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Wattisham families day.

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Hi gents,


It's been far too long since I posted any pics but haven't been anywhere for the last couple of months. Yesterday I got myself a invite onto the Army Air Corps Apache base just up the road from me at Wattisham. The base is celebrating it's 80th anniversary this year as it opened in 1939, just in time for war and has been used by the RAF, USAAF, RAF again and now the AAC. It has a number of noteworthy achievements. Initially a RAF Blenheim base the very first RAF bombing raid  on Germany was flown from here, just 24 hours after war was declared. Given over to the 8th Air Force, it then hosted the final 8th AF group to operate the P-51, the 479th. Robin Olds was a sqn CO at Wattisham. Post war it became a RAF fighter station. It was the final RAF base to operate F-4s, which were retired in 1992, the base going to the Army the following year and is now home to all AAC frontline Apache units. 


I wandered up to the fence in the morning prior to the afternoon event, as I knew that the Mildenhall CV-22 was due in early. Sure enough, bang on time, although not quite as good an angle as I can usually get at Mildenhall. Nice of the 7th SOS to send the aircraft that carries the 'Air Commando' heritage markings.




Some of the warbirds arriving.








The only airworthy Blenheim was nice given the types association with Wattisham.






Onto the base for the afternoon. I went and had a chat with the 7th SOS guys at the CV-22 as I was curious as to the reason for the names that have now been allocated to their Ospreys. Apparently aircraft 08-0050 is 'patches' as it carries battle damage patches from small arms fire when away on TDY in Africa. 11-0057 is named 'Zeus' as it's been stuck by lightning.


Close up of the markings on '065. Despite being their newest, it has already passed 'Zeus' in lightning strikes!




Being a private, base personnel and guests show, photography was a lot more relaxed and easier than at a full public event. It was a mixture of service displays, private and historic display teams and whatever military aircraft in the area that could be persuaded to do a flypast. A pair from nearby Lakenheath were the first pulled in for a flyby.






RAF did the full Chinook demo.










A new four ship of warbirds has recently formed in the UK similar to the old 'Breitling' team, called the 'Ultimate Fighters', and they were also pulled across into static after landing. It takes three times the bodies to push a P-47 compared to the other fighters!












Never been this close to a running P-47 before.






Another type associated with Wattisham.




Another modern frontliner pulled in for a flypast. If the cold war had continued, the RAF's plan was that Wattisham would have been the first frontline base in the UK to receive the Typhoon. 




Obviously, the residents finished off with the AAC Apache display crew, complete with pyro's.






Hope that little lot are worth a viewing as it's been a barren couple of months.




Edited by gary1701
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