Sunday 24 December 2023

Istanbul 1st - 4th December 2023

A 4 day trip mainly for liners saw Daz, Pogo, Tugger and Nay head to Istanbul. An early LGW departure on Wizz Air saw us arrive at IST about 1430L.  Friday was just collect the car and head to the hotel for some TC- liners.

We stayed at the Otel Kumsal on the coast which is perfect for landings, right over the hotel at about 3000ft. Quite reasonable rates at this time of the year and food and beer was of course available in the evening.

Saturday started with a drive by for an F-84 after a quick tyre change due to a blow out on the motorway.

02-12-23 Istanbul-Bogazkoy
53-7218 F-84F Thunderflash

The museum entry was 200tl, more if you want to take a camera but the phone was free. The museum hangar was closed due to works being carried out so only those outside were seen. Still a very good selection.

02-12-23 Ataturk - Havacilik Muzesi
430 Viscount
(3022) NF-5A Freedom Fighter
3070/3-070 NF-5A Freedom Fighter
(6008)/H-008 C-47B
(6052)/YSL-52 C-47A
6868 F-104S Starfighter
(6930)/9-930 AT-11 Kansan
10013 Do.28B Skyservant
10020 Do.28D Skyservant
10022 Do.28D Skyservant
10104 T-7C Citabria
10293 Do.27H
(10370) Robinson R22
(10683) C-54D Skymaster
11357 U-17A Skywagon
51-1901/1901 RF-84F Thunderflash
11917/1917 RF-84F Thunderflash
(12)344/4-344 F-104G Starfighter
(19)268 CL-13A Sabre
28941/941 F-84F Thunderstreak
39835/2-835 T-37C Tweety Bird - also marked TE-835
(4)1543/8-543 RT-33A Shooting Star
149877/TCB-877 S-2E Tracker
52-7577 UH-19B
54-2089/3-089 F-100C Super Sabre
42245/FW-245 F-100D Super Sabre
0-53386/386 F-102A Delta Dagger
67-0360 F-4E Phantom II
69-022/022 C-160D Transall
69-15724 UH-1H Iroquois
69-7522 RF-4E Phantom II
89-0032 F-16C Fighting Falcon
(N3424A)/2-220 T-34A Mentor
(TC-ABA) SE.210 Caravelle 
(TC-CCH)/OK-16 T-34A Mentor
TC-ECL PZL-104 Wilga
(-) Mavi Isik G-1

On base seen through the mesh fence in the museum grounds were:
(7504)/04 T-6G Texan
(7021)/DE-21 P-47D Thunderbolt
(19207)/207 CL-13A Sabre
(35744) T-33A Shooting Star
+ an F-84
+ an F-104

There were more but the gun toting patrols put paid to further investigations

Time for a tyre change as the space saver was too much of a risk on the minor roads especially with three fat blokes and me in the car.

The FlyInn shoppimg mall is still going strong at Ataturk and lets you read a fair bit of the stored liners from the top floor. The fixed scope is still in situ and nobody batted an eyelid when our scopes came out.. Also a nice place for some decent local grub.

The next museum was in town and was 300tl entry

02-12-23 Rahmi M Koc Muzesi
(3041) NF-5A Freedom Fighter - cockpit/nose section
10041 Do.28D Skyservant
10133 Bellanca T-7C Citabria
10655 AH-1S Huey Cobra
(41-24311) B-24D Liberator - wreckage
75-6895 F-104S Starfighter
'G-AXNZ' Pitts S-1C - replica
G-BWDR Jet Provost T.3A
(LV-HVL) Cessna 150K - marked N6164G
TC-ALI Douglas DC-3
(TC-CCD)/OK-12 T-34A Mentor
TC-LEY Hansa Jet
TC-ZMC S-2R Thrush Commander

Day 3 was mainly spent at SAW for Pegasus and Anadolu Jet

After our fill of liners it was W&R time starting with a drive by for a Phantom

03-12-23 Tuzla
67-0376 F-4E Phantom II

Just the two preserved seen at Samandira but it was a Sunday.

03-12-23 Samandira AB
11050 U-17B Skywagon 
+ U-17 preserved on far side

We woke up Monday to gale force winds and torrential rain. Departures from IST were not an option so we headed for some more W&R 

04-12-23 Buyukcekmece
6060 C-47A - most sources say this is really 6069
51-4350/2-350 T-33A Shooting Star
(69-7125) F-5A Freedom Fighter

Just a short drive away

04-12-23 Buyukcekmece
(10012)/10-333 Do.28B Skyservant
(10294)/10-327 Do.27H

The 3 Stafs were seen from the co-ords in EMOOS

04-12-23 Ataturk - Air Force Academy Parade Ground
(5711) TF-104G Starfighter
(9078) F-104G Starfighter
(9083) F-104G Starfighter

04-12-23 Ataturk
Long shot... a Casa 235 dep 1445, nowhere to stop and nothing on any trackers...

So a successful trip was almost complete bar a three hour delay on the flight home. Back at LGW just before midnight.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday 15 November 2022

USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78 Stokes Bay 15-11-22

Buster, Nay and Pogo met up at Stokes Bay to view the first visit of CVN-78 and the first USN carrier in 4 years.  Pogo had booked himself on one of the boat tours whilst we stayed landside.

Cross checking afterwards we confirmed we had all read every code from both vantage points.

Nothing noted below deck, all shut up.


VFA-37 "Ragin' Bulls"
165872/AJ-101 F/A-18E Super Hornet
165862/AJ-102 F/A-18E Super Hornet
165866/AJ-103 F/A-18E Super Hornet
166832/AJ-104 F/A-18E Super Hornet
166834/AJ-105 F/A-18E Super Hornet
166836/AJ-106 F/A-18E Super HornetAJ-106 166836
166431/AJ-110 F/A-18E Super Hornet
166607/AJ-111 F/A-18E Super Hornet

VFA-213 "Black Lions"
168890/AJ-200 F/A-18F Super Hornet
166802/AJ-202 F/A-18F Super Hornet
166793/AJ-203 F/A-18F Super HornetAJ-203 166793
168891/AJ-204 F/A-18F Super Hornet
166664/AJ-205 F/A-18F Super Hornet
166620/AJ-206 F/A-18F Super Hornet166620 AJ-206 F-18F USS Ford 15-11-22
166631/AJ-211 F/A-18F Super Hornet
166633/AJ-212 F/A-18F Super HornetAJ-212 166633

VFA-31 "Tomcatters"
166872/AJ-301 F/A-18E Super Hornet
166778/AJ-302 F/A-18E Super Hornet
166781/AJ-305 F/A-18E Super Hornet
165871/AJ-306 F/A-18E Super Hornet
166784/AJ-310 F/A-18E Super Hornet
165870/AJ-311 F/A-18E Super Hornet
166786/AJ-312 F/A-18E Super Hornet

VFA-87 "Golden Warriors"
168910/AJ-400 F/A-18E Super Hornet
168911/AJ-401/CO F/A-18E Super HornetAJ401 CO 198911
168912/AJ-402 F/A-18E Super Hornet
168916/AJ-406 F/A-18E Super Hornet
168470/AJ-407 F/A-18E Super Hornet
169395/AJ-410 F/A-18E Super Hornet
169396/AJ-411 F/A-18E Super Hornet

VAQ-142 "Gray Wolves"
168775/AJ-501 EA-18G Growler
168385/AJ-502 EA-18G Growler
168271/AJ-503 EA-18G Growler
168392/AJ-504 EA-18G Growler

VAW-124 "Bear Aces"
169231/AJ-601 E-2D HawkeyeAJ-601 169231
169082/AJ-603 E-2D Hawkeye

VRC-40 "Rawhides"
162168/45 C-2A Greyhound162168 45 C-2A USS Ford 15-11-22
162164/57 C-2A Greyhound

HSC-9 "Tridents"
168591/AJ-610 MH-60S Sea HawkAJ-610 168591
168540/AJ-614 MH-60S Sea Hawk
166314/AJ-617 MH-60S Sea HawkAJ-617 166314

HSM-70 "Spartans"
168158/AJ-700 MH-60R Sea Hawk168158 AJ-700 MH-60R USS Ford 15-11-22
168125/AJ-701 MH-60R Sea HawkAJ-701 168125
167037/AJ-702 MH-60R Sea HawkAJ-702 167037

Deck Trainer
163129 F/A-18A Hornet

In dock neither the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116) nor SPS Alvaro de Bazan (F-101) were showing off their helis.

Thanks to various forums/photo sites for confirming some of the serials not visible in our photos or through the scopes.

Monday 24 October 2022

Fighter Follies October 2022

As 8 SJs had arrived and another 4 were due another trip up to Mildy was in order. A little stop at Teversham for a Marines Herc was first up though.

Cambridge 13-10-22
165957/QD-957 KC-130J Hercules VMGR-152

Mildenhall 13-10-22
USAF Visitors
84-00157 C-12U Huron E/1-214 AVN84-00157 C-12 Mildenhall 13-10-22
87-0181/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS87-0181 SJ F-15E Mildenhall 13-10-22
87-0192/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS87-0192 SJ F-15E Mildenhall 13-10-22
87-0193/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS
88-1670/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS88-1670 SJ F-15E Mildenhall 13-10-22
88-1671/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS
88-1699/MO F-15E Strike Eagle 366FW/389FS
88-1703/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS
88-1708/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS
89-0474/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS
89-0478/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS
89-0483/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS
89-0487/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS - marked 335FS89-0487 SJ F-15E Mildenhall 13-10-22
89-0503/SJ F-15E Strike Eagle 4FW/335FS
00-0174/AK C-17A Globemaster III 'Alaska' 176WG/144AS
15-46069 KC-46A Pegasus (305AMW)
16-46022 KC-46A Pegasus (22ARW)
18-46049 KC-46A Pegasus (22ARW)
20-5933 MC-130J Commando II (27SOW/9SOS)20-5933 MC-130J Mildenhall 13-10-22

The Belgians were still in over the road so we popped over for a few pics, none were required though.

Lakenheath 13-10-22
Belgian Air Force 10 Wing
FA-102 F-16AM Fighting FalconFA-102 F-16A Lakenheath 13-10-22
FA-121 F-16AM Fighting FalconFA-121 F-16A Lakenheath 13-10-22a
FB-15 F-16BM Fighting FalconFB-15 F-16B Lakenheath 13-10-22


Qatar time again. The usual after work splash and dash trip in the dark.

Mildenhall 24-10-22
USAF Visitors
60-0313 KC-135R Stratotanker 22ARW
63-7995 KC-135R Stratotanker 22ARW
17-0028 F-15QA Eagle FMS Qatar
17-0029 F-15QA Eagle FMS Qatar

24 have now come through but poor old Pogey missed these two as he was away in Scotland.

Friday 23 September 2022

Fighter Follies September 2022

A run out for Cobra Warrior saw Buster and Nay head up to Lincs. First stop was to pick up Chas and have a cuppa before the local run around.

Waddington 12-09-22
German Air Force TLG51
46+23 Tornado ECR
46+25 Tornado ECR
46+32 Tornado ECR
46+49 Tornado ECR
46+50 Tornado ECR
46+51 Tornado ECR

Italian Air Force
MM7298/51-01 Typhoon 51 Stormo
MM7313/36-35 Typhoon 36 Stormo 
MM7317/4-43 Typhoon 4 Stormo
MM7329/4-58 Typhoon 4 Stormo
MM7330/4-56 Typhoon 4 StormoMM7330 4-56 Typhoon Waddington 12-09-22
MM7345/37-45 Typhoon 37 Stormo
MM62303/14-12 E-550 14 StormoMM62303 14-12 E-550 Waddington 12-09-22

LX-N90443 E-3A Sentry

Cranwell 12-09-22
Visitors - Irish Air Corps
264 PC-9M FTS

Based - 3FTS
ZM303/03 Prefect T.1 57 Sqn
ZM320/20 Prefect T.1 57 Sqn
ZM333 Phenom 45 Sqn
ZM336 Phenom 45 Sqn
ZM337 Phenom 45 Sqn

Barkston Heath 12-09-22
Based - 3 FTS
ZM304/04 Prefect T.1 57 SqnZM304 Prefect Barkston Heath 12-09-22
ZM305/05 Prefect T.1 57 SqnZM305 Prefect Barkston Heath 12-09-22
ZM310/10 Prefect T.1 57 Sqn
ZM312/12 Prefect T.1 57 SqnZM312 Prefect Barkston Heath 12-09-22
ZM314/14 Prefect T.1 57 SqnZM314 Prefect Barkston Heath 12-09-22
ZM318/18 Prefect T.1 57 Sqn
ZM319/19 Prefect T.1 57 Sqn
ZM322/22 Prefect T.1 57 Sqn

Coningsby 12-09-22
ZJ913 Typhoon FGR.4 29 SqnZJ913 Typhoon Coningsby 12-09-22
ZJ914 Typhoon FGR.4 29 SqnZJ914 Typhoon Coningsby 12-09-22
ZJ929 Typhoon FGR.4 29 SqnZJ929 Typhoon Coningsby 12-09-22
ZJ937 Typhoon FGR.4
ZJ950 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK310 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK321 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK342 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK351 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK367 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK372 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK373 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK377 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK381 Typhoon T.3 29 Sqn
ZK382 Typhoon T.3
ZK426 Typhoon FGR.4 29 Sqn
ZK430 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK431 Typhoon FGR.4
ZK433 Typhoon FGR.4

Then back to Ma and Pa's for dinner. The AV F-16s were playing over The Wash and supplied some after dinner entertainment. GRIM flight of 3 remained unknown though. 


Another Qatari delivery equals another after work run out.

Mildenhall 20-09-22
USAF Visitors
62-3508 KC-135R Stratotanker 108ARW/141ARS 'New Jersey'62-3508 KC-135R Mildenhall 20-09-22
62-4139/OF RC-135W Rivet Joint 55RW/38RS62-4139 OF RC-135W Mildenhall 20-09-22
63-8035 KC-135R Stratotanker 117ARW/116ARS 'Alabama'
17-0026 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar17-0026 F-15QA Mildenhall 20-09-22
17-0027 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar17-0027 F-15QA Mildenhall 20-09-22

N705KW Boeing 767 Eastern

A quick look at EGUL as there was still light and LB required 1 of the AVs

Lakenheath 20-09-22
89-2137/AV F-16CG Fighting Falcon

Only 1 visible by the HAS's and somebody had obviously trodden in something. One rather pleased Buster.


We had overnighted at Wyberton as Chas needed a couple of the AVs and some work on the local F-35s. The weather was not playing ball though and we had to wait for the visibility to improve just to read the F-35s in the shelter at Marham.

Marham 23-09-22
ZM145/011 F-35B Lightning
ZM155/021 F-35B Lightning
ZM158/024 F-35B Lightning

Over to Mildy where the viz was still poor. Good job the box was on and the good Thunder was heard coming in.

Mildenhall 23-09-22
63-8035 KC-135R Stratotanker 117ARW/116ARS 'Alabama'
06-6168 C-17A Globemaster III 436AW 'Dover' - RCH42406-6168 C-17A Mildenhall 23-09-22
07-4635/RS C-130J-30 Hercules 86AW/37AS - HKY669
16-46020 KC-46A Pegasus 157ARW/133ARS 'New Hampshire' - CAFE62
20-5941 MC-130J Commando II 352SOW/67SOS

168293/EG-05 MV-22B Osprey VMM-263 - Thunder 11

The latest based MC was also knocked off.

Lakenheath 23-09-22
19-5474/LN F-35A Lightning II
20-5571/LN F-35A Lightning II
20-5572/LN F-35A Lightning II
20-5574/LN F-35A Lightning II

88-0425/AV F-16CG Fighting Falcon88-0425 AV F-16C Lakenheath 23-09-22
88-0435/AV F-16CG Fighting Falcon88-0435 AV F-16C Lakenheath 23-09-22
88-0460/AV F-16CG Fighting Falcon88-0460 AV F-16C Lakenheath 23-09-22
88-0532/AV F-16CG Fighting Falcon
89-2016/AV F-16CG Fighting Falcon
89-2044/AV F-16CG Fighting Falcon

Top Aces
C-GLTO/069 Alpha Jet
C-GLTO 069 Alpha Jet Lakenheath 23-09-22
C-GVTA/009 Alpha Jet
C-GVTA 009 Alpha Jet Lakenheath 23-09-22

The 2 AVs Chas was after both flew and we got the added bonus of catching the Alpha Jets depart back to Germany. A little detour back via Mildenhall for Chas' last 100ARW tanker made us late for dinner. Nothing unusual there...

Friday 29 July 2022

Fighter Follies July 2022

As is becoming the norm for the Qatari's another after work dash for the latest delivery for Buster and Nay. Pogo had launched the day before.

Mildenhall 12-07-22
USAF Visitors
84-0185 KC-10A Extender - 60AMW 'Travis'
17-0003 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar
17-0011 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar
17-0024 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar
17-0024 F-15QA Mildenhall 12-07-22
17-0025 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar

20 down, 16 to go...


The lure of six Alaskan Raptors was too much to ignore for Buster, Nay and Pogo. Alas, a delayed departure from Luton meant two of us arrived 15-20 mins after their arrival. Despite a hunt from both sides of the airfield we could only read two (074/151), a third being HAS'd before we had the chance to pole it. Pogey had better timing and caught all of them on arrival.

Lakenheath 26-07-22
USAF Visitors
89-9104 C-130H Hercules - 910AW/757AS 'Youngstown'
04-4074/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS
05-4090/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS - marked 90FS
06-4110/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS - marked 11AF
06-4112/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS
07-4151/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS
10-4193/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS - marked 3WG

Mildenhall 26-07-22
USAF Visitors
75-0556/OK E-3B Sentry - 552ACW/960ACCS
85-0008 C-5M Super Galaxy - 436AW 'Dover'


The second half of the expected dozen caught up two days later. The same trio were intending to meet up again but this time the working day delay caught up with Pogo who had to abort his mission. Buster and Nay made it in time though.

Lakenheath 28-07-22
USAF Visitors
05-4103/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS
05-4103 F-22A Lakenheath 28-07-22
07-4136/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS

07-4136 F-22A Lakenheath 28-07-22
07-4138/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS
07-4138 F-22A Lakenheath 28-07-22
07-4144/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS
07-4144 F-22A Lakenheath 28-07-22
07-4149/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS
07-4149 F-22A Lakenheath 28-07-22
09-4190/AK F-22A Raptor - 3WG/90FS
09-4190 F-22A Lakenheath 28-07-22

Mildenhall 28-07-22

USAF Visitors
75-0556/OK E-3B Sentry - 552ACW/960ACCS
86-0013 C-5M Super Galaxy - 433AW

So out 8/12 for Luton, 6/12 for Stone. Hopefully there will be another 'Fighter Folly' later this year where we all convert that to a rapturous 12/12.

Monday 9 May 2022

Fighter Folly May 2022

Another after work run out for the latest batch of Qatari Eagles. We were just approaching the last roundabout before coming off the A11 when the 4-ship and 2-ship went over and broke for landing.
A quick divert in to the petrol garage to attempt a few pics was made. Not great shots by any standards but at least they all made it this time and were seen.  16 down, 20 to go.

Mildenhall 09-05-22
USAF Visitors
63-7992 KC-135R Stratotanker - 186ARW/153ARS 'Mississippi'
75-0556/OK E-3B Sentry - 552ACW/960ACCS
79-1712 KC-10A Extender - 305AMW 'McGuire'
84-0189 KC-10A Extender - 305AMW 'McGuire'
85-0002 C-5M Super Galaxy - 436AW/9AS 'Dover'
85-0030 KC-10A Extender - 305AMW 'McGuire'
87-0119 KC-10A Extender - 60AMW 'Travis'
17-0008 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar
17-0012 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar17-0012 F-15QA Mildenhall 09-05-22
17-0020 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar
17-0021 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar
17-0022 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar
17-0023 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar

By the time we'd done the circuit, and finally caught our missing based bits, it was dark so time to head home.

Monday 7 March 2022

Fighter Folly Mar 2022

 A run out for the latest Qatari Eagles and to try and see the 2 AV F-16s that were required. The weather was rather dreich.

Lakenheath 04-03-22
USAF 31FW / 510FS 'AV'
88-0413 F-16C Fighting Falcon
88-0444 F-16C Fighting Falcon
88-0521 F-16C Fighting Falcon
88-0541 F-16C Fighting Falcon
89-2011 F-16C Fighting Falcon
89-2018 F-16C Fighting Falcon
89-2047 F-16C Fighting Falcon89-2047 AV F-16C Lakenheath 04-03-22
89-2057 F-16C Fighting Falcon
89-2102 F-16C Fighting Falcon

USAF 48FW / 495FS 'LN'
19-5474 F-35A Lightning II19-5474 LN F-35A Lakenheath 04-03-22
19-5475 F-35A Lightning II19-5475 LN F-35A Lakenheath 04-03-22
19-5476 F-35A Lightning II19-5476 LN F-35A Lakenheath 04-03-22
19-5484 F-35A Lightning II19-5484 LN48FW F-35A Lakenheath 04-03-22
19-5486 F-35A Lightning II19-5486 LN F-35A Lakenheath 04-03-22

Polish AF
1502 C-130E Hercules
1502 C-130E Lakenheath 04-03-22

We could only read 9 F-16s as the rain and wind won. Still require 88-0443 so maybe another try before they go.

At least we caught the F-35s returning, missed one as it landed whilst we were off AV hunting.

Mildenhall 04-03-22
USAF Visitors
57-2603 KC-135R Stratotanker - 452AMW 'March'
58-0018 KC-135R Stratotanker - 22ARW 'AMC'
61-2667/OF WC-135W Constant Phoenix - 55WG/45RS
62-4130/OF RC-135W Rivet Joint - 55WG/38RS
63-7992 KC-135R Stratotanker - 186ARW/153ARS
63-8000 KC-135R Stratotanker - 6ARW 'AMC'
79-1712 KC-10A Extender - 305AMW 'McGuire'
83-0075 KC-10A Extender - 60AMW 'Travis'
85-0032 KC-10A Extender - 305AMW 'McGuire'
98-0052 C-17A Globemaster III - 62AW 'McChord'
17-0007 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar17-0007 F-15QA Mildenhall 04-03-22
17-0018 F-15QA Eagle - FMS Qatar17-0018 F-15QA Mildenhall 04-03-22

N258SN Boeing 747 Western Global Airlines

Only the 2 Qatari's made it over, both landing after what light there was had all but gone.