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Low-Level Flying Photography

Photographic Logs for 2009
(For all these shots, I used a Canon EOS 40D and 7D with x1.6 sensors.
The lenses attached were a Canon EF 300mm f2.8 L with and without a x1.4 extender and a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L)
 
Red Arrow Hawk T.1A (XX253) callsign 'Red 11' on its way from RIAT at Fairford to RAF Valley before continuing to its home base at RAF Scampton on July 20.

Thursday December 17, 2009 A new location today in what was potentially good winter weather which ended in snow showers forcing us down the hill early. Only four Hawks passes two of which were as I was making my way up the hill.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX187) of 208(R) Squadron first of a pair.

Thursday December 10, 2009 A enjoyable day on a valley exit with a handful of RAF Valley Hawks, a Hercules a pair of Hawk T.2s and a missed Harrier which slipped through another valley.
Left to right: Two passes by Hawk T.1W (XX283) of 19(R) Squadron and is fitted with a 30mm Aden Mk4 Cannon pack.
Left to right: C-130J Hercules C.5 (ZH889) of 30 Squadron.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX195) of 208(R) Squadron and the first of a pair of Hawk T.2s (ZK020). 
Left to right: Hawk T.2 (ZK022) of 19(R) Squadron they have just moved up from 20 to 90 hours per week on the Hawk T.2. 

Friday October 30, 2009. It was dull and overcast today with a four hour wait for the first movement. At 11:50 out of the gloom came a pair of F-15E Strike Eagles using callsign 'Jazz 31' for some fantastic flying and multiple passes. A pair of Hawks and a late but high Harrier completed a memorable day.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (97-0217) of 492 FS, 48 FW.   
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (98-0131) of 492 FS 48 FW.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (98-0131) of 492 FS, 48 FW.
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX165 and XX185) of 208(R) Squadron, both back-seaters giving a wave.

Thursday October 8, 2009. Bright but overcast day in the Loop, I arrived late and a Hecules went over my head at 09:00. Discounting the one high pass of a NSW Harrier and two by the second of a pair of F-15Es which was high on both passes there were still 14 low passes.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX234) of 208(R) Squadron made three passes in the day. Hawk T.1W (XX178) of 19(R) Squadron was unusually carrying a CBLS (Carrier, Bomb, Light Stores) pod under each wing.
Left to right: The leader of a pair of F-15E Strike Eagles (91-0313 'LN') callsign 'Storm 31' of 494 FS, 48 FW.
Left to right: First of a pair of Typhoon FGR.4s (ZJ918 'QO-L') callsign 'Rampage' of 3(F) Squadron.
Left to right: Typhoon FGR.4 (ZJ921 'QO-H') callsign 'Rampage' of 3(F) Squadron. 

492 FS, 48 FW F-15E Strike Eagle (98-0133 'LN') just below the mountain top cloud
Tuesday September 15, 2009. A frustrating day in Wales with a number of aircraft coming through high and just one movement in the afternoon. There were eight passes none of which were 4 FTS Hawks.
Left to right: The second of a pair of F-15E Strike Eagles (98-0133 'LN') callsign 'Jazz' of 492 FS, 48 FW which had been out to the ranges followed by a PD to RAF Valley to then circle above the 'Loop' before dropping in to my valley below the cloud that was clinging to the mountain tops.    
Left to right: Hawk T.1As (XX222 'CP' and XX285) of 100 Squadron.   
Left to right: A pair of Tornado GR.4As (ZA372 'E-006') in 2 Squadron markings and unmarked Tornado GR.4 (ZA472 '031') which is carrying two ALARM missiles.  
Left to right: C-130J Hercules (ZH883). 

Thursday September 10, 2009. A great day in Wales (LFA 7) with 22 passes, only two were in the morning with most in the late afternoon and early evening. A few air bases were night-flying this week so it was expected that most of the activity would be after mid-day. The F-15Es flew till the sun went down, which made it very difficult for them when they were flying towards the setting sun.
Left to right: C-130K Hercules C.3 (XV221) was the first movement of the day at 09:55. The Tutor T.1 (G-BYUL) came through at 500 feet.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagles (91-0312 'LN' and 91-0317 'LN') of 494 FS, 48 FW. The first came through on its own at 10:30, the second was the first of a pair using callsigns 'Wild 81 and 82', 'Wild 82' came through high.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZG752 '129') it was unmarked and probably using callsign 'Marham 13'. 
Left to right: Harrier GR.9 (ZD329 '10') was the first of a pair from 800 NAS using callsign 'Vixen Flight'. 
Left to right: Harrier GR.9 (ZG508 '79') in 800/801 NAS markings. Hawk T.1A (XX187) of 208(R) Squadron.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (91-0304 'LN') callsign 'Dirty 51' of 492 FS, 48 FW. 'Dirty 51' and '52' made their passes between 18:14 and 18:18.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (91-0304 'LN') of 492 FS, 48 FW, this aircraft was later to crash in Libya on March 22, 2011 during operation Odyssey Dawn to secure a no fly zone, both crew ejected safely.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (98-0133 'LN') callsign 'Dirty 52' of 492 FS, 48 FW.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (97-0222 'LN') callsign 'Jazz 31' of 492 FS, 48 FW. 'Jazz 31' and '32' made their passes between 18:27 and 18:44 before going on to the Lake District. If you click twice on from the first image you will see a cropped image showing that the Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) is putting is hand up to protect his eyes from the setting sun.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (98-0132 'LN') callsign 'Jazz 32' of 492 FS, 48 FW, the sun is really getting low now and the pilot has to pull up out of the valley as they turn west bound.

MC-130H Combat Talon II (88-0191) following the terrain at 500 feet
Monday August 24, 2009. It was back to the Lakes today. The MC-130H was the only movement in the morning at 11:52. These US Special Forces Hercules have eluded me for six years and this one lumbered up the valley at 500 feet towards me it was easy to spot it in the distance. Other movements today were three Tucano T.1s, three Tornado GR.4s and a Typhoon T.1 at 16:30 to finish off the day nicely.
Left to right: MC-130H Combat Talon II (88-0191 callsign 'Talon 71') of 7 SOS, 352 SOG based at Mildenhall.
Left to right: Tucano T.1 (ZF204) of 207(R) Squadron and Tucano T.1 (ZF244 inscribed 'Moshoeshoe') of 72(R) squadron   
Left to right: Tornado GR.4A (ZA369 '003') first of a pair from of 13 Squadron.  
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZD792 '100') of 13 Squadron with a Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator (TIALD) pod fitted under the fuselage and two 1,500 litre drop tanks.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZA557 '048') using callsign 'Marham 16'. 
Left to right: Typhoon T.1 (ZJ805 'BD') of 29(R) Squadron using callsign 'Typhoon 49'.

Thursday August 6, 2009 With a French squadron exchange of four Alpha Jets at Valley it was back to Wales. It was the Alpha Jets first full day and their first two passes with Hawk escorts were too high. The day of 13 passes included a good variety of interesting frontliners.
Left to right: Anonymous French Air Force Alpha Jets which were being lead by their Hawk escorts and came through very high. 
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZA472 '031') of 9 Squadron using callsign 'Bulkhead 1' later pulled out of low level at Hereford. Earlier they had been to the Air Weapons Range in Cardigan Bay and fired an AIM 9L Sidewinder at a flare-pack towed by a drone. The left taileron you can see cordite deposits left by the missiles rocket motor as it leaves the rail. Tornado '029' below has the same deposits on its left taileron. 
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX200 of 19(R) Squadron, XX244, XX171 and XX201 both of 208(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZA469 '029') of 9 Squadron in special 'Tornado GR4 25 Years On' it was using callsign 'Primus 1' made two passes, the first was a little high. 
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (91-0313 'LN') of 494FS using callsign 'Casino 61'. Hawk T.1 (XX199) of 19(R) Squadron.
Left to right: French Air Force Alpha Jet (E45 '314-TF') on a mid-afternoon solo sortie. A Hawk T.1 which was one of the early morning Alpha Jet escorts.

Monday August 3, 2009 Off to the Lake District today for 'Mad Monday' to be nearer to the Scottish lads who were unusually absent. A damp day had to be called short when later afternoon I lost sight of my car below me in the rain and rapidly descending cloud. Not a bad day however with eight passes, five of which were Tornado GR.4s.
Left to right: Grob Tutor T.1 (G-BYUJ) of 85(R) Squadron, Yorkshire University Air Squadron and No.2 Air Experience Flight based at RAF Church Fenton taking its time with a pair of 13 Squadron Tornado GR.4s (ZA557 '048' and ZD707 '077') 
Left to right:13 Squadron Tornado GR.4 (ZD707 '077').
Left to right: Tucano T.1s (ZF317 in stunning 2009 display 'shark' markings and later ZF339 in 72(R) Squadron markings).
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZD851 '112') with QinetiQ followed later by the same 13 Squadron Tornado GR.4 pair (ZA557 '048'') during its afternoon sortie, I could not see the second GR.4 in the poor light ans so missed the shot.

Monday July 20, 2009 11 passes today with some very exciting movements. The Tornado F.3 with the 111 Squadron special tail markings generously made two passes on its way back to Leuchars after appearing at RIAT at Fairford. The other star movement, again on its way from RIAT, was a single Red Arrow Hawk which gave us no notice due to its tight line through the valley. I just managed to fire off a few shots, this was the first image and is uncropped. A pair of Naval Strike Wing Harriers completed a very enjoyable day.
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX231 and XX349) of 208(R) and 19(R) Squadron.
Red Arrow Hawk T.1A (XX253) callsign 'Red 11' on its way from RIAT at Fairford to RAF Valley before continuing to its home base at RAF Scampton
Bo-105 (G-WAAS) of the Wales Air Ambulance Service responding to a bad car crash in the valley below us.

Left to right: Tornado F.3 (ZE734 'JU') in 111 Squadron special colours 
Left to right: Tornado F.3 (ZE734 'JU') on its second pass. 
Left to right: Harrier pair using callsigns 'Spider 1' and 'Spider 2'' were GR.9A (ZD327 '08A') and GR.7A (ZD411 '40A') of the Naval Strike Wing. They were also returning from displaying at RIAT at Fariford over the previous weekend and were on their way back to Cottesmore.
   

Thursday July 16, 2009 A misty day with the threat of rain showers which materialised at 13:30 after the last movement of the day and only six passes in total.
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX263, XX187, XX175 and XX185) all of 208(R) Squadron.      

Left to right: Typhoon T.1 (ZJ810 'BI') of 29(R) Squadron.

Monday July 13, 2009 Most of the action was in an exciting 25 miniute period with multiple passes from a pair of F-15E Strike Eagles followed by two pairs of Harriers in trail returning to Cottesmore after their appearance at the Yeovilton air show over the weekend. 18 passes for the day, the last at 14:40 when the weather started to close in with some heavy showers.
Left to right: 
F-15E Strike Eagle (91-0313 'LN') of 494th Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath 
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (00-3001 'LN') of 494 FS, 48 FW.
Four Naval Strike Wing Harriers returning to Cottesmore from the weekend at the Yeovilton air show.
Left to right: Harrier GR.9As (ZD348 '15' and ZG504 '75A') with Harrier GR.9 (ZD438 '50'). 
Left to right: Harrier GR.9 (ZD463 '53') which acquired a black and white chequered fin tip during its visit to RNAS Yeovilton, it was unmarked (see below) on June 24.
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX189 and XX176) of 19(R) Squadron and Hawk T.1 (XX263) of 208(R) Squadron. 

Wednesday June 24, 2009 With cloudless skies forecast it was a day not to be missed in Wales. Eleven movements for the day, including a Harrier and Alpha Jet which both flew a sortie in the morning and afternoon. If I had stayed till 18:20 then I would have been rewarded with a pair of Hercules. An F-15E was high and a pair of Typhoons and Tornados crossed over the valley in the day.
Left to right: Unmarked Harrier GR.9 (ZD463 '53').
Left to right: Alpha Jet (ZJ645 '45') with QinetiQ's Fast Jet Test Squadron (FJTS) which has been flying most days in the last week or two.
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX283 x2) of 19(R) Squadron and Hawk T.1 (XX325 x2) of 208(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Hawk T.1W (XX195 x2) and Hawk T.1W (XX231 x2) both of 208(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Harrier GR.9 (ZD463 '53') on its second sortie of the day. DSLR x1.6 sensor + Canon EF 300mm f2.8L 1/800 at f.7.1 ISO 200 with -1 stop exposure compensation.
Left to right: Alpha Jet (ZJ645 '45') on its second sortie.

Tuesday June 16, 2009 A really entertaining day in Wales. The risky move up the valley at mid-day to keep the sun behind me, found a convenient 45 minute gap in the fly-bys, I did not miss anything despite it being one of the busiest days ever. The day totalled 36 passes, including; the QinetiQ Alpha Jet, an F-15E Strike Eagle, four Tornado GR.4s, two King Air 200s, two Harriers and numerous Hawks.
Left to right: Alpha Jet (ZJ645 '45') in the new black and white scheme, it is operated by
QinetiQ's Fast Jet Test Squadron (FJTS) at the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre (ATEC) at Boscombe Down.
Left to right: Hawk T.1A (XX201) and Hawk T.1 (XX231 x2) both of 208(R) Squadron.
F-15E Strike Eagle (96-0205 'LN') of the 492 FS, 48 FW
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (96-0205 'LN') of the 492 FS, 48 FW based at Lakenheath.
Left to right: Hawk T.1W (XX195) of 208(R) Squadron and two King Air B200s (G-RAFP and ZK451 'K') of 45(R) Squadron 15 minutes apart.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 pair (coded '018'? and ZA370 '004') both unmarked, '004' was last noted with 31 Squadron.
Left to right: The Tornado GR.4 pair diving in to the valley before a left turn before the lake. Hawk T.1W (XX195), Hawk T.1A (XX335) and Hawk T.1 (XX???) of 208(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Unmarked Hawk T.1 (XX244) the pilot is using the Hawks air-brake during one of the passes.
Unmarked Harrier GR.9 (ZD375 '23')
Left to right: Unmarked Harrier GR.9 (ZD375 '23') callsign was either 'Wittering 41' (20(R) Squadron) or 'Poison 4' (4 Squadron) as both were in the area.
Left to right: Harrier GR.9 (ZD375 '23')
Left to right: Unmarked Harrier GR.9 (ZD468 '58') callsign was either 'Wittering 41' (20(R) Squadron) or 'Poison 4' (4 Squadron) as both were in the area.
Left to right: Harrier GR.9 (ZD468 '58') diving in to the valley.
Left to right: Unmarked Tornado GR.4 (ZG777 '135') and last reported as with 13 Squadron it was with BAE Systems in December 2010. Three Tornados were in Wales according to radio communications, 'Tribal 2' (13 Squadron), 'Marham 66' and 'Chieftain 1' (2(AC) Squadron).
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZG777 '135') on its second pass followed a little later by unmarked Tornado GR.4 (ZA461 '026').

Thursday April 2, 2009 The weather was not as advertised with low cloud in the morning however it burnt off to give a sunny afternoon. Only trainers today with seven Hawks and three Tucanos which were from a variety of bases and squadrons.
Left to right: Tucano T.1 (ZF510) operated by QinetiQ based at Boscombe Down.

Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX327 and XX162) of the RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine based at RAF Henlow, their aircraft operate from Boscombe Down.
Left to right: Tucano T.1 (ZF374) using callsign 'Linton 13' was continuing on to RAF Shawbury.
Left to right: Tucano T.1 (ZF142) using callsign 'Linton 17' was five minutes behind  'Linton 13' and also going on to RAF Shawbury.
Left to right: Hawk's (T.1W XX224 and T.1 XX156) of 208(R) Squadron.

Wednesday March 18, 2009 A bright day in Wales and expecting the usual Hawk T.1s I got just the one followed by two of the new Hawk T.2s which are being test flown by 19(R) instructors. Two Hercules (one twice but both too high for photographs), a Super King Air (I was high enough for a change to capture it) and a Harrier completed the interesting day.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX165) of 208(R) Squadron and C-130J Hercules C.5 (ZH884) of 30 Squadron, Lyneham Transport Wing.

Left to right: Hawk T.2 (ZK018) of BAE Systems during a low level training flight for a 19(R) instructor in preparation for the Hawk T.2 to enter service with the RAF at Valley.
Left to right: Beechcraft Super King Air B200 (ZK450 'J' also G-RAFJ) of 45(R) Squadron, 3 FTS based at RAF Cranwell.
Left to right: Harrier GR.9 (ZD468 '58') of 20(R) Squadron based at RAF Wittering.

C-130K Hercules C.3A (XV303)
Tuesday February 10, 2009 With snow still on the ground and the prospect was some more 'snow shots' I made my way to Wales where despite being covered in low cloud was still bright. Unfortunately occasional snow showers reduced visibilty down to less than a mile at times, which appeared to put off several pairs of F-15Es. The day produced ten passes, five Hawks, a Typhoon, two from a Hercules and a pair of Tucano's during a snow shower.
Left to right: Typhoon F.2 (ZJ929 'DL') in 11(F) Squadron markings (formally 'QO-A' with 3(F) Squadron) came through in poor weather and assumed to be using callsign 'Typhoon 72'.

Left to right: C-130K Hercules C.3A (XV303) made two passes the second higher then the first.
Left to right: Hawk T.1W (XX231) in 208(R) markings.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX159) unmarked possibly with the Royal Navy who no longer apply Royal Navy markings. Hawk T.1A (XX256) in 19(R) markings. Tucano T.1s (ZF170 'MP-A' 'The Black Prince' 76(R) Squadron and ZF142) which came though as a pair during a snow storm.

Wednesday February 4, 2009 Wales was engulfed in snow making for some interesting images. With a southerly wind low cloud was forming below the mountain tops, necessitating a decision to move from my first choice of location, due to very low cloud at the first. As with most of the week only a handful of Hawks were seen at low level. At my location only a single Hawk made three passes during the day, the first two with just a pilot and the final pass with an instructor and pilot.
Left to right:
Hawk T.1 (XX245) of 208(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX245) of 208(R) Squadron.