gary1701 Posted December 11, 2022 Share Posted December 11, 2022 (edited) 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. That's a selection from the very large amount I took of these guys when they came back. The concerns we had that the relationship between the photographers and the 48th FW would change because of the F-35 arrival are definitely unwarranted. The jet may never be a looker but the Valkyrie's are doing their best to show it off. Elmendorf F-22s have been in Europe. mostly at Lask in Poland for a while now, and the drag to take them back has been assembling for a week or so, with various KC-46's, KC-10s and US based KC-135s arriving at Mildenhall over that time. These guys came in direct from Elmendorf so it was expected they would go back direct, which would be a hefty trip. Given what usually happens with these nowadays the locals were watching with interest. The first two attempts at the beginning of the week were canned before anybody got off the deck due to the usual serviceability problems. On Thursday the Raptors were off the deck and West bound when it fell apart at Mildenhall. The tankers were serviceable but because it was sub-zero they didn't start to de-ice them in time so they couldn't launch to meet the drags time window and the whole thing was canned. The Raptors couldn't get back into any of the planned diversions in Europe as the weather was below minimums so we're sitting at Lakenheath (blue skies!) starting to think we might get a bonus, although the Raptor drivers were none too pleased. Sure enough diversion into Lakenheath once they've run their fuel down over East Anglia. 'Cube 21/26' flight came in in three pairs. Nice. Although you can't see it at this resolution, Cube 23 has a RAAF exchange pilots name on the nose wheel door. Nice bonus, for us anyway but I can guess that they're not pleased with Mildenhall. Friday morning the crossing was back on... six started, four taxied after two went u/s, one came back immediately after also going u/s, although he was able to quickly hop into one of the now fixed jets and rejoin the flight as a four ship - this time only as far as Langley. The other two remain here. Slow start from the F-15s on Thursday but they did start up late morning. Lady Liberty still looks nice. I must have seen Bane on every trip over in 2022! ...and some plain jane jets. Eagles hot pitted and went out again, and although I was hoping for some arty sunset shots as the sun sets directly inline with the runway this time of year, they came back a little early so went for some close up, down by the approach low light shots. I was hoping to try it with the '35s, but they they didn't go up again after their early morning wave. Now Friday morning is very similar as it was F-15s only, no '35s so I won't repeat the same shots again, although, and finally, there was a exception. At last, they got the anniversary F-15 up in the morning wave. It seems to be a bit of a hangar queen, just like that final F-15C the 493rd marked up at the beginning of the year. It flew last week, coming back with a IFE and taking the cable and this was I believe it's first trip out since. Straight in only, no circuits unfortunately (the Raptors were holding for their departure) and it would have been nice to see the airbrake but no complaints. So that's it, a very small selection from a excellent two days of bright sunshine, but sub-zero temperatures. Good on the F-35 guys for sending somebody out with a load of sqn souvenirs on Friday morning. He did pretty well and I now have a official 495th Valkyrie's cap and patch. I'd have loved to have stopped to talk to the guy but unfortunately on Friday I had to be somewhere in the afternoon. Gary - still thawing out! Edited December 11, 2022 by gary1701 Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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