Leuchars 2011

I left Orkney on thursday lunchtime for my annual trip to the RAF Leuchars Air Show.  Granted the static and flying program did not appear as full as last year but it really does not matter as the whole experience is worth every penny.

A couple of changes this year to the arrangements, some good and some not but if you know me , I am a glass half full kind of person.

Once I had checked in and the safety brief was complete, it was time to find my shooting location for the weekend.  When I arrived there, I was greetd by an old friend who I met last year.

Tony from Montrose is a first class photographer with a great sense of humour and the weekend was spent in his company along with John from Glasgow who took some excellent pics and young Nikita who was out to learn the art of photography under Tony’s watchful eye.

The weather was pretty grim most of the weekend but I had my waterproofs and brolly so no problems.

There were too many highlights to mention them all but the flying displays were fantastic.

Of particular mention are the RV8ors and the Blades.  The French display team from the Armee de L’air were a welcome addition and of course the Red Arrows who were displaying for the first time after the death of one of their colleagues.

Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, was killed when his Hawk T1 aircraft – Red 4 – crashed about 1km south east of Bournemouth Airport afew weeks ago.

Both the Arrows and the Patrouille de France flew their displays minus an aircraft where Red 4 would have been located, very respectful, poignant and fitting as was the moments silence for the loss of a great man.

My particular highlight was seeing a Catalina for the first time and even better when it displayed prior to departure.

The F16 pilots from Belgium and Holland were out of this world and I will look forward to seeing them next year.

Neil Geddes and his replica SE5A put on an outstanding display for the crowd. Some of you will remember him from the Orkney Air Show.  A tremendous pilot and a very nice man.

Anyway, some photos, I have not edited any of them but will get around to it, hope you like them.

That’s a selection of the 600 or so pictures I took.  Did you notice the picture inside the exhaust of the F16?  Very artistic I thought 🙂

As you probably know Leuchars is a casualty of the Defence Review and will close.  Bitter sweet as Leuchars loss is Lossiemouth’s gain.

I still can’t get my head round these decisions and certainly don’t agree with them.  The loss of the Nimrods was the first decision I struggle with and now Leuchars.  It was heartbreaking hearing from the firefighters at Leuchars, some who were being shown the door after 30 years.

And to what end? It’s not the loss of the planes that bothers me, it is the loss of the knowledge and the experience.  Maybe I am being thick but by the time we are in the position to properly fund our military, will there be anyone with experience to train the new batch?

Off my soap box.  Hope you enjoyed the pics and thanks for reading.

All the best

Neil 🙂

Oh the grand old Duke of York………..

Just a quick post before I head off to Leuchars on thursday.  We had a visit from HRH Prince Andrew on Tuesday.

He was up for a visit to a couple of renewable energy sites and out to a regeneration site at Lyness which was a Naval base but latterly was a bit of an eyesore.

Anyway for those of you interested in the aircraft, here is G-XXEB, a Sikorsky S76

And for those interested in the Prince, here he is being met by our local representatives on the apron at Kirkwall Airport.

That’s it for now, Leuchars here we come.

Thanks for looking in

Neil 🙂

First visit to Kirkwall International

Just a couple of extra photos to finish the week.  The Subsea Viking visited Kirkwall again for a crew change and I never know what to expect until the day before.

We had a rare visitor to Kirkwall this time by a Dash 8 operating for Eastern but in Air South West livery.  As I understand it Air South West are to become part of Eastern and operate out of Plymouth but will be moving up to Aberdeen soon.

Here it is taxiing up 14 on arrival

The international part of the title comes from the visit of Bergen Air Transport who are regular visitors.  In this case LN-BAA, King Air 200

And finally a profile of G-WOWB.

That’s it for now, have a nice weekend

Neil 😉

The old and the new

Just prior to going on holiday we had a visiting Canadian registered Super Puma on its way to Brazil.  Just looks like any other CHC aircraft except for the registration.

While I was in Stornoway, I did not have much time for taking photos but this one was worth taking time out of my lunch.  I have not seen many Casa 212‘s and I guess this one was on a ferry flight.  Not pretty, but then again it’s a bit like a big Islander so I guess it has it’s charm.  Apologies for the chain link visible in the photo, didn’t have time to get photoshop out.

We had a visit from a nearly new Embraer Phenom 100 which arrived from Germany, while I was down taking the picture, our Firefighters were about to go on exercise.

No pun intended, we had a flying visit from OO-GEA, a Bell 206 passing through from Belgium to Shetland.

And the inside

Back to that Phenom 100 from Germany, afetr the weather brightened up a bit I managed to get a better picture of this aircraft and I have to say it is stunning.  Sadly I did not win the Euromillions rollover on tuesday night so can’t afford one just yet.

And, of course, the inside.  Reminds me of the USS Enterprise

It is becoming more like a virtual word with these glass cockpits.  Look carefully at the screens and you will see they also show the terrain.

WE had a couple of Super Pumas drop by at the beginning of the week as one went tech and another saved the day for the offshore crews. G-CHCN and G-CHCL

Finally a first visit from Cessna 182 G-EFAW.  This was piloted by Martin Petrie, a regular vistor to Orkney and his first with this aircraft.  He was passing through with his wife on their way to the Faroes.

That’s it for now, thanks for taking the time to read, till next time

Neil 😉