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Scene around the UK

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29 October 2006 - East Midlands

Seen departing Nottingham East Midlands for a period of maintenance at Lasham was the Republic of Niger's Presidential aircraft, Boeing 737-200 5U-BAG. Not quite Air Force One, but Niger is one of the poorest countries in Africa! Picture courtesy Kevin Strickson

20 October 2006 - Fairford

Exercise Deployed Titan finished today with the departure of the Aviano F-16s back to Italy. It is expected that a similar exercise will be held next year about the same time - let's hope for sunnier weather than the last few weeks have provided! Pictures courtesy Bob Franklin

14 October 2006 - Coningsby

Some welcome weekend action as 41(R) Squadron took to the air for former squadron members at its reunion - two Tornado GR4s and two Harriers from the unit were joined by four Jaguars from 6 Squadron in attacking the airfield before the the four 41(R) Squadron aircraft joined up for a formation flypast.

Also taking to the air was Spitfire IX MK356, which gave a short display between the jets taking off and attacking the airfield.

13 October 2006 - Marham

Operating from Marham this week have been a pair of Belgian Armed Forces F-16s. On Tuesday 10th a road in Norwich was named after a Second World War Belgian Spitfire pilot who was killed in the area where the road has been built and developed.

The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Felicity Hartley, and representatives of the Belgian Air Component joined in a ceremony on Maurice Raes Close, Norwich, to unveil a plaque in memory of Maurice Raes, a Spitfire pilot serving with 350 Squadron, who lost his life over Sprowston Road when his plane crashed in June 1942. Also present were members of Mr Raes' family and local resident Mr Tye, who has been campaigning for a road to be named in honour of Raes. Pictures courtesy Gary Stedman and Andy Court

 

9 October 2006 - Coningsby

The first Typhoon destined for 11(F) Squadron arrived today late afternoon, making several passes for the benefit of the station photographers. The squadron is expected to formally stand-up early next year. There is debate over the fuselage markings, which appear to be reversed from 11 Squadron's traditional yellow chevrons-on-black background - is it a mistake or a break in tradition? Picture courtesy Mark Meades

7 October 2006 - Newark

The restoration team and volunteers at Newark Air Museum have now completed the reassembly of Saab Viggen AJSH 37, 373918/57.

Details of the timing for the official handover ceremony will be posted on the museum website when they have been confirmed with the Swedish Embassy/Swedish Air Force. Courtesy Howard Heeley/Down to Earth Promotions

 

6 October 2006 - Fairford

EXERCISE DEPLOYED TITAN

From 23 September to 30 October RAF Fairford has become the base for a large training exercise involving 1,200 personnel and approximately thirty aircraft from the UK and overseas. Key to the exercise are F-16s from the 31st Fighter Wing, USAFE, normally based at Aviano in Italy.

Previously, these exercises have been held at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall. However, following the decision to reduce resources at St Mawgan, an alternative site had to be found. RAF Fairford is a large airfield and is equipped with modern facilities, and with no aircraft permanently based there; it was selected as an ideal replacement location.

Work began at the base on 23 September and aircraft began arriving from the beginning of October, with all elements in place by 6 October. Whilst there will obviously be an increase in take-offs and landings during the exercise, the majority of the flying activity will take place over areas of Scotland and Wales. The most intense period will be from Monday 16 October through to Wednesday 18 October, when there will be 24-hour activity including some controlled explosions to simulate mortar attacks.

This exercise is a key part of the RAF's training for deployment, and is crucial in allowing personnel the opportunity to experience demanding and hostile situations in a safe training environment. Pictures courtesy Matthew Clements and Paul Dunn

 

3 October 2006 - Leeming

EXERCISE WYCOMBE WARRIOR

The largest air exercise to be held in the UK for some years, codenamed Wycombe Warrior, takes place over northern England and Wales during a three-day period in the first week of October. A force integration exercise, involving all three services it involves aircraft from several NATO countries and sees more intensive flying activity than normal at a number of bases, including Leeming in North Yorkshire, which is busier than it has been for some years. Whilst the resident Tornado F3s and Hawks participate in the exercise it also hosts two types of aircraft playing support roles not normally seen in this County - first, a pair of American civilian Gates Lear Jets, owned by Phoenix Aviation (serials N541 and 549 PA) operating in the Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) role. The Lear Jets assist attack aircraft by spoofing the radars of air defenders, evidence of which is provided by the jamming pods carried under their wings. This is the role normally played by the FRA Falcons, some of which are based close by at Durham Tees Valley Airport. Secondly, a more familiar type is the Westland Sea King helicopter, but the pair (XV697/181 and XV707/184) based at Leeming for the duration of the exercise are of the Airborne Early Warning type developed for the Royal Navy after the Falklands War and operated by 849 NAS, normally based at Culdrose in Cornwall.

The first morning of the exercise passed quietly with only the Hawks of 100 Squadron flying sorties (some of which also carried ECM pods) and these will operate throughout the exercise both singly and in pairs. After lunch the pace quickened noticeably with the emergence of 25 Squadron's Tornado F3s, five of which launched on two-hour sorties in addition to the two Learjets. Although some French visitors had been anticipated they were rumoured to have cancelled -other foreign Air Forces participating were those of Belgium and the Netherlands, from their home bases. Report and pics courtesy Mick Britton and Ade Hairsine

 

2 October 2006 - Coventry

The BBMF's Lancaster made a splendid sight over Coventry's skyline as she made her way to Air Atlantic's facility for her winter service. Normally this task is carried out back home at RAF Coningsby, home of the BBMF, but this winter the UK’s only airworthy Lancaster is to benefit from a new lick of paint under a £500,000 contract with Atlantic Airmotive Ltd.

The existing 'Mickey the Moocher' nose art, representing a machine from 61 Squadron, will be replaced by a 'Phantom of the Ruhr' scheme, representing the colours of 100 Squadron, which continues to fly today with the Hawk from RAF Leeming. The work will include a complete paint strip, repaint and replacing the aircraft's flying control rods. It should take around six months and be completed by the end of March 2007. The major maintenance contract will enable the Lancaster to continue to grace the skies until the next maintenance period is due in around eight years time.

The contract was awarded by the Nimrod Integrated Project Team, which manages the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Courtesy Rich Blencowe

 

1 October 2006 - Newark

In order to celebrate the spectacular transformation of the Canberra and to conclude this special 90th Year, members of 31 Squadron got together at the Newark Air Museum over the weekend of 29 September to 1 October to view the aircraft and meet some of the cadets who have been working on it. Visitors to the museum were also treated to a continuity drill display and the parading of the cadets Banner in front of the aircraft.

The celebrations over the weekend also marked the fiftieth Anniversary of 31 Squadron being presented with its Standard, at RAF Laarbruch, whilst flying Canberra PR7s with the 2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany.

The repainting of the Canberra therefore has broad significance, and the lunchtime celebrations over the three days, with a bit of drill and colour thrown in for good measure, formed the centre piece of a Canberra based Open Day with lots of exhibits (seventy-plus aircraft and cockpits) of the museum itself, both undercover and out in the open.

For more information about 1237 (North Hykeham) Squadron, please contact Flight Lieutenant Wood on 01522 509374. The Air Training Corps is open to 13-18 year olds, and the squadron parades on Monday and Thursday nights from 1900-2100hrs on Meadow Lane, North Hykeham, Lincoln.

Another repainting project sees volunteers recently commencing the restoration and repainting of Blackburn Buccaneer S1 XN964. This major project will involve rubbing down the entire airframe to remove a restorative coating that was applied many years ago and that is now flaking across many parts of the airframe. Once the appropriate preparatory work has been completed, the aircraft, which is listed as a ‘Significant’ airframe on the National Aviation Heritage Register will be repainted in a white and grey colour scheme it wore in its early service days in the Fleet Air Arm.

Courtesy Howard Heeley/Down To Earth Promotions

 

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