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31 May 2006 - Mildenhall

During the latter half of 2005, the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Nebraska received their third RC-135 trainer, when TC-135W 62-4127 was delivered to the unit following modification at Raytheon's E-Systems Division at Greenville, Texas. Following service as a passenger aircraft with MATS, the C-135B was modified for VIP duties with the 89th MAW at Andrews AFB, Maryland, and later as a command support aircraft at Offutt AFB. Latterly 24137 was assigned to det 1/89th AW at Hickam AFB, Hawaii for the CinC PACAF. It was withdrawn at the end of the last decade, and was with Raytheon for many years undergoing a lengthy modification to TC-135W standard. Resembling the RC-135W 'Rivet Joint/Glass', the TC-135W has wooden 'chipmunk' cheeks to enable crews to familiarise handling qualities without utilising precious flying hours aboard actual RC-135 airframes.

The TC-135W arrived at RAF Mildenhall on 31 May, for a period of temporary duty with the resident 95th RS. It joins RC-135W 64-14842 which also arrived on 31 May, and RC-135U 64-14847, which traditionally deploys to Mildenhall to monitor the Russian series of spring exercises. Picture courtesy Bob Archer


30 May 2006 - Lakenheath

Arriving at 20:30 were six F-15 Eagles from the Oregon ANG based at Klamath Falls IAP/Kingsley Field, en-route to Bulgaria to take part in a joint exercise next month. The exercise will take place between 2-16 June at Graf Ignatievo air base, 100 miles southeast of the capital, Sofia.

US Air Forces in Europe, represented by the Oregon Air National Guard's 173rd Fighter Wing, will conduct the joint air to air exercise with Bulgarian Air Force units, the report said.

The goal of the exercise is to familiarise US and Bulgarian personnel with air to air operations, tactics, techniques and procedures with the goal of improving interoperability among NATO allied pilots and units, according to the US Embassy in Sofia.

Bulgaria, which joined NATO in 2004, struck a deal with the United States last month allowing US troops to be deployed at four military facilities in this former Warsaw Pact country. The Bezmer and Graf Ignatievo airfields are part of the agreement. Pictures courtesy Matthew Clements


26 May 2006 - Brize Norton

Making a very brief stop was Irish Air Corps King Air 240 from 102 Squadron, based at Baldonnel. Originally used for Maritime Patrolling, the King Air is now used mainly for training and is also tasked with Air Ambulance, VIP, Ministerial Air Transport Service and Military transportation. It is used for multi-engine pilot conversion training, and in recent years it has been used for advanced pilot training on the pilots Wings Course. Picture courtesy Mark Rouse

25 May 2006 - Cranwell

With 55(R) Squadron's 90th anniversary celebrations this weekend, Dominie T1 XS739 has been painted in commemorative markings, something of a 'first' for the venerable Dommy. It has actually been around for a few weeks but has proved elusive to date, hence the rather distant shot shown here. No doubt it will be seen at airshows throughout the summer. Thanks to Andy Court we can bring you a better pic - right.

24 May 2006 - Kemble

Seen at Kemble was the Air Atlantique fleet, working up their eight-aircraft routine for the Biggin Hill International Air Fair on 3/4 June. Pictures courtesy A N Other


Accompanying the formation en-route to Kemble was propliner photographer Graham Robson, who has kindly sent us these two shots.

24 May 2006 - Wattisham

Dropping in from an exercise at St Mawgan were eight Gazelles and a single Puma from the French Army (Armee de la Terre). The Gazelles were 4084, 4186, 4210, 4226, 1522, 4227, 1451 & 4034. Pictures courtesy Gary Stedman

23 May 2006 - Mildenhall

A rare visitor to the UK is the S-3 Viking, but one pitched up for a nightstop on 22 May direct from the USS Enterprise, which is in Mediterranean waters. Also seen was a Turkish Air Force C-130. Pictures courtesy Matthew Clements

15 May 2006 - Newark

Since Newark Air Museum’s Vickers Varsity T1 WF369 was moved under cover in autumn 2004, restoration work has progressed steadily on this mighty twin-engined navigation trainer. This particular Varsity airframe has Significant status [next to top listing possible] on the National Aviation Heritage Register and it is the only example of the type displayed under cover in the UK.

WF369 is the centrepiece of Newark’s Display Hangar 2, which was funded with a grant of £453,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is not only the airframe that has been receiving attention from the museum volunteers, the massive Bristol Hercules 264 radial engines have also been restored. To allow this work to be viewed one of the engines is now displayed with the complex set of hinged engine covers in the open position.

Elsewhere in Display Hangar 2 the BAe Sea Harrier FRS1/FA2 ZA176, which joined the collection in the summer of 2004 is now externally complete and the original operational paintwork has recently been polished back up to display standard. Whilst the first significant airframe sections from the Saab Viggen AJSH 37, 373 918 - ‘57’ have also started to appear in the eastern end of the hangar, alongside the Swift. It is anticipated that the remainder of the aircraft will be moved from RAF Cranwell during the coming weeks. Courtesy Howard Heeley/Down to Earth Promotions


13 May 2006 - Mildenhall

One for the early-morning birds was this P-3C that arrived at 0600L and departed at 0730L. Also in town was an AC-130U, something that is becoming almost a regular sight at Mildenhall, it seems. Pictures courtesy Matthew Clements

11 May 2006 - Woodbridge

Exercise 'Crimson Hurdle' kicked off with the arrival of five AH-64D Apache Longbows at the former USAFE airfield at Woodbridge, now occupied by the Army. 'Crimson Hurdle' forms part of the essential training that is required before service crews can be deployed overseas on operational duties. Lasting for three weeks, the exercise will involve eight Apaches, six Lynx helicopters, three RAF Chinooks and a ground force that includes Commandos, Royal Marines and 23 Engineer Regiment. An estimated 500 soldiers will take part in the operation, who will move rapidly across southern England. Pictures courtesy Graham Haynes

9 May 2006 - Cranwell

Two Pilatus PC-21s arrived today for a few days stay - HB-HZA and HB-HZC are believed to be under evaluation for the impending MFTS contract, due to begin in a couple of years time. Appropriately they were placed in the old Red Arrows hangar overnight - is this a sign of things to come? Pictures courtesy Guy Harvey


7 May 2006 - Brize Norton

One to go fishing for - a C-135E 'Speckled Trout' departs Brize Norton after a weekend visit. The polished white-and-silver C-135 is primarily for avionics flight test, but its secondary mission is to transport the Air Force’s senior leaders as they conduct business around the globe. The aircraft in the VIP transport role seats 14 passengers and gives the Joint Forces Air Component commander a limited ability to plan and control the simulated battle while in the air en route to a crisis area. Picture courtesy Mark Rouse

5 May 2006 - Mildenhall

Making a quick fuel stop was USAF E-3B 77-0353 from the 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron, part of the 552nd Air Control Wing based at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. The 964th AACS is tasked to provide responsive employment of E-3 Sentry aircraft for surveillance, warning and control in a variety of tactical, strategic and special mission applications. Personnel of the 964th AACS bring extensive flying, warning and control experience to the job from previous assignments. Aircraft backgrounds vary, but most flight crew members have C-135 experience and quickly transition to the E-3. Picture courtesy Matthew Clements


3 May 2006 - North Weald

Kennet Aviation's restored Seafire XVII SX336/G-KASX took to the air for its first test flight in the hands of Pete Kynsey. It is set to be the star of the Yeovilton Air Day in July, with Phil Shaw as display pilot. Picture courtesy Damien Burke

Archive - Apr 06, Mar 06, Feb 06, Jan 06, Dec 05, Nov 05, Oct 05, Sept 05, Aug 05, July 05, June 05, May 05, April 05, Mar 05, Feb 05, Jan 05, 2004

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