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 🙂

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