable future.

 

Gary 

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Thanks Gary. Nice video of it on you tube in the hangar with a P-47 that must have inspired it. Would love to build a F-15E with those markings. So rare when USAF paints up a fighter like that. Even though I’m a vet of the USAF I’ve always preferred he way the US  Navy fighters are painted with their CAG jets. 

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The 48FighterWing over on Instagram and Facebook have posted photos of it, shamelessly copied into this thread; 

Bildet kan inneholde: 1 person

Edited by Niels

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