I was able to have a day out while in Japan after the work was done and the meetings were complete. I have seen plenty of pictures from Hyakuri and I was keen to get there. Mark had kindly brought me up to date with the latest arrangements for visiting, a rental car was booked and I was all set. Starting out from the center of Tokyo on a Monday morning was surprisingly straightforward and I was soon cruising through the countryside heading to Ibaraki Prefecture.
The weather was a bit overcast. After days of heat and sun, this was a bit of a surprise but it actually worked a bit in my favor. I didn’t have a ladder so switching sides in the afternoon was not going to be too simple. With the clouds, there was far less need to move. However, that was an issue for later. I drove up and, as I got close, I had a Phantom pass over me as it was on final approach. A promising sign.
I got to the towers and got myself settled in. There was plenty of action on the ramp of the recce unit. Soon a couple of jets spooled up and taxied. The came right by me. I was shooting away but there seemed to be a bit of a focus issue. Repressing the AF button brought things back into focus so I kept shooting. Only after they took off did I realize that I had somehow switched to One Shot focus mode. Crap. No doubt most of the take off shots would be out of focus – they were. However, problem fixed and then things were performing as intended.
What followed was a day of Phantom fun. Recce and fighter jets went up in regular waves. They taxied right by and then took off in front of us. What a great way to spend a day. The recce jets would do a straight in approach and landing. Some of the fighter guys were more happy to bash the pattern for a while when returning which added to the fun.
As the afternoon wore on, there was a hint of sun showing through the clouds. Backlight was becoming a bit of an issue but at this point I was staying put until I called it a day. I had the drive back to the city to deal with, rush hour was beckoning and I needed to get the rental car back. I made the most of what was on offer before packing up for the day. The whole trip was so worthwhile. Plenty have been so it was nothing original but it was pure fun. There were also other types flying and they will get their own posts.