As I was skipping through some images, I saw a few extra shots of the A400M at RIAT. I figured that I hadn’t seen many examples of the transport in service – just the test aircraft performing in displays. However, I have seen both Luftwaffe and Armee de l’Air planes at times so thought I would share a few shots of them plus some test planes for good measure.
The Hansajet was an odd airframe and one of those examples of manufacturers trying innovative things out that didn’t really go anywhere. It had a slightly forward swept wing to improve efficiency but forward swept wings have largely failed to gain any traction. It was operated by the Luftwaffe and this example was an attendee at an Air Fete at Mildenhall, I am going to say in 1991 but that may be wrong. I saw it on approach and then again in the static display. Quite a neat looking jet I think. Anyone know if any still fly?
I do love the Tornado. It was coming in to service just when I was getting into aviation and I ended up working on handling clearances for them when I was a junior aerodynamicist. Their retirement by the RAF was a sad thing for me but I was consoled by the fact they remain in service with the other operators. I was looking forward to seeing some at RIAT. I did get to see some flying at a distance on arrivals day and they taxied up our way. Nothing too close in the air though.
I did get a chance to see them on static display which is fine but not as fun as seeing them flying. A lot of my hopes, therefore, were focused on departures day. The German jets were scheduled out at various times during the morning. However, they weren’t hitting their designated times and I was getting close to needing to leave. Eventually I realized my time had run out. I walked back behind the FRIAT stands and popped to the facilities prior to making the drive away. While in there, I heard a very familiar roar. Sure enough, as soon as I was out of sight, a Luftwaffe Tornado made its departure. The Tornado doesn’t climb fast so it was nice and low as it passed the stand – apparently. Bum!
The Alpha Jet has attracted the attention of a few owners in the Pacific Northwest. This example is pretty cool because, rather than being painted in some new scheme, it is still in the colors it wore when operated by the Luftwaffe. It flew a few passes during Skyfair so we were able to see it in action. I have seen lots of the French style Alpha Jets with the spinning nose but my exposure to the German style of jets over the years has been a lot less. The pointy nose has a slightly more purposeful look to me.
The Bf-109 was built in huge numbers but a very small number of them survive. The Hispano Buchon was a 109 fitted with a Merlin engine and they served after the war and ultimately made their way into collections in bigger numbers but real 109s are a lot thinner on the ground. They also look so much meaner in my mind courtesy of the thicker nose for the DB engine. FHCAM has a 109 and it flew during the European Theater Day.
It went out for a run in the morning and I got a couple of quick shots of it then. It flew again in the afternoon, this time paired with the Mosquito. Sadly, there were limited times when they were alone and the Mosquito was a priority for me that day so the 109 did not get my focus. I did get to shoot a few frames of it and, with a sunny day bringing out the camouflage nicely, I was quite pleased with the results. Obviously there are better conditions to shoot it but I had very few 109 airborne shots before this day so I expanded the collection quite a bit.