Glenn Beasley's 2009 blogGAR Entries

DEC 30 2009
Glenn's Review of the Year

Having done a few ‘long range’ trips with Karl and after hearing about the concept of GAR, I knew it was something I had to give a go.

I’d been dipping my toes, so to speak, into the world of aviation journalism for a while and was keen to take it more seriously, and GAR seemed to be the ideal outlet to do that, rather than just posting images on various forums which I’d been doing for a while without ever really going forward with it. Potentially if it went well I felt GAR could also unlock one or two nice doors in the future - if what I could contribute to the site was up to scratch in the first place of course!

I think for me the journey has been about being more than just a photographer; it's about getting behind the images and the story which makes the pieces which are pushed every Tuesday.

I’ll be the first to admit that’s been a challenge for me, no better illustrated than when I attended the unveiling of the 2010 Red Arrows at RAF Scampton in November. We interviewed the new pilots and team leader in the hangar first off and my natural instinct was to photograph rather than listen and pose the questions, but it's something I’ll learn from and take forward into future pieces.

That day was definitely my favourite GAR ‘assignment’ to date, and getting close to the Reds was a real privilege - especially next year’s historic team. Driving away from that event I also considered some of the media company I’d been in; national papers, Sky TV and the BBC. They were all present and there was I, shoving my lens and dictaphone in there with the best of them!

I’ve done a number of reports from shows and events up and down the country, and again there’s a challenge in making it more than a ‘for the record’ account of what happened. Of course people need to know what was there, but taking it down to every minute detail of what every contributing aircraft did can get rather monotonous. So it’s a case of picking out the items you feel are the major players in a display or those that did something notably different. Then again, the reader won’t always agree with you anyway...

I covered three shows at Duxford; the Spring Air Show, Flying Legends and the American Air Day. Legends was the stand out event of the year in terms of shows for me. The content of piston war exotica was excellent; B-25s, Sea Furies, FW190s - and all contributed to a slick, fast paced display, in good weather.

At the American Air Day I met with Willie Felger, the Director of Operations at Golden Apple, to find out about the intricacies of operating their wonderful F-86A Sabre. The environment in which you get to interview people isn’t always ideal and, in a room below the control tower full of people happily chatting away, listening back to the interview was a challenge to say the least! Of course I was very grateful for Willie’s time and it was another learning experience in actually interviewing someone face to face.

The chat doesn’t always go in the direction you want and with time I’m sure I’ll learn to get it back on track if I need to!

My only overseas venture this year was into Belgium for the NATO Tiger Meet at Kleine Brogel. The journey there with my friends was interesting to say the least; an 11:30pm Channel Tunnel crossing and overnight drive through France and into Belgium. The idea was to get some sleep once we’d arrived in the field adjacent to the gate to the base, but this proved nigh on impossible as people kept arriving throughout the night. I’m sure European headlights are somewhat brighter than standard UK issue! The erection of a tent just behind us by some Dutch enthusiasts did also not go down well in our vehicle. Seeing a queue begin to form at 5:45am was also a sight, and the amount of ‘kit’ some people took in with them was quite mind boggling too! Still, another well organised event and more decent weather.

Lincolnshire is a rich source of material for me and I’m often to be found prowling the fence at RAF Coningsby, as I was in early July to capture the deployment of Lakenheath’s F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron. Shooting the Eagles and resident Typhoons together was a welcome change, and this was the start of something that will hopefully lead to another series of features next year - all I can say is watch this space!

I also visited East Kirkby for their night time taxi of resident Lancaster ‘Just Jane’ which almost ended in disaster when I was ‘removed’ from the original spot in which I had set up camp for the taxi run. I had always intended to be in the position I eventually found myself when the Lancaster returned from the taxi having witnessed it last year, but with some careful well mannered ‘jostling’ I managed a good spot in the end!

So what’s in the pipeline for next year then? Well quite simply anything I can get away with! I’m already considering options both here and abroad, looking for something new and different, which isn’t always an easy combination!

I’d like to end by paying respect to my GAR colleagues for all the hard work they have put it, particularly the guys who put the web pages together for each week's launch. I happily admit I don’t have the foggiest how to do it, but it is they who make it look good. I think there’s been some cracking content so far, delivered on a regular basis, and the team deserve great credit for that compared to other web sites engaged in similar publishing activity.

Competition - Win a copy of PlanesTV.com's Abingdon Air & Country Show 2009 DVD.

For your chance to win, simply answer the following question:

To enter, please use the Contact Us form at the top of the page. Use "Abingdon DVD Competition" as the subject and put your answer to the question in the "Your message" section.

A winner will be drawn from the correct entries at 1800 on 06/01/2010.

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2010-01-06 - Glenn Beasley
The lucky winner of the Abingdon Air & Country Show 2009 DVD was Peter Reoch.

Well done Peter and thanks to all who entered.

Best Wishes to everyone for 2010!


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