John Higgins' 2010 blogGAR Entries

NOV 06 2010
Ringway Retro Shooting

On the morning of Saturday 30th October, my alarm went off pre-dawn. Today my local airport, Manchester, would see the final visit of a British Airways B757, after seeing the first visit way back in February 1983 when Kilo Bravo's rubber greased the tarmac at Ringway, starting a relationship that was to last over 27 years. Indeed, growing up on the outbound track from Manchester Airport, the trademark drawl of an RB-211 powered B757 has been an extremely familiar sound for most of my life.

Armed with a flask of coffee, I headed to the threshold of Runway 23R to meet up with Messrs Swann and Silgrim, both of whom had sent me a text saying "get up"; they needn't have worried, I was already en route. Today's flight was being operated by the retro jet ,'Stokesay Castle', and that coupled with a very favourable forecast meant the Manchester regulars would be out in force to say their goodbyes.

As we got into position on the mounds near Joe's field, a popular location for shooting 23R arrivals, the sun started to rise above the Pennines, and it became apparent that the light was going to be absolutely stunning for the 8:45 arrival of "Shuttle Two Echo".

Indeed it was. 'Stokesay Castle' sailed by, bathed in golden early morning winter light, to a crescendo of DSLR shutters, much chimping and lots of smiles; part one of the job was done.

One of the other MAN regulars, Paul Markman, had mentioned that he thought the Virgin flight following the BA retro would be in the airline's new colour scheme. I will be honest with you, the first time I saw this scheme, I really wasn't that keen, but when G-VAST came past us in that light, it looked pretty classy. The tail seemed to change colour slightly as she floated by; again, much chimping and smiling.

Just as we were about to move location to shoot the BA departing, Continental 100 called up on the scanner, and I remembered that this morning that flight was being operated by the Star Alliance B757; it would be rude not to wouldn't it?!?

Due to the downturn in traffic, the second runway at Manchester has been closing at the earlier time of 10:30, but thankfully the retro 757 was due to depart back to Heathrow at 10am, so we decided to drive into Styal, park the cars up and walk the half mile or so to the popular turn on point for runway 23L to shoot the departure - a location that affords unrivalled photo opportunities as far as getting those head-on shots of aircraft turning onto the runway to line up.

As we were walking down the bridal path, the morning's other Continental flight was lining up for departure, unfortunately it was one of the jets wearing the Continental colours but with the United titles after the recent merger; oh well, that one can wait for another day!

We opted for a location a little further along the path for the departure of the BA retro, hoping that due to coming from T3, she would use the first taxiway, meaning for head on shots, you would need to move further along the bridal path. The gamble paid off, and she came down the first taxiway (Tango I think it is) giving me the head-on shots I was after.

'Stokesay Castle' climbed away from runway 23L in true over powered 757 fashion - certainly how most Manchester spotters will always remember them - like a homesick angel, and that was that, after 27 and a half years. I have probably shot my last BA B757 images, but it was all well worth the effort. All in all, not a bad morning's haul at my local, some great movements and good to catch up with a few old friends.

Next on the agenda, chase a few different angles of the now daily Emirates Hippo.

GAR wants to interact with its readers so if you have a question for the author or a comment to make on this feature, please click on the button below. The best comments will appear right here on GAR.

Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /var/sites/g/globalaviationresource.com/public_html/comments/displaycomments.php on line 8

Global Aviation Resource's photographic and written work is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without express written permission.

If you would like to discuss using any of our imagery or feature content please contact us.