My third visit to RAF Coningsby today. The weather was set for fine with decent sunny spells, although I think the forecaster's over emphasised the sunny spells. There were some sunny spells but more cloud than forecast. I picked my good friend David Newby up at 08:30 and we made the hour long journey to Coningsby. The Canon 400mm F5.6 and Canon 500 F4 were the lenses I were to use today. The sun was shining nicely when we arrived although there was a very strong wind blowing. The wind wasn't too much of a problem although it did make things a little hairy at times when I was balanced on top of a five rung step ladder in order to get a good view over the perimeter fence.
It wasn't long before the Typhoon's started to taxi down the runway in readiness for taking off. From where we were positioned we got very nice views of the Typhoon's as they awaited clearance for take off.
Typhoon Eurofighter awaiting take off
These Typhoon's look so much different from a head on view to what they do from an in flight side view. The power of these when they do a performance take of is awesome to witness. The flame out the back, the noise, and the smell of the aviation fuel is quite addictive.
Typhoon on a performance take off
The Tornado GR4 is equally as impressive and slightly noisier as well and I managed a very nice shot of a Tornado storming down the runway on his take off run.
Tornado GR4 taking off
For the next hour the action came thick and fast. There were very few moments of inactivity. Typhoon's, and Tornado's were either landing, taking off, or doing touch and go runs where they just touch the runway as they come in and then power off again to do another wide sweep of the area before repeating the process, sometimes up to three times before finally landing. The sun had now disappeared but it did give some rather nice moody looking shots as the Typhoon's took off into some rather dark looking storm clouds.
Typhoon taking off into a stormy looking sky
I couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed, it was lunch time already. After lunch we decided to move to one of the other viewing points to get some shots of the planes coming in to land and some close up shots of them as they taxied past us on the way to take off. The pilots of these planes seem to quite enjoy being photographed as they taxi past and most of them give a cheery wave of recognition which is a very nice gesture in my opinion. I don't know if it was actually FLT LT T Clement and SQN LDR R Gates in this plane today or another crew, but thanks guy's for the good humour.
Typhoon Eurofighter crew
I got my chance to try some slow shutter speed panning when an Eastern Airways Jetstream 41 took off and a Beechcraft King Air landed. Both these have propeller's and I wanted a sharp aircraft, blurred propeller and blurred background to give a sense of movement. I think I managed it reasonably well but I will let you be the judge on that.
Beechcraft King Air
The afternoon flew by (pardon the pun) with much activity. We fully intended in stopping until later in the evening to try and get some photographs of the planes taking off and landing against some nice sun sets. However, all flying activity ceased by around 16:40 We knew there would be no more flying as the take off control vehicle that stands at the side of the runway was shut down and the personnel manning this vehicle returned to the base in a land rover.
We packed our gear up and made our way home, stopping in Horncastle for delicious fish and chips for tea. A great day in great company again. As I said earlier this is my third visit to Coningsby and I think my skills at this type of photography are improving. I'm happy with the results I'm getting anyway and it certainly makes a refreshing change from being bitten by mosquitoes and the like when doing the insect macro work.