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Low-Level Flying Photography

Photographic Logs for 2007
(For all these shots, I used my Canon EOS 20D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f4/f5.6 L IS lens 
or a Canon EF 300mm f2.8 L with and without a x1.4 extender).


Days before 6 Squadron disband and retire the Jaguar from RAF service.
Jaguar T.4 (XX840 'EY') callsign 'Tempest 2' low level flying in Wales.  

Thursday December 20, 2007 It's the shortest day and sub-zero temperatures and I am only out in the hills of Wales to hopefully capture the last flight ever of a Sepecat Jaguar. The Jaguar (T.2B (XX833) of ATEC of QinetiQ at Boscombe Down) was visitng a few bases as part of a morning sortie and then going low level in the afternoon on a second and final sortie. Due to ice on the runway at Boscombe Down the morning sortie was delayed two hours till 12:00 which put back the second sortie to a departure time of 14:30. I chose my hill and stubbornly stuck it out till sun down. Unfortunately the delayed departure and the blinding low sun ruined any chance of decent shots from the hill I chose. So late in the day the pilot was forced to climb out of my valley to avoid flying into the sun. What shots I did get have been drastically cropped but at least serve as a final record of the Jaguar's highly successful career. These were the last two ever images taken of a Jaguar at low level by anyone.

Thursday November 29, 2007 With a forecast of sun and little cloud I headed for Wales. Mountains generate their own weather and the day was more cloudy than expected, combined with the low sun it meant for a less than bright day most of the time. Today's tally was 17 Hawks, a Dominie, an Alpha Jet twice, plus a Tornado and Typhoon. Even though the Dominie and some Hawks did not take the left turn, it was still a good day.
Left to right: Alpha Jet (ZJ646) operated by ATEC of QinetiQ at Boscombe Down. (ISO 400)
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (two unidentified plus XX301 and XX195) from Valley.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZG775 '134') in 12 Squadron colours but using callsign 'Marham 31'. Typhoon T.1 (ZJ812 'BK) with 29(R) Squadron.

Friday November 23, 2007 Bright sunshine today in Wales produced 13 Hawks and just before the sun went down a pair of Harriers. The first Hawk came through at 08:32 but the morning was slow with a just a few more. A shadow moved up the opposing hillside and by lunchtime the aircraft were flying through it. With an a couple of hours to go before sunset, I decided to move up to the exit of the valley and avoid the problems with the shadow. 
Left to right: Hawk T.1W (XX314) and Hawk T.1A (XX217) in 208(R) Squadron markings.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX174) and Hawk T.1Ws (XX349 and XX313) in 208(R) Squadron colours.
Left to right: Harrier GR.9s (ZD379 '27') with no squadron marks and (ZD406 '35') in the now joint 800/801 Naval Air Squadron markings of the Naval Strike Wing, including the more recently applied black and white chequered fin tip. 

Tuesday October 2, 2007 Poor weather and just seven Hawk movements today and so I don't have many images to show for my effort.
Left to right: Hawk T.1A (XX315) of 19(R) Squadron and Hawk T.1A (XX335/- ex 'CR') in 100 Squadron colours.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX169) of 19(R) Squadron and three images of and Hawk T.1A (XX335/-) which came around again three minutes later. The cockpit shots have been cropped for affect.

Wednesday September 26, 2007 Blank, due to an 'Avoid' for a helicopter which was supposed to be working in my valley.

Thursday August 16, 2007 At the A5 hoping to catch some arrivals for the Valley photo-call. With poor weather and very few movements I came away with very little.
Left to right: Hawk T.1As (XX198, XX174 and XX301) all of 208(R) Squadron. 

Wednesday August 8, 2007 Went to Wales to get away from it all. The peace and quiet was only disturbed twice with a Hawk and an Alpha Jet.
Left to right: Hawk T.1A (XX187) of 208(R) Squadron. I picked up the QinetiQ Alpha Jet (ZJ646) late and messed up most of the shots. It did come around again but then behind me, so no chance of any more shots sadly. This year it was 'Sad Monday'.

Wednesday August 1, 2007 Today I was looking to capture some different images which because of the panoramic backdrop, the images look like low level air to airs. Today was a families day at RAF Lyneham and for some reason at least one their C-130 Hercules was in the area, making three passes, one high. A three house break in movements was due to a civil Jet Ranger spraying the bracken at the bottom of the valley.
Left to right: C-130K Hercules C.3 (XV202) of Lyneham Transport Wing.
Left to right: The 2007 Display Hawk T.1 (XX307) with Hawk T.1As (XX280 and XX189) of 19(R) Squadron.
Left to right: C-130K Hercules C.3 (XV202) of Lyneham Transport Wing.
Tornado GR.4 (ZG752 '129') with 13 Squadron.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4s (ZA552 'XI' and ZG752 '129') with 13 Squadron.

Tuesday July 31, 2007 At one of my usual haunts which requires a swap at around 13:00 to the other side of the valley. Today's swap cost me a Tornado GR.4 which flashed over my head five minutes after starting the move. The morning in good sun produced an Alpha Jet and surprisingly a German Navy Sea King with a handful of Hawks.
Left to right: Hawk T.1As (XX261 and XX157 of 208(R) Squadron and XX199 of 19(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Alpha Jet (ZJ646) operated by ATEC/QinetiQ at Boscombe Down.
Left to right: Westland Sea King Mk.41 (89+57) of MFG-5 German Navy (Marineflieger) enroute to RNAS Culdrose for an airshow. Hawk T.1A (XX330) and Hawk T.1W (XX312).

Tuesday July 24, 2007 I went to Wales today with one objective, to capture the A-10s currently deployed to Lakenheath, while their runway at Spangdahlem is being repaired. The A-10s after many flights to the ranges they now appear to have some time available for low-flying. On hearing them call on the scanner as going through the Lichfield corridor and bound for LFA7, I made my way even higher on the very steep hillside. 20 minutes later there they were a pair, flying comparatively slowly up the valley. The day also accounted for 7 Hawks, a Harrier T.10 and a C-130J which slipped into the side of my valley but was too high when it came past me for a low level photograph.
Left to right: Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt II (81-0988 'SP') of 52nd FW, 81st FS normally based at Spangdahlem in Germany.
Left to right: A-10A Thunderbolt II (82-0650 'SP').
Left to right:  A-10A Thunderbolt II (82-0650 'SP') and Harrier T.10 (ZH659 '107') of 20(R) Squadron from RAF Wittering.
A-10A Thunderbolt II (82-0650 'SP') on the port inner pylon is a AGM-65 Maverick missile.
This is the first shot of the sequence just to show what a good bit of cropping does.

Wednesday June 6, 2007 A slow day but the first movement of the day, the ETPS Andover which is very rarely seen flying at low level, more than made up for the small number of passes. Two Hawks, a Tucano and a Tornado was today's total. I missed three Hercules yesterday and another two today through being in the wrong valley, very frustrating watching them at a distance.
Left to right:  Andover C.1 (XS606) of Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) from Boscombe Down.
Left to right: Hawk T.1A (XX220 x2) of 208(R) Squadron, just click this image to see the action! Hawk T.1A (XX317) of 19(R) Squadron and Tornado GR.4A (ZE116 '116') of 13 Squadron using callsign 'Marham 18'.

Tuesday June 5, 2007 Day one of a two day trip two Wales. Two Typhoons, Two Tornado (one twice), six Hawks and a Tucano was the count for the day. The Typhoon pass was the highlight of the day, the second cut the corner for a near nose on shot. 
Left to right: Typhoon F.2 (ZJ934 'QO-T') of 3(F) Squadron but was flown by a USAF exchange pilot apparently.
Left to right: Typhoon F.2 (ZJ919 'DC') in 11 Squadron markings and was flying with a 3(F) Squadron Typhoon coded 'QO-T'.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4A (ZA400 '011') still in 'Operation Telic' markings complete with 'sharksmouth'.
Left to right: Hawk T.1As (? with XX287) of 19(R) and Hawk T.1W (XX195) of 208(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4A (ZG729 'M') of 13 Squadron.

6 Squadron Jaguar T.4 two seat (XX840 'EY')
Tuesday May 22, 2007 With just days left before 6 Squadron relinquish the last of their few remaining Jaguars a number of low level sorties were flown. Today I was able to catch a Jaguar T.4 in the morning and a Jaguar T.4 and a GR.3A mid-afternoon twice through my welsh valley. Two F-15Es, a pair of Hawks and a Tornado F.3 completed a very exciting day. 
Left to right: Jaguar GR.3A (XZ399 'EJ') callsign 'Tempest 1' and flown by 6 Squadron OC just before achieveing 2000 hours on the Jaguar.
Left to right: Jaguar GR.3A (XZ399 'EJ') and Jaguar T.4 (XX840 'EY') callsign 'Tempest 2' low level flying in Wales.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX169) of 19(R) Squadron, F-15E Strike Eagle (91-0321 'LN') of 492nd FS / 48FW and finally at 17:35 there was Tornado F.3 (ZE968 'HB') of 111 Squadron.

Wednesday April 4, 2007 With perfect weather forecast and to avoid another blank, I set off for mid-Wales to revisit a seldom used location, which is in a wide part of a popular valley for low-flying. Today many of the aircraft were high though here and some took the corner wider than others and so some of the images have had to be cropped. With 20 or more Hawks, two Tornado GR.4s and a pair of F-15s the day more than lived up to expectations. With the 'Fast Mover' exercise centered around Castle Martin in South Wales it was difficult to say if that would increase traffic or not. 
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX307 and XX185) of 208(R) Squadron and F-15E Strike Eagle (c/s 'Card Flight' 91-0315 'LN' and 97-0221 'LN' '492FS').
Left to right: Hawk T.1W (XX167) and two images of Hawk T.1 (XX307) both of 208(R) Squadron and Tornado GR.4A (ZG729 'M') of 13 Squadron using callsign 'Marham 23'
Left to right: Two images of Hawk T.1 (XX174) of 208(R) Squadron and Tornado GR.4 (ZA560 '050') in 14 Squadron colours but using 617 Squadron callsign of 'Vandal 1'.

Tuesday March 20, 2007 First blank of the year, that is no movements all day. It was not until the end of the day that we found out that there was an 'Avoid' which was not on the NOTAM system, for a helicopter with under-slung loads which was operating a few miles north at the end of the valley. At this time of the year helicopters are frequently employed to carry stones up to the mountainsides for repairing eroded footpaths.

Wednesday March 7, 2007 First day out this year with 18 passes, seven of which were front-liners, it was a great start to the year. In switching sides at 13:00 to keep the hazy sun behind me, I missed a Special Forces C-130. A bright but overcast day generally, with 75% humidity it meant that there were often vortices during the tight turns.

Left to right: First movement of the day at 9:07 Hawk T.1W (XX176) of 19(R) Squadron fitted with CBLS (Carrier, Bomb, Light, Store) pods under each wing. The CBLS are sometimes fitted for training sorties to show the student the differences of the handling and higher fuel consumption with stores fitted. 
C-130J-30 Hercules C.4 (ZH871) with QinetiQ (Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre/Heavy Aircraft Test Squadron) at Boscombe Down.
Two Tornado GR.4s ZA597 '063' and ZA406) the second one (ZA406) was in 2 Squadron markings.
Pulling 'G' Tornado GR.4 (ZA597 '063') was the first of a pair at 11:37
Left to right: C-130J-30 Hercules C.4 (ZH871), Tucano T.1 (ZF511) the only one left flying in the old red/white scheme, it is with the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) based at Boscombe Down and Hawk T.1s with 208(R) Squadron (XX238) and with 19(R) Squadron (XX169).
Left to right: A pair of Harrier GR.9s, the first (ZG530 '84') in 800 NAS colours came in high with (ZG506 '77') in 20(R) Squadron colours following at 250 feet. Using callsigns 'Pagan 1' and 'Pagan 2' they were operating with 20(R) Squadron. 
Left to right: Tornado F.3 (ZE755 'YL') in 25 Squadron colours, this aircraft however is with QinetiQ (Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre/Fast Jets Test Squadron) and is operating from Boscombe Down.