More from the archives today. Only once have I made the trip to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. For car enthusiasts, this is quite the event. An enormous variety of motor vehicles are on display and the drive them up the hill across the estate past the main house – a place I am quite familiar with having spent a summer living in the stable block around the corner. Oh how I wish they had done this when I was there!
My one trip would have probably been in 2003 shortly before leaving the UK. I only got a few photos but there are some rather unusual cars in the shots I did take. I thought that a few of you are in to cars and might be interested in what was there. Maybe some of you were there too? One day I will try and be back when it is on again and make another trip.
I was thinking back to previous RIAT shows when I was putting together the 2006 post here. RIAT was my first encounter with the B-2. I recall it showing up to a show one year for a flyby without landing. It flew through accompanied by a pair of F-15Cs, one on each wing. Then, another year – maybe the next but I don’t recall for sure – one was actually deployed to the show. It was parked up so close to everyone on the flight line. I took quite a few pictures of it because it was so new and interesting. (A few pictures in the film days was a let less than it became in the digital days!) Even now, I think a show would consider it quite a coup to have a B-2 on the ground.
When we first lived in Chicago, I was working for a UK based company. I used to make regular trips to London to check in with the mother ship. For the return journey, I would usually take the morning flight back to O’Hare from Heathrow. In those days, BA operated from Terminal 4 and there was a Hilton hotel attached to the terminal. This made the whole process very easy. Get up, walk across the bridge to the terminal and check in. It also meant I could get the occasional shots of operations.
There was a fire escape on the side of the hotel that provided a view to the east and to a bit of the airfield itself. It was a bit restricted as views go but it was not bad. I could get some shots of the operations if the direction of the flow was right. I would also get up early sometimes to see the arrivals coming in as the sun was coming up. Here are some of the shots I got from there.
When I lived in the UK, a trip to RIAT was a regular thing for me. After I started shooting digital, I was living in the US so RIAT was more than just a day trip. My first visit with the digital camera was in 2006. I had to be in the UK for work so I timed it to coincide with RIAT because, you know, it would have been rude not to. With RIAT canceled this year due to the ongoing virus issues, I figured I would jump back to this show to provide some highlights.
I spent two days there. I made my first arrivals day visit and spent the day at the west end which was really nice. Planes were arriving from that direction anyway so it worked out well. The conditions were really nice on both days too so it was a fun and successful shoot. Mikoyan-Gurevich brought there MiG-29OVT demonstrator with thrust vectoring and it flipped its way around the sky with abandon. There was the usual selection of types from around the world which makes RIAT so fun. There were also some older UK types making an appearance like the Canberra demonstration – the last RAF Canberra flights I saw – and the old Twin Pioneer.
A Czech Mil-24 Hind helicopter gunship in special tiger dquadron markings overflies RAF Fairford, UK.
Hopefully there is something in this selection that will be of interest from a great show. There have been more RIAT visits since so maybe I shall dig out some stuff from those years if I continue to struggle for material for future posts!
A Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon pulls hard during a display at RAF Fairford in the UK.
In the process of scanning so many old negatives, I come across shots that I had no idea I had taken. When I still shot film, I would not go nuts taking shots but I was certainly willing to take a shot of anything that I found interesting at the time. Since I had no idea that I was going to have a career in rail, I didn’t think trains would be very important. However, I am an engineer at heart and any big mechanical items catch my interest. It isn’t surprising that I found a few photos of trains. Some of my old colleagues will find these of interest. Others may just like them because they like trains. My sister will probably like the Class 50 just because she used to commute to work behind them for a number of years!
More from the film scanning archive. I made a trip to the museum at RAF Cosford when I was visiting my friends Jon and Charlie in the area. Now Jon works there but at the time it was just an extra to my visit. At the time, British Airways had a collection of aircraft at the museum. This included lots of their older types in storage. Sadly, the cost of keeping the collection was not something BA management deemed worthwhile and they stopped funding it. The museum couldn’t afford to keep them up so they were scrapped on site. I wish I had a better record of them but this is all I have. Fortunately, others will have done better recording them.
While staying in Norfolk, we took a walk along the beach at Hunstanton. We parked up on the top of the cliffs and walked down the path to the beach. Once down there, we were able to see the cliff rocks and they were pretty interesting. The rocks had been laid down in strata are a gentle angle and looked really cool. I guess they were eroding since we came upon what looked like a recent rockfall. Of course, rocks do things in a lot slower time than us so it is entirely possible that these rocks had been lying there for ages but they did look pretty recent.
The Avro Lancaster is a very famous bomber from the Second World War but its transportation derivative is a lot less well known. Outside the aviation community, it is probably totally unknown. It is the Avro York (War of the Roses comments are welcome) and it takes the flying surfaces and power plants of the Lancaster and mates them to a larger fuselage for transporting people. It was an important type in the latter stages of the war and immediately afterwards. This example is in the main hangar at the IWM Duxford.
We went to a bunch of villages in East Anglia that were picturesque but one was almost too much to be real. I have been to Lavenham before – I went in the early 90s when visiting a friend who was living in the area at the time – but I have to admit I didn’t recall much about it and when we got there, I wondered how I could have forgotten. It seems that the entire village is made up of buildings that were constructed by a film set designer.
Half timbered building abound. They are all really old but well maintained. Multiple colors are used to decorate the walls which I assume are probably made of some vintage materials. Building construction in those days used to use a lot of straw mixed with “binding agents” of a less than delightful origin. You don’t know that once they are done and I assume any more modern repairs make use of more pleasant ingredients. The age of the buildings also shows in the way that there doesn’t appear to be a right angle in the place. Everything is at odd angles. It really is something special.
It is not hard to understand why tourists will visit the place. It is just what someone from overseas would imagine an English village to be. I certainly won’t so easily forget it this time. Not sure how I did before!
Duxford’s VC-10 has been there for many years. When I first went there in the 80s, it was on display in the same BOAC colors that it currently wears. However, I think, judging by the condition it is in now, it has undergone a repaint since I first saw it. The VC-10 is something I didn’t see much of in civilian service. The RAF examples where the ones I saw the most. The Duxford example is a great way to see how they were in their original incarnation.