|"Red 8" - aka Perty|
|Showing off the fantastic new tail design...|
Initially on arrival at Scampton things didn't look hopeful. I drove around to refresh my memory of where things were, and the best places to view from without silly high MOD fences getting in the way, and by the time I parked up in my chosen spot (a small car park not far from the base) it was progressing from "a bit misty" to "distinctly foggy". Indeed when I walked up to the fence near the end of the runway I couldn't even see the windsock, never mind any evidence of the line of Red Hawks that I knew were out there somewhere! A few tweets were exchanged with others who were waiting hopefully around the area too (well, on the rare occasions I could capture that rarest of beasts the "Scampton data signal" that is!) and nobody seemed sure what was going on... Eventually though we got word - an 8-ship was going up "now"! I'd met up with another lady - Sam - by this time, and we hastily grabbed camera gear and legged it up the road to our chosen spot just as they took off! Thankfully we had a few minutes while they regrouped to regain our breath and our composure before they made they first few passes over, and a few clicks of the shutter later they went out of sight again and I took the chance to check my shot to see who was missing....and to my surprise....it was.....nobody! Wow - my hunch was absolutely right, and Sam and I just grinned at each other in absolute delight.
|I had to count them about four times to be absolutely sure...!|
Just after lunch (I'd moved the car to a spot closer in by this time) I once again heard the distinctive sound of 9 Hawks starting up, I was on my own by this stage so again grabbed my gear and headed back to the fence-line. This time I was in time to see them taxi out, and thanks to the runway in use they came right past - close enough that I was spotted by "Red 2" (Flt. Lt Stewart Campbell) and got a wave!
|Red 2 - Flt. Lt. Stewart Campbell|
It might amuse you to note that it's not only in the air that the Reds do things with great precision - even the taxi-out from the line to the runway is done in the same way...
|Sq. Ldr. Jim Turner leading out the team...|
Impressive, eh? Once they were airborne it became apparent that they were going to run through the second half of the display this time - which meant from my perspective lots of nice close passes pretty much overhead, and at various times Reds 6 - 9 coming straight at me, like this...
|Red 6 - Flt Lt James McMillan - head on!|
I'm definitely planning another trip up to Scampton before the Reds depart to Cyprus for "Operation Spinghawk", and am also hoping to see them do a practise at another base in a few weeks too. If I needed any further confirmation that my choice of lens was the right one then without question Friday would have given that - I'm thoroughly looking forward to using it more and more as the year progresses!
|Red 7 - Flt. Lt. Mark Lawson|