Plane-spotting in comfort

tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Not a very rare aircraft but an unusual flight track.

This is GTI8026, and Atlas Air / US transportation Command cargo Boeing 747-47U(F), N493MC passing over Hampshire eastwards, from Wrightstown Air Force Base, USA, to Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany. Flight track brought it in from the Atlantic over Somerset, then off in a huge oblong diversion south to the Channel, W to the Scillies, then N again and back E again over the Bristol Channel. An exceptionally wide holding pattern if UK or German air space was busy. What the heck?
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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
After the bad weather - we've had some sharp rain and thunder storms over southern England the last couple of days but now there's a little improvement - look at this! - another Spitfire two-seater!

GCOCK - This is G-CICK, west-bound over Kent (real Battle of Britain territory). The plane is another TR9, like G-ILDA.It flies out of Duxford. It was originally built as a front line fighter but was later converted into the training version with tandem seating, after it had been recovered to the UK from a D-Day museum in Normandy. This is a genuine veteran Spit, having conducted operational service from airfields in Normandy soon after D-Day and downed two Bf-109's before being lost to a Fw-190.

A true veteran, an imaginative re-design and a new life for the old bird.

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Oscar Reed

Senior member
2,271 668
Not seen a plane in the Gold Coast sky for about 2 months.
There was a music concert on the runaway.
Normally a plane lands every 15 mins.
 
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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Home-built.

GBFRB - G-BFRB, a Rutan LongEZ having a lovely Sunday afternoon jaunt NW over Wiltshire from Portsmouth. This is a home-build project aircraft, pretty design, featuring a canard layout rather than conventional central tail assembly. They are designed specifically for very low fuel consumption and have extremely long range. This one appears to be flying on the tail of G-LASR, a Glasair-II, also a home-built kit aircraft.

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What a charming way to spend an afternoon.
 
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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Interesting visitor from the east.

I don't normally check the night radar screen as the sky is so quiet over the UK, but I would have missed this -

VDA3556 - Eastward-bound now just off Suffolk coast, bound for Almaty from Stansted - a Russian Ilyushin IL76-90VD, RA-76951. very big, very old Russian Cold War design. What a beast, what an ugly beast. This is the modernised version! These were the main transport aircraft for Russian troops and supplies into and out of Afghanistan during their occupation years there. 960 were built, 80 have crashed.

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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Ciao ragazzi!

GCIAO - G-CIAO - Currently S over south Warwickshire. Great registration for an unusual Italian design. This is a 3I Sky Arrow, a very lightweight tandem two-seater featuring a pusher propeller layout. Probably as near as you can get to a flying motor bike as regulations will allow. Very sweet, not expensive.

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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Special prize announcement.

10 points to whoever spots the new Prime Ministerial aircraft first on Flightradar24!

I believe it is ZZ336, an RAF Airbus A330. Recently re-painted at Cambridge Airport but I don't know its home base yet.

50 points if you see it in person and can get your own photo!
 

tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Welcome to an Irish delegation.

IRL280- Heading SE approaching Birmingham is an Irish Air Corps Pilatus PC-12/47E, registration 280, en route from near Naas towards London. Maybe a diplomatic mission, maybe military delegation to meet the UK's brass. Nice Swiss-designed aircraft, only in service with the IAC since April (second-hand, re-conditioned in the US), though they have 3 others I believe.

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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Lost or what?

GSHMB - Cruising up and down the coast off south Wales is a rare bird - G-SHMB, an Aero Vodochody L-39ZA. This is a Czech jet fighter that seems to have acquired a UK registration so presumably de-commissioned and in private hands. No photo of this aircraft but this is an image of the type -

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Maybe its part of the soon to be announced Welsh Air Force? Fortunately for defence of the citizens of Wales, this type carries a 23mm twin-barrelled cannon and a range of air-to-air missiles. They were last constructed in 1996. I'm wondering if someone has bought this instead of a Harley in a mid-life crisis.....
 

tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Signs of another private Air force?.......

HBFXF - This is a fairly common corporate minibus, HB-FXF, a Pilatus PC-12/47E, currently just N of Cambridge, the sort of flier not normally active on a Sunday. But the paint job is also unusual - a wannabe war-bird? -

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Somebody seems to be indulging their passion for military flying, or maybe they're just obsessed with the film "633 Squadron".

The PC12 is an adaptable and popular transport around the world, able to operate from airfields too rough for other types. Swiss design, so naturally has a service ceiling capable of negotiating the Alps, 30,000ft.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Queen's Flight.

NOH99 - Circling Norwich airport, a BAe HS146, it is ZE701, a 146 of the Queen's Flight. This is the 146-100 Statesman model. They don't just carry the Queen, but they do carry a certain range of defensive equipment - the RAF and Royal household don't go into details, just don't get too close.

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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Got another Spit!

GPRXI - This is G-PRXI, currently just S of Cambridge, a Spitfire PR Mk.XI, marked up as PL983. The Spitfire was developed as high speed fighters designed as bomber interceptors, but the PR versions flew with their guns stripped out and replaced by cameras and extra fuel tanks. They were used to get photos of highly sensitive (and therefore well defended) enemy locations, and the work was very high risk.

They were also the fasted British aircraft of the mid-war years and a Mk.XI achieved an incredible 606mph in a 45 degree dive.


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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Not rare, but a bit unusual.

Contact GAREL, just S of Reading is G-AREL, a 1950's / early 60's Piper PA-22-150 Caribbean, sometimes called a Tri-Pacer. This looks just like a standard Piper or any old high-wing 4-seater monoplane, but this model has tricycle undercarriage. This gives somewhat better abilities on rough landing fields and improved forward vision when taxiing.

An interesting layout, but dare I say it never really "took off"?

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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Here's another Plane-spotting in comfort competition - 50 points for who spots this one,
the most beautiful airplane in the world? -

G-IRTY - The Silver Spitfire. This is the 1943 Mk.IX which has been restored and painted all-silver. It completed a round-the-world trip in 2019. As a hint, I believe its based at Goodwood......

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tomorton

Legendary member
8,056 1,181
Charming, cheap and cheery.

GECKB - Just W of Southampton, is G-ECKB, a Just Escapade 912. This is an early 2000's US/British design, most of the UK registrations being built in Salisbury. It has a delightful retro look and is apparently very gentle to fly (currently managing all of 41 knots!), and requires a take-off run of only 92 metres.

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