Shaun Schofield's 2012 blogGAR Entries

APR 06 2012
blogGAR: RAF Brize Norton and Fairford

Being such a busy base, RAF Brize Norton was the obvious choice for a day out with the camera. It's very rare I get the chance to shoot the RAF heavies, and don't have a single digital shot of an RAF Hercules, so the opportunity to shoot them in such good weather was one I didn't wish to pass up. On arrival at Brize, a number of Hercules were up and about, with one bashing the circuit for the two hours we spent at the fence at the 08 end. Disappointingly, none of the resident VC10s, Tristars or C-17s took to the air in that time, although there was some jet noise courtesy of a Hawk and Tornado flying through, but at least I finally managed to bag myself a Herc or two.

Having learned of a repatriation flight due in later that afternoon, we thought it prudent to leave Brize and try our luck at Fairford, in the hope of catching a couple of 352nd SOG MC-130s from RAF Mildenhall that were somewhat conveniently on exercise at the base. Having seen one route over Brize on its way into Fairford, we were hopeful that our luck would be in. This was dashed a little on the short journey down the road as we spotted two more Hercs on approach, with another heading in the opposite direction, and further confounded just as we arrived, with another aircraft landing, my camera still safely tucked away in its bag.

It wouldn't be long however before we did get lucky, as first one of the aircraft already on the deck made a smoky departure, before several more made their way into and out of the airfield, making for a busy hour and a half. After the initial excitement, things died down considerably, with a long lull in the activity leading to the decision to head back to Brize, with the aim of getting some approach shots. With just a single Hercules in the circuit, and a rather solemn atmosphere through the village following the repatriation, it might have been a little insensitive to stand at the end of the runway waving a camera around, so the decision was made to return home, via Fairford once again, and just in time to catch the final MC-130 arrival from right underneath the approach, and in the best light of the day. A stroke of luck, but it was definitely a case of saving the best for last.

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