Farewell Leuchars, it has been a privilege

Well that’s my September treat past and sadly there will be no more airshows at this historic airfield. Air Officer Scotland, Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew, who is the Leuchars Station Commander, took the time to come and meet us to tell us personally what the future would (or would not) hold for the airshow.  He also confirmed that although 1 and 6 Squadron were moving to Lossie, the air show would not be as the local infrastructure and the A9 could not handle the influx of visitors.

It was genuinely appreciated by us all that he took the time to come and see us and, in my opinion, he is a real gentleman.  Nothing was too much trouble and he fielded awkward questions well and without hesitation.

Anyway, to the show.  Friday was not blessed by photographic friendly light so some of my pictures are disappointing.  We knew what was happening as we were given a timetable of aircraft expected landing times.

The Catalina, BBMF and a few others were already on site but there were regular aircraft arrivals as you will see in my photos.  As always our RAF hosts looked after us as if we were VIP’s.

Anway enjoy some of the day 1 photos, too many highlights to mention but a number of firsts for me.  Danish F16’s, T28 Fennec and the awesome Voyager which is based on the Airbus A330 and is the largest aircraft ever in the Royal Air Force.

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There are lots more which I will pop on my Flickr page but hope you like these.

As always thanks for reading and part 2 will be posted shortly.

Best wishes

Neil 😉

A day at RAF Lossiemouth

Hello All

Tuesday 23rd April saw a first for me with a very kind invitation from RAF Lossiemouth to attend an enthusiasts day.  As you know I have had an affinity with RAF Kinloss and had regular photographs of Nimrod MR2‘s as they did their regular low approaches at Kirkwall.  I also have atteneded numerous events at Leuchars but for some reason I have not had the chance to visit RAF Lossie.  What a loss it seems as the visit was excellent and we were treated like lords.

A couple of months ago, a notice came out asking for notifications of interest to attend this event.  Applications were well in excess of the number of places available and we all went into a lottery to see who would get the invite.  Lady Luck was smiling and although it was a hectic two days going there and back again, I have some (in my opinion) excellent photos and some nice memories.

RAF Lossiemouth is the home of 15, 12 and 617 Squadrons all operating the Tornado GR4 and 202 Squadron who operate Sea Kings in the SAR role.  There is currently a large exercise taking place called Joint Warrior with aircraft and crew attending from many countries and is one of the largest military exercises held in peacetime.

When I look back at some of my photos, I realised that Lossie GR4’s are a familiar visitor to Orkney but they travel so fast I rarely get a decent picture.  The other thing I noticed is Lossie is very spotter friendly with loads of places for the keen or not so keen spotter to watch the goings on and to enjoy the experience.

Anyway, here are the pictures, it may seem that there are duplications but I was trying out settings on my new camera and I have to say the change has been worthwhile.  I will never be a professional but I am a happy snapper and proud of it.

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So all in all, a very good day with excellent hosts which I am genuinely grateful for.  The next time I am in Moray, I feel another visit is on the cards.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and, as always, thanks for taking the time to read.

All the best

Neil 😉

Leuchars Airshow day 2

Saturday morning came and as always there is time to walk along the static display before the hordes arrive.  I also had to go and pick up my limited edition print for the formation of the new 1 squadron.  Sorry about my shadow in a number of pics but I hope you like the aircraft.

The day was not as busy as normal but none the less a terrific day.  Sadly the wind was from the west so afterburner shots were limited.

Highlights of the day were The Blades, The Red Arrows and the Sea Fury.  Again their were a number of no shows including the Dakota from the BBMF. Again the Sentry was stunning and no-one can deny the majesty of the Vulcan.

Thank you to RAF Leuchars and the Air Show team for another great 2 days, hope there is another next year.

Enjoy the photos.

As always, thanks for taking the time to drop past

All the best

Neil 😉

Leuchars Airshow 2012 review day 1

Hello and thanks for visiting.  My annual pilgrimage to RAF Leuchars took place last week when the Diamond Celebration Airshow took place over the 14th and 15th of September.  I am always very fortunate that my family club in together and buy this weekend for my birthday every year so they never have to think about what I want.

It is always a bit of a rush but this year I took my dad who was keen to see the Vampires, Venom and Meteor.  In the end the Venom went tech but there were attendances and displays from the others.

Day 1

Sadly we were stuck in car park 6 for the 2 days which is a step back from previous years but we were well looked after by the serving members of the RAF.

The weather was very mixed with a strong westerly blowing all day which meant the aircraft were all taking off and landing from the 27 end, which was a pity.  Soon after bacon rolls and coffee the aircraft started arriving and/or practising their routine.  I did take a number of photographs and have posted them here.  As always none of my photos are photoshopped.

A lot of photos to look through and an extremely long day.  This show seemed to have a lot less flying than previous ones I have attended, however, the RAF did an outstanding job by having a large number of aircraft in the air, particularly Typhoons but the highlight of the two days for me was the displays by the Chinook and the E3 Sentry.

In recent years the enthusiasts normally parked in the Officers Mess car park for day 1 and on base on day 2.  This became car park 6 which requires a shuttle service provided by the RAF.  It just means arriving a little earlier on the day and leaving a bit later.  I made the mistake a number of years ago of parking in the main car park.  A hard lesson as it took me longer to get out of the base than it did to drive to Forres so never again.

We arrived at the enthusiasts compound about 0815 in time to pick a reasonable spot for our days activities, set down our gear and waited for breakfast.  Sure enough a short time later, coffee and unlimited bacon rolls arrived.  The RAF are fantastic hosts and I may be an old fashioned type of guy but the uniforms worn by the females are very smart in comparison to the tat that you see down the high street at the weekend.

Stomachs full, it was outside for the briefing and the days activities.  There was a steady wind all day which got a little tiresome but none the less the day got underway.  It was nice to see the T33 alongside the Vampires early in the day.  A steady stream of aircraft passed in front of us, some of them a first for me, in particular the French Rafale and the Hawk T2.  The F16’s of the Belgian Air Component and the Royal Netherlands Air Force were a sore miss as they produce outstanding displays.  No German element this year, I doubt Angela Merkel is getting more miserable as she gets older.  No Polish element this year.  I am sure you are seeing a pattern.

There seemed to be huge gaps in the arrivals and rehearsals with a number of no shows but still you can’t keep a good anorak down.  The day was hard going for my dad as there was no shelter at the fenceline but he had a good time.

All too soon the day was over and we headed back to the Strathmartine Avenue Travelodge in Dundee which was a reasonable price as it had been booked for 7 months but it was definitely all fur coat and no knickers. It looked nice from the outside but the rooms were very basic and the food was below average.  I have not had a good experience of Travelodges this year so time to change.