gary1701 Posted March 25, 2022 Share Posted March 25, 2022 (edited) 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 stuck over here after seven months then there was quite a bit to hopefully photograph even if both the resident F-15E sqn's have deployed. I'd also hoped to see the black tailed and specially marked F-15 the 493rd have marked up for disbandment but unfortunately they picked a bit of a hangar queen and '172 has been broke for over two weeks and isn't apparently going to be fixed anytime soon. As it turned out I was able to get two days over at Lakenheath this week, Wednesday with them being on 06 and launching towards me and yesterday with them back onto 24 and landing at the viewing end. I'll concentrate on the Reapers for this thread and put other types elsewhere. So Wednesday saw them coming off towards the Eastern end and the hope was for some low and hopefully banked climbs. Although the other types weren't up for it on the day the Reaper four ship was. As can be seen the well known 'LN' and all sqn markings have been removed from most of them in readiness for them to be passed over to a new owner in the US. Reaper 02 was quite keen. Unfortunately, despite the sunny conditions it was still quite misty. Reaper 03 was slightly better. The No 4 kept it flat but was low. That was pretty much it for the Wednesday as they landed straight in on the other end and the sun goes around making shots difficult from here after late morning when they're on 06. Yesterday found them back on the more normal 24 end. I also heard on the grapevine that a number of the 493rd pilots were on their fini flights today so hoped for some spirited returns. If anything it was even more misty than the previous day! Same routine with the two four ship flights consisting of a pair each of F-15Cs and F-35s, although the second flight was a hour late as both F-15s broke after taxiing and had to go in, although they did come back out again. We may not have seen the marked up jet, but some improvised nose art seems to have appeared, 'Machette'. 84-0027 has been the sqn flagship for most of the time it's been here, and I've photographed it many times. Now stripped of sqn markings, LN codes and even it's two 1991 Gulf victory markings, hopefully to be reapplied by a new owner. That covers the F-15Cs from the last few days and probably the final time I will photograph them at Lakenheath. I have many more of other types to put under a different thread in the next few days. Gary Edited March 25, 2022 by gary1701 Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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