Another flashback post today. This one is an old Farnborough airshow and it included a rather large flying contribution from the Royal Navy. I don’t now recall exactly why the Navy was so committed to this show. This wasn’t even on the public show days when the display is often modified for the public from the format used for the trade days.
The main element of the display was six Sea Harriers. These were FRS1 models prior to the F/A2 upgrade program. The aircraft took off in groups of three and included a formation hovering routine with the jets arrayed along the runway providing a jet in front of most of the viewing crowd. Some fast flying was also a part of the display of course.
Helicopters also contributed to the display and the low speed capabilities of the Harrier meant that it was possible to combine the fixed and rotary elements together in one formation. The whole thing made quite an impression as a recall. The sound of six hovering Harriers was certainly enough to give the eardrums a workout!
The end of the line has come for another UK military type. The Sea King HC4 has come to the end of the line for the Royal Navy. The Navy operated many Sea Kings in the anti-submarine role and for search and rescue before the Commando role was taken on. The Wessex fleet was aging and Westland had already come up with an assault version for the export market. Distinguished by its lack of radome and sponsons, the RN decided to use them as the replacement for the Wessex. I have seen them on many occasions. Living near Portsmouth as a kid, they frequently flew by. I also saw them at Navy Days. However, I have far fewer shots of them than I expected. They were not big airshow regulars.
The Junglie name had come from operations before their time and will, I suspect continue with their replacement in service, the Merlins that have been transferred from the RAF. With over 30 years of service, I guess they have done their job well.
With the President being a Chicago resident, it is not uncommon for him to be in the city from time to time and a presidential movement means some unusual aircraft. Given all of this, it might be surprising that I have not got any pictures of Air Force One or Marine One since he has been president. Usually I am not aware of his movements until after the event and I can’t always drop everything to go out even if I did know.
Recently, he came home for the weekend. A few friends had mentioned the arrival and departure schedule for Air Force One so I did consider whether to head out. The arrival wasn’t practical but the departure was on a Sunday evening which I could manage. As it happened, I had been out earlier in the day and coming back into the city I saw how bad the traffic was heading out of town and decided that going to O’Hare was going to be no fun at all. Besides, you are always wondering what runway will be sued and might find yourself totally out of position anyway.
Instead, I decided to try and get some pictures of Marine One. It picks him up on the lake-shore south of the city to transfer to O’Hare so might provide an alternative opportunity. I headed down to a location I thought might be good. As I drove Through Grant Park, the two CH-46E Sea Knights that accompany him flew over shortly followed by the VH-3D. I was a bit miffed that I wasn’t a few minutes earlier so I could have got them arriving but never mind.
I found a parking place – no mean feat on a sunny Sunday by the lake – and wandered to the water to find a spot to wait. Then I waited – quite a long time. A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is issued when the President moves. I knew the times it was active but he can go any time in that range. This time it was later in the range. I watched the boats on the lake, the police helicopter checking us all out and the police boats stopping people getting where they weren’t supposed to be.
Finally, I saw the first of the two VH-3Ds take off. Followed by the second and then the Sea Knights, they took off to the south, away from me! This wasn’t promising. At least they might turn left and come back up the lake. No, they turned right and went inland. I was feeling a touch annoyed by this development. Then things got better. They continued their turn and headed right for me. They passed over the lake giving me a great view with the sun behind me. They are a bit shiny which is tricky with the sun but in the end I got the shot. It was worth the wait.