With a visit to this year’s Army Air Corps Attack Helicopter Display Team coming up soon, Gareth Stringer looks back at some of his most memorable Apache encounters.
I love the Apache. In my mind there’s nothing quite like it and if ever an aircraft looks perfectly suited the role it was designed to carry out, then the Apache is it.
We’ve been very lucky in terms of covering the Army Air Corps’ gunship, with a number of memorable encounters during the past few years. So, having recently been in contact with this year’s display team, which will be attending a number of airshows this season, I thought I would take a look back at some of those encounters, before we, hopefully, add another one to the list.
Middle Wallop – June 2010:
A fantastic day, and night, with great weather to boot! Karl and I arrived at Middle Wallop to photograph the aircraft by day, before returning again later in the evening to see a wave of night flying depart.
This was my first really close look at the aircraft and opportunity to interview those who fly it, and the whole day was absolutely fascinating. Being able to catch the departures after dark was a huge bonus, and great fun, and all resulted in a feature that we were very happy with. You can find it here:
AAC Wattisham Airfield – April 2011:
This was our first visit to specifically cover the AAC’s Attack Helicopter Display Team, as the Apache returned to the airshow circuit for just four events.
WO2 Bruce Allen and Capt Scottie Hewitt, the 2011 display crew, performed four practice displays, and, despite the murky, quite atmospheric conditions, being that close to a hovering Apache was really very special! The Team’s manager, Capt Stewart Pearce, has remained in contact with GAR and that enabled us, as you will see below, to cover the team in 2012 and, looking ahead, 2013 too.
The feature we published on the 2011 AHDT can be found here:
RAF Waddington International Airshow – July 2011:
This was Scottie and Bruce’s début display – in front of a huge crowd at RAF Waddington.
On the Saturday of the airshow I was fortunate enough to accompany them as they went airside to crew in and fly their display. The weather was absolutely scorching and, while the position wasn’t suitable to actually photograph them flying, it still had its advantages!
RAF Cosford Airshow – June 2012:
I spent some time with last year’s AHDT, WO2 Clive Richardson, Captain Lillie Mead and Captain Stewart Pearce, at RAF Cosford Airshow. This was for a feature we published in Global Aviation Magazine.
The weather wasn’t fantastic, sadly, but again I was able to go with them as they prepared to fly the display, which always brings a few different angles to proceedings.
RNAS Yeovilton Air Day – June 2012:
Not an official visit as such – just a question of being in the right place at the right time!
Apache images really do benefit from some sun, so when I found myself standing on a sunny ramp as this example arrived at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day, to take part in the Commando Assault set-piece, I couldn’t believe my luck!
They even taxied in just as I would have wanted them to, which was a real bonus. Consequently, I was quite chuffed with these!
So there you go, a few memorable encounters with an aircraft that I always enjoy writing about and attempting to photograph! We know that you like reading about it, too, so look forward to bringing you more on this year’s display team in due course. I can’t wait!
Until next time…….