Plane-spotting in comfort

tomorton

Legendary member
Another Spit!

This is a beautifully turned out two-seater, GAWGB, G-AWGB, just crossing the coast near Folkestone, Battle of Britain territory.

1598449715763.png


I believe this is a Castle Bromwich 1945-built Mk.IXTr trainer, operated by Warbird Experiences Ltd out of Biggin Hill but only since the 14th of this month!

The unusual markings are Royal Australian Air Force 457 'Grey Nurse' Squadron. The aircraft previously flew with the Irish Air Corps.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Lovey afternoon down here.

Lucky enough to catch a distant view of G-ILDA, the Spitfire Mk.IX trainer featured previously. What a beautiful sound!
 

StonyB

Junior member
Vickers Spitfire IX, G-AWGB (the same as two posts ago) just flew over me here on the Sussex coast as it turned Eastwards for a flypast of the Seven Sisters (chalk cliffs) and Beachy Head, Eastbourne, sadly coinciding with a band of rain passing through.

Cuckmere Haven & Seven Sisters.jpg


FR24 tends to lose the signal of planes flying past the cliffs but I see it's now on its way back to Biggin Hill.

~
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Finally, an interesting civil jet aircraft.

This is N-120RB, currently eastward at low altitude over Bedford. Its a Cirrus Vision SF50 G2. This is a US design from the early 2000's, only in service since 2016, very light weight. The idea was to produce an affordable jet version of all the Cessna's and Pipers out there in the private flier market., as well as having light corporate transport application. Very low fuel consumption is an attractive feature, and the presence of a whole-aircraft parachute system. Just in case you run out of fuel I suppose.

1599149542988.png



An unusual plastic design with another aircraft's nose, the wrong tail, and the engine where it shouldn't be.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
Unusual type in unusual service.

We're all used to seeing Police helicopters overhead, but Police aeroplanes?......

UKP153 on FR24 is G-POLX, just circling over Rugby. Its a Vulcanair P-68R operated by the NPAS, the National Police Air Service (UK). They actually operate 4 of these from Doncaster Sheffield Airport, only since March I believe. The chances of seeing one are slim: but maybe the chances of being seen by one are a bit better......

1599487578147.png
 

StonyB

Junior member
Spitfire G-FLIX (as in Aug 12th entry above) currently flying past Beachy Head (chalk cliff) near Eastbourne:

Beachy Head.jpg


Followed just a few minutes later by Spitfire G-AWGB flying out of Biggin Hill
 
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tomorton

Legendary member
Spitfire G-FLIX (as in Aug 12th entry above) currently flying past Beachy Head (chalk cliff) near Eastbourne:

View attachment 287489

Followed just a few minutes later by Spitfire G-AWGB flying out of Biggin Hill

Excellent good luck! I caught a distant glimpse of G-ILDA (I assume, as its operating from Exeter lately) this afternoon over the Exe - recognised the sound before it came in view over some property. Great weather for this game.
 

StonyB

Junior member
Spits coming thick and fast again this afternoon. G-AWGB Vickers Spitfire IX (as yesterday) doing a Beachy Head flypast a few minutes ago, now on its way back to Biggin, followed just now by G-CICK Spitfire Mk T IX flying directly over me, now on its way back to Goodwood Aerodrome, Chichester (WWII RAF Westhampnett as was.)

I'm lucky being close to the Downs (hills) about three miles away from the Aircraft Navigation Beacon on Seaford Head (lying directly under the London to Paris route) which is used by many planes as a focal point to aim for when in transit to the coast.

To be honest it isn't unusual to see Spitfires here on the Sussex coast as the Seven Sisters/Beachy Head cliffs are an attractive alternative to Dover and it isn't unusual during the summer months, weather permitting, to have one, two, or even three passing over in one day. The growling sound of the Merlin or Griffon engines becomes very familiar and easy to recognise. I imagine most of the two-seater planes are pleasure flights for which the passenger has paid handsomely.

I nearly posted about a Harvard on a Dover flypast at the same time as a Spitfire, G-CIST I think, on a Beachy Heady flypast a few days ago but both suddenly disappeared from FR24. That isn't unusual when they fly low near the cliffs, when presumably the signal is lost, but unusual for them not to reappear afterwards.

Here's G-CICK :

Spitfire G-CICK.jpg


~
PS: Regarding the Police plane, the Vulcanaire P-68R that Tomorton posted the other day, I only started noticing this type of plane, not necessarily Police ones, locally on FR24 a few weeks ago, once making multiple parallel passes inland across coastal Sussex as in surveying/mapping work and once doing a series of strange manoeuvres over the sea off Shoreham, West Sussex, when I wondered what it was doing. Too far West for anti-immigration work, looking for incoming dinghies, but it was around the time that those movements were peaking so perhaps it was practising in case it was commissioned.
~
 
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tomorton

Legendary member
Spits coming thick and fast again this afternoon. G-AWGB Vickers Spitfire IX (as yesterday) doing a Beachy Head flypast a few minutes ago, now on its way back to Biggin, followed just now by G-CICK Spitfire Mk T IX flying directly over me, now on its way back to Goodwood Aerodrome, Chichester (WWII RAF Westhampnett as was.)

I'm lucky being close to the Downs (hills) about three miles away from the Aircraft Navigation Beacon on Seaford Head (lying directly under the London to Paris route) which is used by many planes as a focal point to aim for when in transit to the coast.

To be honest it isn't unusual to see Spitfires here on the Sussex coast as the Seven Sisters/Beachy Head cliffs are an attractive alternative to Dover and it isn't unusual during the summer months, weather permitting, to have one, two, or even three passing over in one day. The growling sound of the Merlin or Griffon engines becomes very familiar and easy to recognise. I imagine most of the two-seater planes are pleasure flights for which the passenger has paid handsomely.

I nearly posted about a Harvard on a Dover flypast at the same time as a Spitfire, G-CIST I think, on a Beachy Heady flypast a few days ago but both suddenly disappeared from FR24. That isn't unusual when they fly low near the cliffs, when presumably the signal is lost, but unusual for them not to reappear afterwards.

Here's G-CICK :

View attachment 287612

~
PS: Regarding the Police plane, the Vulcanaire P-68R that Tomorton posted the other day, I only started noticing this type of plane, not necessarily Police ones, locally on FR24 a few weeks ago, once making multiple parallel passes inland across coastal Sussex as in surveying/mapping work and once doing a series of strange manoeuvres over the sea off Shoreham, West Sussex, when I wondered what it was doing. Too far West for anti-immigration work, looking for incoming dinghies, but it was around the time that those movements were peaking so perhaps it was practising in case it was commissioned.
~


Some good spots, nice work! Spitfire engines sing.

There's quite a lot of "ploughing" up and down by survey aircraft on FR24 in good weather. I assume that much of their work is photographic. Its very hard to understand why they might spend hours ploughing up and down over narrow corridors of English counties but they'll be visible any fair day. Usually we're talking a narrow range of types. Anyone any ideas what they're doing?
 

StonyB

Junior member
Spitfire G-CICK came back again about 45 mins ago before flying back to Goodwood after a detour down to Selsea. Looks like those trips cost around £5000 per flight. Not certain it'll be the same company but here's an example:

https://www.boultbeeflightacademy.co.uk/spitfire-flights-goodwood

Meanwhile, Spitfire G-FLIX , down from Northampton, went over about 20 mins ago, on its way to Beachy Head, before appearing to head towards France (presumably when the signal was lost but FR24 kept it going) and then disappearing from FR24 entirely. No, actually it's reappeared, now flying back home via Guildford. and Camberley.

https://www.flightradar24.com/GLFIX/2574367b

~

In future I think I'll only post these local Spitfire sightings if I notice any different ones, as it could all get bit repetitive!
 
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StonyB

Junior member
Further to my earlier posts about Spitfires flying from Goodwood (RAF Westhampnett) to Beachy Head, there was in fact a wartime RAF airfield, RAF Friston, on the top of the Seven Sisters cliffs where up to 1500 personnel were based, mostly living in tents - a bit chilly on the top of the cliff during winter gales. You can still make out where the airfield - two grass landing strips - was: https://goo.gl/maps/CBnrQ8KEh5ojvvNi6 I imagine landing on the top of the cliff must have been a bit iffy if you were limping back with a damaged aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Friston

https://www.blighty-at-war.net/raf-friston.html

You can see the sort of tents they lived in in one of these photos of the Polish 308 Squadron:

http://www.polishsquadronsremembered.com/308/308_pic_gal.html

~

Regarding Goodwood Aerodrome, the perimeter road of RAF Westhampnett later formed the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit, where Stirling Moss had his accident:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Westhampnett

The most amazing piece of flying there, outside wartime, probably came in 1998 when Ray Hanna flew his Spitfire down the Start-Finish straight at Goodwood, below the height of the stands, which, if you haven't seen it, is here:


The other rather 'interesting' low pass that Ray had become known for, two years before, was this one:

(I only posted links here but for some reason they've been converted by T2W to embedded videos, with this one disabled unless you click on the link within it to enable you to watch it on YouTube (as originally intended!))


The closest I've come to that experience was when I was too late to get through the traffic to the Eastbourne Airbourne seaside airshow about twenty years ago so watched incoming planes from the peak of one of the undulations in the Seven Sisters' cliffs instead. As I did so one of the Red Arrows' Hawk jets zoomed past me, just below me in the dip between me and the next peak, heading out to sea to re-form with the others. I remember looking across and down into the cockpit. A bit like this, only lower and with no crowd, just a few walkers:


Since Shoreham the air displays at the Goodwood Revival have been almost completely curtailed but in 2015 we did have 11 Spitfires and a Hurricane flying past:

https://www.goodwood.com/grr/event-...spitfires-and-hurricanes-flypast-at-goodwood/

End of digression!

~
 
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tomorton

Legendary member
Further to my earlier posts about Spitfires flying from Goodwood (RAF Westhampnett) to Beachy Head, there was in fact a wartime RAF airfield, RAF Friston, on the top of the Seven Sisters cliffs where up to 1500 personnel were based, mostly living in tents - a bit chilly on the top of the cliff during winter gales. You can still make out where the airfield - two grass landing strips - was: https://goo.gl/maps/CBnrQ8KEh5ojvvNi6 I imagine landing on the top of the cliff must have been a bit iffy if you were limping back with a damaged aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Friston

https://www.blighty-at-war.net/raf-friston.html

You can see the sort of tents they lived in in one of these photos of the Polish 308 Squadron:

http://www.polishsquadronsremembered.com/308/308_pic_gal.html

~

Regarding Goodwood Aerodrome, the perimeter road of RAF Westhampnett later formed the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit, where Stirling Moss had his accident:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Westhampnett

The most amazing piece of flying there, outside wartime, probably came in 1998 when Ray Hanna flew his Spitfire down the Start-Finish straight at Goodwood, below the height of the stands, which, if you haven't seen it, is here:


The other rather 'interesting' low pass that Ray had become known for, two years before, was this one:

(I only posted links here but for some reason they've been converted by T2W to embedded videos, with this one disabled unless you click on the link within it to enable you to watch it on YouTube (as originally intended!))


The closest I've come to that experience was when I was too late to get through the traffic to the Eastbourne Airbourne seaside airshow about twenty years ago so watched incoming planes from the peak of one of the undulations in the Seven Sisters' cliffs instead. As I did so one of the Red Arrows' Hawk jets zoomed past me, just below me in the dip between me and the next peak, heading out to sea to re-form with the others. I remember looking across and down into the cockpit. A bit like this, only lower and with no crowd, just a few walkers:


Since Shoreham the air displays at the Goodwood Revival have been almost completely curtailed but in 2105 we did have 11 Spitfires and a Hurricane flying past:

https://www.goodwood.com/grr/event-...spitfires-and-hurricanes-flypast-at-goodwood/

End of digression!

~


Nice bit of historical work.
 

tomorton

Legendary member
A wannabe Spitfire?

Strange choice of paintjob but if it fulfils someone's harmless fantasy, what the heck.

GBHZT is G-BHZT, a Scottish Series 120 Model 1210 flying from Kemble near Gloucester. Currently perhaps on combat air patrol in case of Luftwaffe sneak attacks near Cirencester.

1600156756621.png
 

trendie

Legendary member
A wannabe Spitfire?

Strange choice of paintjob but if it fulfils someone's harmless fantasy, what the heck.

GBHZT is G-BHZT, a Scottish Series 120 Model 1210 flying from Kemble near Gloucester. Currently perhaps on combat air patrol in case of Luftwaffe sneak attacks near Cirencester.

View attachment 287834
Thats funny!
Looks like a Dads Air Force sitcom in the making.
If you get caught by those damned Fokkers, don't tell 'em your name, Tomorton!
 

StonyB

Junior member
G-ILDA seems to have been all over the place recently, in East Sussex and Kent a couple of days ago, flying out of Lydd for Dover. Now back at Goodwood and, not long ago, off the Isle of Wight, so presumably on a Needles run. G-AWGB was near Dover earlier but now seems to be tootling around near Biggin.

We sometimes get aerobatic planes practising over the Downs near here and I noticed several over the South, here and there, over the weekend including a wingwalking biplane - not one of the usual 'super-aerobatics' ones - heading towards Kent.

On Friday I noticed (on FR24) several autogyro/gyrocopters flying around - more than usual - including one two-seater flying all the way down from Shropshire to the Isle-of-Wight. A quick Google uncovered a weekend autogyro/gyrocopter get-together, a 'Fly-In', at Sandown on the I-o-W:

https://www.flyer.co.uk/sandown-fly-in-isle-of-wight/
 
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tomorton

Legendary member
One thing I can't quite sort out is which aircraft have / don't have transponders which FR24 picks up. Some you would think should have don't have, some you would think shouldn't have do have. Unless its a website glitch...
 

StonyB

Junior member
One thing I can't quite sort out is which aircraft have / don't have transponders which FR24 picks up. Some you would think should have don't have, some you would think shouldn't have do have. Unless its a website glitch...

Despite recent appearances (!) I'm not a regular planespotter and only usually look at FR24 to see what plane has just flown by, particularly if it has an unusual engine sound. (That usually means Spitfires, Pilatus variants, Piaggio Avanti's (quiet for passengers but flying lawnmowers from the ground), or the whines of aerobatic manoeuvres.) So, I can't claim to be knowledgeable about FR24, other than from casual reading about receiver types on their blog:

https://www.flightradar24.com/blog/

https://www.flightradar24.com/blog/category/inside-flightradar24/

It might be my imagination but I seem to have noticed more planes 'disappearing' from FR24 over recent months than I used to.

I can imagine the signal being lost or intermittent in poor weather conditions, if flying low or close to hilly terrain, if flying past cliffs, or if other signals are interfering with them, but that's just my amateur guesswork. With some of the older planes I sometimes wonder if the engines can interfere with transmission. Another thought that's crossed my mind is that pilots might occasionally turn off transponders to conceal the fact that they're flying either lower or closer to somewhere that they shouldn't be, and then forget to switch them back on again. (But on sober reflection I wouldn't have thought they would risk doing that, for all sorts of safety and licencing reasons, even if it's possible.)

As you say, it's hard to figure out which planes need transponders - I would've thought all of them! - and which don't. When I noticed those autogyros heading towards Sandown last Friday they must have had transponders working, when in transit, to have been picked up by FR24 at all, but once on the I-o-W they didn't show up so perhaps there was no requirement to use them if flying at low altitude over a defined area.

Military aircraft don't usually use the type of transponder that can be picked up by FR24 (or perhaps they can but are filtered out using some sort of identifier) but I've noticed that they do sometimes choose to switch on a 'civilian' type of transponder to make themselves visible. 'Military' flights of the exec jet variety, as used by VIPs, seem to choose whether to make themselves visible or not when close to some locations, presumably for security/safety reasons.

Occasionally, usually very late at night, I hear a low drone overhead that usually turns out to be a C-130 Hercules or an A400M flying into Brize Norton from somewhere like Cyprus. To identify those I usually use ADS-B Exchange, clicking on the 'U' button (top right) to eliminate all but military flights:

https://globe.adsbexchange.com/

~
 
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