Pictures Of The Week

Week 17, April 2016

Pictures of the Week
Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week
Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week

Clockwise from top left:

  1. We get very nostalgic about Jaguars here at UKAR HQ, with the only flying examples in the world being somewhat far away in India. Sometimes they get a little bit closer to home, however, as Julien was delighted to see with a large deployment of Indian hardware stopping off at Istres airbase on their way to Red Flag Alaska. Apparently there were some Flankers there too...but the Jags really stole the limelight for us (and what perfectly golden light it was too). There's still life left for the Jaguar as the IAF have a long term plan of upgrades set for the type.

    Image © Julien Gernez

  2. It's almost difficult to describe our reaction when the news filtered through that a pair of F-22A Raptors, on deployment at RAF Lakenheath, had gone through the famous Mach Loop. "Holy Grail" doesn't quite cover it! What is already a phenomenally awesome looking aircraft becomes just something else at low-level, with stark Welsh cliffs as a background. This really is a "one-in-a-million" shot that blew us away - and no doubt Tim as well. Let's just hope it's not the last time that Raptors find their way through our low flying areas!

    Image © Tim Croton

  3. Another highly sought-after American visitor to our shores this month has been Air Force One - arguably the most famous aircraft in the world. Eventually to be replaced by a 747-8, Air Force One has been in the guise of a VC-25 (very, very highly modified 747-200s) since 1990, and draws huge crowds wherever it goes. Stansted was its UK base during this visit and it was accompanied by HMX-1 and their green machines. Not your average airliner, that's for sure!

    Image © Alisdair Anderson

  4. Philippe has shot some incredible air-to-airs over the years, but this set with UKAR's favourite French jet pair is a particular corker. The Mirage 2000 really is such a fine looking aeroplane, and to get two different views in one shot is a bit of a treat; the whole set is worth looking through as Philippe's shot are expertly composed - aided, of course, by the superlative flying abilities of the pilots. While it sadly won't have quite the same background, we can't wait for Ramex to return to Fairford this July.

    Image © Philippe Rey

  5. The Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-188 Hornet demo has had some really striking schemes in recent years, and 2016 is no exception. There's no way you'd miss this jet against a blue sky! The demo team and the jet this year commemorate the theme of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which sees its 70th anniversary in 2016. We haven't seen the RCAF Hornet demo in the UK since 2008, and this season's schedule is again a strictly North American affair - best get booking your tickets now if you want to catch a glimpse of this paintjob.

    Image © Derek Heyes

  6. We've seen some great shots come out of the Coningsby night shoot from a few weeks back, and it seems that the whole affair was well thought out for the photographer. We particularly liked the angle that this picture was taken from, showing off the brutish lines of the Tornado to good effect (and it really does look great when it's in a "dirty" configuration like this). It's great that in its twilight years we're getting such a wealth of different images such as this of the type.

    Image © Ian Garfield

  7. While Peter's trip to RAF Valley might not have yielded quite the results he was hoping for, with the (sadly no more) 208(R) squadron specially schemed jets not moving that day, he did nevertheless get some cracking images of the Hawks, young and old, while he was there. The T1s meatier brother, the Hawk T2 is currently providing flying training for both the RAF and Royal Navy, and this image shows two of the type, operated by 4(R) Squadron.

    Image © Peter Reoch

Pictures Of The Week

Week 16, April 2016

Pictures of the Week
Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week
Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week

Clockwise from top left:

  1. First on the grid this week is Tim's incredible shot of the Russian PAK-FA, or T-50 as the prototypes are called, throwing itself around the skies above Zhukovsky at MAKS last year. A spell-binding display if there was ever one to be seen, the T-50 has been plagued by problems and hurdles in its development. Still very much in the testing phase, Russia expects to receive the first production aircraft at the end of this year, or the start of next year, and expects to receive 55 of the fighters by 2020.

    Image © Tim Laurence

  2. Poland's much-loved Su-22s are still on-form and at the peak of their capabilities at the moment. Aside from being a little less shy than they used to be (no bad thing!), the fleet appears to be undergoing a re-paint, sadly loosing their wonderful camouflage in favour of this more "modern" two-tone grey scheme. Whilst they still retain some of their charisma, and indeed, look much like their Croatian MiG-21 counterparts, we hope to see a few more camouflage Fitters before yet another charming paint-job is lost to the history books.

    Image © 'Carlito'

  3. Keeping us in Poland, this wonderful Il-76TD-90VD - a rather rare version of the remarkable "Candid", which was commissioned specifically for the Volga Dnepr, based at Ulyanosk, in Russia, which has four of the variants on strength. We loved Łukasz's composition of the venerable beast, showing to good effect, its size and bulk.

    Image © Łukasz Wiśniewski

  4. We round off our Polish segment this week, featuring one of a truly mouth-watering thread of the nation's F-16s at 32 AB at Łask. The nation has a total of 48 F-16s of various configurations across two Squadrons, both based at Łask. Sadly, they're much more shy of the airshow circuit than their Fitter or Fulcrum stablemates, and so we're obliged to Maciej for providing us with a truly outstanding set of these rarely seen machines.

    Image © Maciej Ramos

  5. The quite unexpected F-22 Raptor deployment to RAF Lakenheath earlier this month took the whole community by surprise. And it was wonderful. No secret squirrelling, no one-one-upmanship, no bragging about inside information, just a love of aviation, frantic texts, PMs, booked days off work, sickies, Tweets, and Facebook messages all going on about the same thing. It harkens back to the days of old, when nobody knew what was going to turn up, or where. Once the news broke, POTW-regular Rich covered the event very well, alongside other goings-on at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath, and we'd be wrong not to feature this fine shot from him of this Tyndall-based machine landing, with the familiar Lakenheath landscape behind.

    Image © Rich Pittman

  6. Back in February this year, the USAF hosted "Cope North 2016" at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, in Hawaii. Among the six participating nations and hundred or so aircraft participating, Japan sent cohorts of F-15s and Mitsubishi F-2s, as ever with Mark's work, we loved coverage of the event, especially this fine composition of the two JASDF assets at the base.

    Image © Mark Rourke

  7. Finally this week, Peter managed to catch RAF E-3D Sentry, rare of themselves, in an even rarer "primer" coat ready for a repaint. Sadly, ZH106, the airframe featured, was the machine that carried the 8 Sqn anniversary special tail markings, sadly no more. Whilst it appears too early for the time frame, we noted that the 2015 SDSR stated that the RAF's six E-3s would all be receiving upgrades from 2020 in order to extent their service lives until somewhere in the region of 2035.

    Image © Peter Hurley

Pictures Of The Week

Week 15, April 2016

Pictures of the Week
Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week
Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week

Clockwise from top left:

  1. East meets West in this cracking shot of the two most stalwart Close Air Support jets around. Bulgaria has an especially tasty air force and it's Su-25 Frogfoots (Frogfeet?) looked especially smashing alongside the USAF's 'hogs in February's Thracian Thunder exercise. We can't get enough of the photos - and videos - that have come out of this shoot. Anton's set is, as per usual, something to behold in awe - check it out!

    Image © Anton Balakchiev

  2. Poland is one of the most recent operators of the popular F-16 jet, its own examples being of the advanced Block 52+ variant. Looking brutish with its shoulder conformal fuel tanks as well as a centreline fuel pod, this example seems ready for business as it climbs away from Łask Air Base, one of Poland's two Falcon bases, in some stunning evening light. It may not be a MiG...but it looks damn good.

    Image © Łukasz Wiśniewski

  3. Double Dip de Havilland! The aircraft in Paul's wonderful shot both come from the Biggin Hill Shipping and Airlines stable. Chipmunks are far from rare, though no less loved for it, but this Dragonfly is currently the flying example in the world, and it really is a beautiful machine in a very smart livery indeed. Paul gives thanks to the pilots for setting up this opportunity, a sentiment we certainly echo.

    Image © Paul Bunch

  4. The Iskra trainer has served Poland for over fifty years now, and still acts as its only jet trainer until the Alenia M-346 arrives. Definitely showing its age, in design if not upkeep, this aircraft was attending an airshow held at PZL Mielec. A great example of what can be achieved if you practice your panning skills, folks!

    Image © Tomasz Chrul

  5. It was highly controversial when the Mexican government placed an order for a 787 Dreamliner to act as VIP transport for the country's president, when the country continues to face economic difficulties and its air force is underfunded in other areas. Keeping the politics to one side, it is a great looking machine painted in an attractive livery and we're grateful to Tony for making the trip out in less than pleasant weather to capture it at Berlin earlier in the month.

    Image © Tony Bradley

  6. This image is tinged with sadness as it represents another classic jet leaving our shores, this time heading to Jordan. Along with Vampire G-HELV, Hunter G-XMHD (formerly of the Midair Squadron) has been marked up Jordanian insignia and given a new registration, here seen on a test-flight before preparations to ship it overseas.

    Image © 'Taildragger'

  7. Catch it while you can, people! 208(R) squadron's special schemed Hawk was well-received last year at its unveiling, and many had hoped to see it on the airshow circuit this year. Sadly, it looks like it'll be gone before most have the opportunity to view it, with the squadron's disbandment seeing their jets painted back into plain black. Andrew is one of the lucky few that have managed to capture it in the air.

    Image © Andrew Jones

Pictures Of The Week

Week 14, April 2016

Pictures of the Week
Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week
Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week Pictures of the Week

Clockwise from top left:

  1. Top spot this week goes to POTW-regular Chris, with as fine a composition of venerable Swiss F-18s as we've ever seen. Sion, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, is due to close in January 2017, and with it will go some opportunities to catch modern military action at one of the most photogenic bases in Europe, so in the meantime, if Chris' quality is to go by, we'll take all we can get!

    Image © Chris Heal

  2. What with Typhoon ZK349, or "GiNA", as she is known, being produced last year, together with a myriad of attractive special-tails, it's great to see the RAF finally coming round on special schemes on their aircraft, given that they were few and far between several years ago. One of the most "special" of special schemes at the moment is this Tornado GR4, fully painted up in "desert pink" livery to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of Op Granby, the British operation against Iraq in 1991. Sadly, the machine is rather poorly at the moment, and Mark caught the jet on its ferry flight from Lossiemouth to Marham for some heavy maintenance.

    Image © Mark Ranger

  3. Given that the Dutch government was supposed to retire these machines several years ago, and instead ended up putting many in storage, its great to see the rarely-caught Dutch Cougars on our forum, along with lots of other machines operated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The RNLAF Cougars are due to bow out in 2017 following their new CH-47F Chinooks coming on strength.

    Image © Alex van Noye

  4. It's not just the UK that is making the most of the last of the long winter nights. Hans provided us a great thread from Beauvechain featuring a plethora of Belgian types on display, and something about this humble SF-260 of the Belgian Red Devils team really caught our eye, indeed, we love the composition and the contrast in colours.

    Image © Hans Antonissen

  5. One of Lakenheath's finest up next! POTW-regular Mark spent a splendid day inside the Suffolk base and produced an absolute belter of a set, including this splendid shot of a rather rarely-seen F-15D cleaning up after taking off.

    Image © Mark Rourke

  6. Chris once again bowled us over with a thread from Germany, full of venerable Sea Kings and Lynx operated by Marineflieger 5 at Nordholz, we loved this composition of one of the machines wearing the special Lynx scheme commemorating 25 years of operations by the type, which the unit celebrated ten years ago.

    Image © 'BigClick67'

  7. Finally this week, Andy rounds us off with a simple but superb composition from the recent Lightning Preservation Group sunset/nightshoot at Bruntingthorpe from last year, compositions like this are oft simple, yet very effective, and we could learn a lot from Andy's composition, and it shows by suiting the Lightning so well.

    Image © Andy Kenyon