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.
I have shown a bunch of images of the Dreamlifter bringing in components to Paine Field for the production line including shots of the unloading of parts. During a more recent visit, I happened to be there when they were moving a pair of wings from the storage facility to the production facility across the airfield. They had escort vehicles to lead and follow up as they crossed the runway. The wings look a lot less impressive in the travel jigs. The completed 787 looks substantial but the wings alone don’t provide the same impact.
I headed to Alliance during my time in the Dallas area. There was a C-17 parked on the ramp a bit away from where I was. However, it was in nice light at the beginning of the day. Things improved a lot when I saw the beacons come on followed by the sound of engines cranking. It wasn’t too long before the jet taxied for departure. The Wright Patterson markings on the fin meant it was easy to see that this jet was from Dayton. I don’t know if that was where it was headed or whether it had stopped at Alliance en route to somewhere else.
The movement of cars around the world requires a specialist type of ship and, while they may be functionally effective, they are not good looking ships. They have the appearance of a box on the water. The large rear loading ramp allows the cars to be loaded and then they get driven around the multitude of decks for storage. This example was coming up the Solent and heading in to Southampton. A similar example had a shift of load in this area and was put aground on the Brambles Bank to avoid sinking. No issues in this case, of course.
Boeing is now delivering KC-46s to the Air Force at a rate that is a bit of an improvement. There are still plenty of issues with the project (with some only recently discovered) but at least jets are now making their way to the customer, even if they are not flying them too much! However, there are still a lot of the jets parked at Paine Field. The early morning sun provides some nice light on the line of aircraft. It is a rather cluttered view with plenty of airfield material in the shot but the light makes it a bit more appealing.
Arrivals day at any air show is a good opportunity to catch the movements of aircraft that will only be in the static display as opposed to the flying display. At RIAT, there are park and view areas at the east and west ends of the airfield. I have used both over the years but the east end can be really hectic. It does give you the chance to shoot the aircraft on final approach but you can really be fighting for space.
I chose the west end this year. Planes were landing at the east end but it was pretty normal for aircraft to taxi to the west end to then be led to their parking location. Of course, a few interesting types managed to turn off early or backtrack before they got to the end but, on the whole, we did well. The weather wasn’t great but there was a fair bit of sun which helped.
Some of the more exotic types made it up our way. The Ukrainian SU-27s and their IL-76 came up as did the special schemes on some of the F-16s. The Luftwaffe brought some marked jets along too. An F-15E taxied past twice and provided a couple of speed brake waves for the gathered photographers. It could get a bit congested and, with jets holding in the turning loop, they did occasionally send their jet wash across the path of the incoming jets which sabotaged a few photo opportunities.
Later on the Thursday, a few practice displays were also flown by crews qualifying for the show which provided a different angle on some of the performances. An F-16C of the USAF did its full routine and then added a few extra banana passes bringing out right over us at speed several times. Much appreciated!
I posted some shots of John Sessions’ Dragon Rapide in this post. I was pleased to see another Rapide show up at Fairford for RIAT. I managed to get a few shots of it. It was painted in a nice color scheme and looked very elegant as it pottered by. Not a speedy plane (despite the name) so plenty of time to enjoy it.
The IL-76 is a beast of a transport. It is a rugged plane and looks like it could handle anything thrown at it. I have seen them on a variety of occasions – most recently the modernized versions used for civil freight work. The older versions with the original engines are a great thing to see though. The Ukrainian Air Force brought an example to RIAT this year. It was flying overhead when the Sukhois were landing and then it came in too. It came up to the west end where we got a good view of it. Then it was parked up on static display for the show. Sadly, I didn’t get to see it depart at the end of the show.
When I heard an Avanti had showed up at RIAT while I wasn’t there, I was a touch annoyed. I am such a fan of the type that I thought missing it would be very frustrating. Fortunately, it was still at Fairford at the end of the show so the departure day was going to be the time for me to get a shot. It took off in plenty of time before I had to go so I was treated to the sight and sounds that accompany a pair of pusher props.
There were lots of things I was hoping to see at RIAT but I did get a few that were very pleasant surprises. Various air forces had business jets showing up and departing throughout the show as dignitaries (or urgent spares) needed to be moved. The Swiss brought in several jets while I was there but one of them looked a little different. My first encounter with a PC-24. To say I was surprised and pleased would be to understate my response!