Gareth Stringer's 2009 blogGAR Entries

NOV 08 2009
Welcome to my blogGAR

Well, where to start? It’s been an extraordinary six months or so for GAR and I think it’s fair to say that we’re all delighted with the progress we’ve made.

Looking back at the list of published features, we’ve worked with the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, the United States Air Force, the United States Marine Corps, display teams, display pilots, airshow organisers, airshow commentators, airlines, museums and much much more; not bad for a new website and we’ve certainly done far more to date than we might have dared imagine.

Most importantly though we have to keep pushing on and bringing you great content, for that is how we will inevitably be judged. To that end we have some big plans, some of which are well underway now and some of which won’t see the light of day until 2010.

This week Karl and I spent a couple of days in Somerset at RNAS Yeovilton, a trip which will bring three new features to the site in the weeks ahead. We were privileged to spend some of this time being hosted by Lt Cdr Matt Whitfield and I’m delighted to reveal that he is not only back at work after his sudden illness but very positive with regard to the future – more of which in the forthcoming feature. Lt Ian Sloan, who we first met at the Southport Airshow to talk about the Sea Hawk, was also the perfect host, as was Lt Dave Lilly who has just finished a two year stint with the RN Black Cats display team. We left Yeovilton on Thursday afternoon feeling not only very grateful but also extremely impressed with the way everyone we met voiced such pride and respect for the great history and heritage that surrounds naval aviation in this country.

Looking ahead to the next few weeks between now and Christmas we have plans that could potentially see GAR staff members on visits that would result in a huge variety of features covering the likes of well-know civilian operators, military units and even more airshow participants. If we can maintain that kind of diversity it will most certainly never get boring for us and hopefully that will be reflected in the content we bring to you!

People keep asking me what the highlight has been of my first six months writing for GAR and it’s a tough question as each new visit seems to bring wonderful new experiences, but I will genuinely admit that every adventure has been memorable in its own right. Interviewing Sqn Ldr Scott Loughran at RAF Shawbury will undoubtedly remain a favourite as it was the one that got me up and running and Scott couldn’t have been more enthusiastic or accommodating.

Some of you will know that I returned to aviation photography this year after what might be termed a long break, about fifteen years truth be told! I’ll never class myself as a “photographer” but while I prefer to concentrate on my writing I have been presented with some opportunities this year that no one in their right mind, and a camera with them, would miss out on. To mark my first blogGAR piece I thought I would include a few of my favourite photos taken this year thus far and a few that have, until now, not seen the light of day.

Hope you like them and thanks for all your support so far.


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