|Photographic Portfolio of 2020
Images and photographic notes of my successes for the year
|Each year I like to produce a collection of my best and favourite images. Most have been published in books and magazines and possibly in conjunction with features and as such were chosen by the editor in question. I hope you like this snapshot of my best work from 2020, however.
|2020 must go down as the lost year due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic. I had booked flights to attend two air shows in Switzerland, a museum in Poland and Italy, all were cancelled. I had plans to visit the United States and certainly would have visited France and other places whereas the year progressed it was pointless to think ahead.
I was lucky that my planned visit to Luleć F21 Wing Swedish Air Force in northern Sweden was possible in late February. I wanted to gather material for my second book on low level flying. This was an opportunity to find out about low flying near to the Arctic circle. I wanted snow on the ground and got exactly what I needed. Some fantastic snow images with the Gripen operations and the interviews I got with ground crew, pilots and commanders were truly more than I add hoped for.
I also was invited to interview 48FW pilots and WSOs at RAF Lakenheath flying the F-15E Strike Eagle before the first lockdown. Having taken some fabulous images of these low flyers over many years, this now is going to be a great chapter for the book. A book that is perhaps 50% complete combined material from Italy, Greece and France already on disk. Much more to do of course and still looking for ideas and cooperation from other air forces. Confined to the UK, low level flying photography in the hills was very restricted made worse by the much-reduced RAF low flying now that the Tornado GR.4 has retired.
Helicopter flying on Salisbury Plain (SPTA) was really the only reliable activity that I was able to do.
I could have written articles for magazines using material gathered for the book, but I chose to keep that exclusive for the second book. Surely 2021 will see the end of the virus or at least a vaccinations and increased testing will enable travel to foreign countries.
|Portfolios by Category
|Wildcat HMA.2 (ZZ517) using callsign 'Talon 722' with 825 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton on Salisbury Plain in May 2020.
|Salisbury Plain 2020 Much of my spare time has been spent here. The reward was some varied and stunning images.
Left to right: Apache AH.1 (ZJ207) of 673 (AH Training) Squadron based at Middle Wallop.
Chinook HC.6A (ZA720) using callsign 'Vortex 434' with 27 Squadron flying in to the evening.
Puma HC.2 (XW204 'B') with RAF Benson Pool (28, 33 and 230 Squadron) during a underslung load training exercise.
Airbus Helicopters H125 Ecureuil (G-ETPF) with QinetiQ based at Boscombe Down.
|Low-level portfolio - click here for more images and reports.
This is my real passion. Finding a steep sided valley and waiting for some fast jet action is very relaxing. You might only get one or two jets in a day, but who cares? The scenery is often stunning and when you are alone it gives you a good chance to unwind from the pressures of life. The anticipation of a jet flying up your valley is exciting. The thrill of capturing a jet with the ground as a backdrop is more than you can imagine.
|Left to right: Beechcraft Texan T.1 (ZM324) callsign 'Swift 02' with 72 Squadron based at RAF Valley.
Embraer Phenom T.1 (ZM335) using callsign 'Cranwell 41' of 45(Reserve) Squadron, 3 Flying Training School (FTS).
General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon (89-2038 'AV') with 510 Fighter Squadron 'Buzzards', 31 Fighter Wing based in Aviano, Italy, deployed to RAF Lakenheath.
Hawk T.1 (XX348 'CQ') with 100 Squadron.
|Jaguar GR.3A (XZ113) of SAOEU in March 2004.
|Duke Hawkins - Aircraft in Detail - Sepecat Jaguar. The first book in the Duke Hawkins series. It is a close up at the Jaguar, in service with the RAF, Armée de lAir and Indian Air Force with over 250 photographs in 84 pages, high quality paper. Every detail of the airframe, cockpit, maintenance and action photograpy, covering all the types, including the maritime version of the IAF Jaguar.
Left to right: My contribution was an image of Jaguar GR.3A (XZ399 'EJ') callsign 'Tempest 1' and flown by 6 Squadron OC in May 2007, just before the aircraft's retirement in RAF service.
6 Squadron marked two-seat Jaguar T.4 in mid Wales in June 2006.
6 Squadron special scheme Jaguar GR.3A (XX112) in company with another 6 Squadron Jaguar GR.3A (XZ396 'EM').
|Left to right: Jaguar GR.3A (XX119 'EB', XZ392 'EM') with 6 Squadron at RAF Coningsby in 2007.
41(F) Squadron Jaguar GR.3A (XZ118 'FF' and GR.3A XZ355 'FJ') returning in gusting cross-winds while landing at RAF Coningsby in 2005.
|On air base and exercises portfolio - I visited just a few air bases in 2020, click here for more images and reports.
|Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen (39274 '274') leading out the three ship on the fozen taxiways of Luleć is in northern Sweden in February 2020.
|Aircraft of the RAF, a 132 page bookazine focusing on the hundreds of aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force since its inception in 1918.
My contribution was an image of Mil Mi-8MTV-1 ‘Hip-H’ (RAF serial ZB698). Former Bulgarian Air Force Mi-17’s were being flown by Afghan pilots trained by British military pilots over the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) in southern England. See QinetiQ's Russian Helicopters 'Project Curium'
|Duke Hawkins - Aircraft in Detail - Dassault Mirage F.1. The tenth book in the Duke Hawkins series, it covers the Dassault Mirage F1. It is an 84 page book, showing the aircraft both in action and in detail.
My contribution was an image of Armeé de lŽAir two-seat Mirage F.1B (511 '118-SL'). It is normal for the Mirage F.1 on engine start-up for flame to come out of the exhaust nozzle caused by an excess of fuel entering the exhaust system where sufficient oxygen causes it to light for a few seconds. See Mirage F.1 retirement 2014
|Air shows, Museums and Classic Aircraft portfolio - I did not visit any air shows and very few museums in 2020, click here or here for more images and reports.
|Jagdflugzeuge: Weltweit (Fighter aircraft: Worldwide) by Heiko Thiesler
Heiko's latest book details jet fighters produced by China, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Soviet Union and the United States. This hard cover book is written in German and is fully illustrated in 176 pages.
My contribution left to right: Lightning Preservation Group - Bruntingthorpe.
Lightning F.6 (XR728 'JS') first flew on 17th March 1965 and was delivered to 23 Squadron at RAF Leuchars.
Lightning F.3 (XR713 'C' and 8935M) was the gate guard for many years at RAF Leuchars, before its move in 2015 to Bruntingthorpe.
|Left to right: 'Airbourne 2016' Air Show Beachy Head, Eastbourne.
de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.2 modified to a Drone D.3 (XP924 registered G-CVIX).
F-15C Eagle (86-0165 'LN') with the 493rd FS landing at RAF Lakenheath in 2018.
F-15C Eagle (84-0010 'LN') of 493rd FS, 48th FW, climbing out of low-level in April 2013.