With another grey day for Paul Filmer it wasn’t looking too hopeful for his trip to Gifu Air Base, a notoriously difficult airport to shoot at, or so they were told. The day did yield some interesting movements however.
Gifu is home to the Japanese Self-Defense Force Air Development and Test Squadron, plus Kawasaki Heavy Industries Aeroplane Division. Kind of a Japanese Boscombe Down, if you will.
There are options at the ends of each runway to shoot but, as the airfield is on a hill, we were told that the aircraft tend to be high.
We had intel that we could climb another hill on the south side of the airfield and overlook the approach.
We took the long and slippery climb and just caught an F-4 landing. We could only see perhaps 50 meters of the runway, so the shooting opportunity was very tight, and we couldn’t even see the approach due to the trees in the area.
We decided there must be a better spot so went down the hill and ventured further into the small forest to gain a better vantage point. We found a lower spot by the fence line, but the visibility was just as limited as up high.
As I didn’t lug the stepladder all this way, and it was needed to see over the fence, I trudged back to the van to collect it.
On the way back I decided to look for a better spot and searching around indeed found a spot where no ladder was required and we had a wider view of the runway, perhaps 300-400 meters. Sorted!
As the mosquitos started to eat us alive we were lucky to shoot a bunch of the based aircraft, including the elusive C-1FTB.
When it went quiet at lunchtime we decided to call it a day and retreat from the biting insects.