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Low-Level Flying Photography

Photographic Logs for 2011
(For all these shots I used a Canon EOS 40D and 7D with the following lenses;
Canon EF 300mm f2.8 L with and without a x1.4 extender and a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L)
MC-130H Combat Talon II (87-0024) of 7th SOS, 352 SOG, the only movement of May 24, 2011 due to the Icelandic volcanic dust cloud.

Thursday October 6, 2011 A day in the Loop, low cloud and drizzle and no movements, that is up to the point when I left early. The only movement of the day were a pair of Hawks at 17:05.

Tuesday September 26, 2011 A day in the Lakes, great scenery, decent weather but no aircraft, I must go back to this new valley again though.

Thursday September 15, 2011 Another poor day comprising of just four Hawk T.1s .
Left to right: 208(R) Squadron Hawk T.1s (including XX167 (above) and XX181).

Tuesday August 16, 2011 Another frustrating day hearing a pair of A-10s over the range intending to go low-level but then had a technical problem and RTB.
Left to right: C-130J Hercules C.5 (ZH887) of 30 Squadron.  
Left to right: C-130J Hercules C.5 (ZH887) of 30 Squadron.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX187) of 208(R) Squadron. Hawk T.2 (ZK036) unmarked of 19(R) Squadron

Monday August 15, 2011 A very frustrating day seeing a pair of A-10s pass over our heads and decend in to the next valley.
Left to right: Typhoon FGR.4 (ZJ920 'QO-A') of 3 Squadron.  
Left to right: First of a pair of Hawk T.2s (ZK035) unmarked of 19(R) Squadron, which we have been informed will renumbered 4(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Hawk T.2 (ZK025) and Hawk T.1 (XX174) of 208(R) Squadron to complete another quiet day.

Wednesday August 3, 2011 A very quiet day with just four Hawks, there was no 'Mad Monday' this year.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX318 'CN') of 100 Squadron, it made two passes in the day, one mid-morning the other mid-afternoon.  
Left to right: A pair of Hawks late in the day, Hawk T.1 (XX158) in 19(R) Squadron markings with Hawk T.1 (XX199) of 208(R) Squadron.

Tuesday July 26, 2011 The low-flying today did not follow the usual 'rules' and was full of missed or messed up opportunities. First to appear was a pair of Typhoons, the second (ZJ941 'QO-J') was too high to be photographed. A minute later the first one comes back the other way at around 1,000 feet only to return ten minutes later low down the valley but this time it went straight on. Ten minutes later it was back down the valley initially looking to make the left turn but at the last second turned away to give a unique bottom shot at this location something I have never seen here before.
Next to appear was an F-15E Strike Eagle which makes the turn, three minutes later it returns only to pull out of low-level after missing the turn. A second Eagle appears ten minutes later but goes straight on and again three minutes later. After making the move up the valley I missed a pair of Tucanos. The afternoon produced a high Tornado and a Hawk. Three more Eagles appeared late in the day from different directions but they all failed to drop below 1,000 feet.
Left to right: Typhoon FGR.4 (ZJ942 'DH') in 11 Squadron markings. The image on the left was taken as it passed over Tal-y-llyn lake.  
Left to right: Typhoon FGR.4 (ZJ942 'DH') in 11 Squadron markings.
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (91-604 'LN') and Typhoon FGR.4 (ZJ942 'DH').
Left to right: F-15E Strike Eagle (97-219 'LN').

Tuesday May 24, 2011 Just one low-level movement today due to the approaching Icelandic ash cloud.
Left to right: MC-130H Combat Talon II (87-0024) of 7th SOS, 352 SOG using callsign 'Talon 71'. The callsign represents the aircraft and squadron (7 SOS) and the '1' possibly for first sortie of day. There were two passes the first was very high, the second started low enough but then the pilot began to pull up.

May 16, 2011 It's brilliant when you work out that something is going to happen and it does! Thanks to Bob and Gareth for all the research and subsequent suggestion that the BBMF could go low here enroute to a display.
Left to right: BBMF Douglas C-47 Dakota (ZA947) resplendent in its new colour scheme first seen at Coningsby just a month ago.

Tuesday April 19, 2011 Really nice weather with four Hawks and a Grob Tutor were the only traffic on this slow day.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX178) still in 19(R) Squadron markings it is carrying a CBLS (Carrier, Bomb, Light Stores) pod under each wing, it is also fitted with a 30mm Aden Mk.4 Cannon pack. Hawk T.1 (XX307) in 208 (R) Squadrom markings.
Left to right: Grob Tutor T.1 (G-CGVG).
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX167 and XX335) in 208(R) Squadron markings.

Thursday April 14, 2011 Met up with my Bulgarian friends in Wales, the weather was poor, low cloud and hill fog and spells of drizzle kept the pilots away until 15:30 when an Apache was followed by a Hercules and that was that.
Left to right: AgustaWestland WAH-64 Apache AH.1 (ZJ220).
Left to right: C-130J Hercules C.5 (ZH888) of 30 Squadron.

Monday March 28, 2011 Back in Cumbria again trying to anticipate the final Tornado F.3 deliveries from Leuchars to Leeming. With no movements at all and the sighting of a helicopter with an underslung load further down the it was apparent that an 'Avoid' was put on my valley. A decision was made to move to another location which I have not used since 2003, here it guarenteed the side-on images I wanted. The move took an hour to complete and after a wait of less than 30 minutes my hunch had paid off. Three Hawks and three Tucanos some of which were high followed to complete a perfect day and enabled the following story to be written.

On March 22 111(Fighter) Squadron disbanded at RAF Leuchars having handed over the Northern Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duties to the Typhoon's of 6 Squadron. Six days later the last three of the 'Tremblers' Tornado F.3s using call-signs 'Scimitar 1 to 3' were flown to RAF Leeming. The short flight from Scotland to North Yorkshire was made at low-level with the specially painted jet (ZE734 'JU') of Wing Commander Mark Gorringe, Officer Commanding 111(F) Squadron in the lead. Trailing behind separated by five seconds was Tornado F.3 (ZE791) with a recently painted tail inscribed 'Tornado F3 25 Years' with Tornado F.3 (ZH554 'HX') with a the code 'JU-C' applied to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain following. These were the last three RAF Tornado F.3s to be delivered to Leeming as part of the Return to Produce (RTP) program, where all useful parts are 'harvested' to keep the Tornado GR.4 fleet flying. These images taken in Cumbria at 13:24 on March 28 and were the last to be taken of an RAF Tornado F.3 at low-level, just 15 minutes later they were touching down for the final time. QinetiQ at Boscombe Down will continue to fly four or five Tornado F.3s, including one former 111(F) aircraft (ZE961 'HB') delivered there on March 24.

Left to right: Tornado F.3 (ZE734 'JU') using callsign 'Scimitar 1' of 111(F) Squadron on its final flight.
Left to right: Tornado F.3 (ZE791) using callsign 'Scimitar 2' of 111(F) Squadron on its final flight.
Left to right: Tornado F.3 (ZH554 'HX' 'JU-C') using callsign 'Scimitar 3' of 111(F) Squadron on its final flight.
Left to right: Hawk T.1 (XX339 'CK') of 100 Squadron and Hawk T.1 (XX204) of 19(R) Squadron.
Left to right: Tucano T.1s (ZF347 and ZF292) '292' was in the colours of 207(R) Squadron.

Thursday March 24, 2011 Back in the Lakes District again trying to anticipate Tornado F.3 deliveries from Leuchars to Leeming. Sadly it didn't work out and four Tucanos, a Hawk twice and a Chinook were the only passes of the day.
Left to right: Tucano T.1 (ZF349) in 72(R) Squadron markings, Tucano T.1 (ZF491) and Tucano T.1 (ZF406) inscribed 'Royal Air Force 70th Battle of Britain'.
Left to right: Chinook HC.2 (ZA707 'AO') of 18/27 Squadron of Odiham Wing.
Left to right: Tucano T.1 (ZF170 'MP-A') of 76(R) Squadron inscribed 'The Black Prince' and Hawk T.1A (XX199) in 19(R) Squadron colours.

Friday March 18, 2011 The Lakes looked beutiful today. Yesterday I was up at Leuchars for the disbandment of 111(F) Squadron and the retirement of the Tornado F.3. Night stopping at Carlisle on the way home I gave myself a couple of hours in the Lakes hoping for a Tornado F.3 being delivered to Leeming for spares recovery. With unbelieveable good fortune at 10:20 I captured this jet an hour later I was down the hill and away.
Left to right: Tornado F.3 (ZE763 'HD') of 111(F) Squadron on its way to Leeming.
Left to right: Tornado F.3 (ZE763 'HD') and Tucano T.1 (ZF319).

Tornado GR.4A (ZA404 '013') with 2(AC) Squadron but still retains its 14 Squadron markings.
Thursday March 3, 2011 Early morning mist appeared to delay the start of low-flying in Mid Wales, as the first movement was not until 11:00. Eleven Hawks and five Tornado GR.4 passes in superb winter sunlight made it a very enjoyable and productive day.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZA587 '055') in XV Squadron colours it made two passes the second too high.
Left to right: Hawk T.1s (XX194, XX244 and XX234) in 208(R) Squadron colours and Hawk T.1 (XX324) in 19(R) colours.  
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZA602 '067') with 2(AC) Squadron and using callsign 'Valkyrie 1'.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZA404 '013') in 14 Squadron colours and using callsign 'Valkyrie 2'.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZA551 '043') unmarked but using callsign 'Marham 32'.

Wednesday February 16, 2011 The early morning mist over the Lakes forced a move inland in Cumbria. Their were few movements today most of which were missed by the move. The days effort only bringing a Tucano followed by a Tornado GR.4 late in the day.
Left to right: Tucano T.1 (ZF319 '319') and Tornado GR.4 (ZD740 '088') unmarked but believed to be from 2 Squadron based at RAF Marham.
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZD740 '088').