Plane-spotting in comfort

tomorton

Legendary member
Interesting old flying Jeep.

GAXHR, just W of Southend is G-AXHR, a Piper J-3C-65 Cub. This was widely used as a recconnaissance / spotter aircraft by US forces in WWII. Its an unusual aircraft in that it was designed for the lowest speed possible so it could do this job - its stalling speed is only 38mph! This one was built in 1943. It saw service in North Africa (despite the D-Day markings) and then in the Netherlands until 1948. It came to live in the UK in 1969.

1594993473143.png


Everybody's flying this afternoon.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Not special but could they be lost?

DCT03 - Currently N of Milton Keynes and making NE is a Sea Fisheries Inspectorate patrol aircraft, Reims-Cessna F406 Caravan II, G-MAFB. Maybe its just me but I kind of expected then to be based near the coast and flying over the sea......

1595329778278.png
 

trendie

Legendary member
I just tried that flightradar thing and didnt identify the aircraft I just saw.

I just watched 2 grey helicopters, I guess Sikorsky mid-size, fly past between my home and the Wrekin.
Grey seems a navy thing.
Flightradar24.com showed helicopter icon, but showed as "N/A" on all info.

EDIT: looking at RN naval aviation site, I think they were Merlin HMs. Closest match I can make.
 
Last edited:

tomorton

Legendary member
I just tried that flightradar thing and didnt identify the aircraft I just saw.

I just watched 2 grey helicopters, I guess Sikorsky mid-size, fly past between my home and the Wrekin.
Grey seems a navy thing.
Flightradar24.com showed helicopter icon, but showed as "N/A" on all info.


Must be military. Not many front-line combat aircraft show up - transports, air tankers, trainers, sometimes Chinooks and Merlins.

Course, they might not even be Brit military helicopters, the US have choppers here permanently and other powers send theirs over for exercises etc. (all allies I hasten to add!).
 
Last edited:

trendie

Legendary member
Must be military. Not many front-line combat aircraft show up - transports, air tankers, trainers, sometimes Chinooks and Merlins.

Course, they might not even by Brit military helicopters, the US have choppers here permanently and other powers send theirs over for exercises etc. (all allies I hasten to add!).

I never considered non-UK!
Military ones always seem to fly by in pairs. Bit too overcast here for me to get a decent photo.
 

chartmans

Newbie
With the world on lockdown, this is a difficult time to be an aviation enthusiast. Heading out to visit airports or go on flying trips is, for the time being, all on hold and we’re forced to stay in the house. Thankfully there are options and, even though many airlines are temporarily grounding their aircraft, there are still plenty flying around – particularly cargo, charter, and positioning flights. The most famous flight tracker out there. Flightradar24 is available both on the web and as an Android and iPhone app.
 

trendie

Legendary member
With the world on lockdown, this is a difficult time to be an aviation enthusiast. Heading out to visit airports or go on flying trips is, for the time being, all on hold and we’re forced to stay in the house. Thankfully there are options and, even though many airlines are temporarily grounding their aircraft, there are still plenty flying around – particularly cargo, charter, and positioning flights. The most famous flight tracker out there. Flightradar24 is available both on the web and as an Android and iPhone app.
Isnt that the weirdest thing, though?
You are more at risk in enclosed spaces breathing other peoples air.
You would have thought being out in the open, with the breeze diluting your breath, would be the safest place. Safer, healthier, and better for the soul, to be out with the elements, and getting exercise.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Beluga Day!

Busy day at Hawarden/Chester - 2 Belugas on the plot, one just landing from Hamburg, the other just departed back towards Hamburg.

The outward-bound aircraft is F-GSTB, showing on FR24 as BGA143B, currently 21,000ft approaching Sheffield - if its a clear day up north (if ever!) you'll recognise it from the ground with even cheap binocs.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Nice reg.

Haven't ha dmuch to report lately, and this is a type previously seen. Still, the guy's got a nice registration for himself.

GTEXN is G-TEXN, a Texan. Just overhead Portsmouth. Its a North American AT-6G Texan, and looks a very pristine example. This particular plane has a very full history at https://www.t6harvard.com/uk-harvards/1295-2/. It seems to have been built in WW2 as an AT-6D. Until recently it was role-playing an RAF Harvard, as we called it, so its had a really nice recent paint job.

1596802373818.png
 

tomorton

Legendary member
New immigration control tactic?

A fairly common RAF type on FR24, RRR4998, an Airbus A400M, ZM413 from Brize Norton, but this one is cruising up and down the Channel between Folkestone and Ramsgate at 450'.

1597048659935.png


I know the Home Office had asked the Navy to assist in border control, but it seems the RAF got the call too. Its an odd choice for this work - even Airbus themselves say this aircraft has just 3 defined roles - tactical airlift, strategic airlift and air-to-air re-fuelling. Maritime patrol, recconnaissance, air-sea rescue, airborne observation etc. are not amongst its capabilities. Maybe owing to lack of windows, an obvious disadvantage in a patrol aircraft........

Its hard to imagine the cost of keeping this aircraft milling up and down the Channel trying hard to do a job it can't do well. It left its base at 0711. WTF are we doing?
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Channel update - there are no low-level patrols over the Channel this morning. I guess the A400 flight was just a publicity stunt to coincide with Priti Patels's visit to Dover. On the other hand, an A400 at 450ft is highly visible and very loud, so it would look to migrants on the shore in France like we're actually doing something: maybe a slight deterrent effect. But if its a good deterrent, why hasn't something similar been done before? And why not today as well?..........
 

barjon

Legendary member
Tomo,
I’ve been trying hard to find something in the sky that I can report to your thread, but the best I can up with is a light aircraft engaging in aerobatics over Goring-on-Thames this morning!
One thing that really strikes me from your reports is the many years a lot of the aircraft have under their belts. A far cry from the built in obsolescence of our motor cars.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Got another Spit!

This is GLFIX, G-LFIX, a two-seater Spit trainer, a MkIXT, currently appr. 10 mi N of Northampton.

1597238065121.png


Beautiful paint-job and image and there's a nice history on this one from flyinglegends.com.

The Grace Spitfire ML407 was originally built at Castle Bromwich in early 1944 as a single seat fighter and served in the front line of battle throughout the last twelve months of World War II. ML407 flew a total of 176 operational combat sorties amassing an impressive total of 319 combat hours. Flying Officer Johnnie Houlton DFC who was accredited, whilst flying ML407, with the first enemy aircraft shot down over the Normandy beachhead on 6th June D-Day. ML407 was converted in 1950 to the two seat configuration for the Irish Air Corps as an advanced trainer. Design Engineer Nick Grace acquired ML407 in late 1979 from the Strathallan Museum and spent five years meticulously restoring the Spitfire to flying condition. After Nick Graces untimely death in a car accident Carolyn Grace took up the gauntlet of keeping this aircraft flying and now the next generation, being Richard Grace is not only maintaining the aircraft but is flying the aircraft just as his late father had done.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
How sad is this pandemic lockdown.

This morning I correctly identified an Airbus A-400 overhead Exeter from its engine sound alone. He was at 31,750ft! I really should get out more.....
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Russian retro.

Late Friday feature is GCDJJ, G-CDJJ, a Yakovlev Yak-52, just pottering about NW of Oxford.

1597427378971.png


Like the North American T6 Texan ("Harvard" in British service), this is a two-seat military trainer, and the Yak-52 very much resembles the US design. However, the Texan dates from 1935, the Yak from 1976! Not much progress with trainer design thinking in the old Soviet Russia it seems.

I bet that red sheeting doesn't help with visibility though........
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Helicopter rotates between services

Charmingly designated JUNGLY50 is a Westland EH101 Merlin HC3 currently operating over the Somerset Levels. Its not a very interesting type but this model, ZJ124, appears in photos in both RAF and Royal Navy colours.

RAF -
1597668547047.png


RN -
1597668853164.png


It seems to have gone from the RAF to the Navy and probably operates now from RNAS Yeovilton. Actually, in 2012, some RAF Merlins began to be transferred to the Royal Navy for use by the Commando Helicopter Force based there.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
This was a live spot yesterday down here, not on FR24 but actually overhead Exeter yesterday afternoon.

1597927422993.png


This is a Spitfire MkIX, PL983, registered as G-PRXI. They've been touring most parts of the country following the pandemic crisis. The vivid blue shows the aircraft in its WWII photo-reconnaissance colours, a horribly dangerous low-level task in an unarmed sole aircraft. What a beautiful sight.
 
 
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

But it's thanks to our sponsors that access to Trade2Win remains free for all. By viewing our ads you help us pay our bills, so please support the site and disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks