Well finally made it, lockdown restrictions have eased a bit, and slowly freedom is coming our way, for how long, who knows.
Well its a trip to Suffolk, to RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath to see what is accruing amongst the aviation community, plenty of fence line rumors’ to keep you busy, some came to light others was just rumors’.
So off on the chase for 3 days hoping to catch what was expected and it all started at the beginning of the week with the first wave of USMC , F-35Bs due in late, infact they appeared on the approach to Lakenheath, on runway 09 at 20-15pm, 1 hour late just as the sun went down, so it was high iso and hope for the best. The F-35Bs were from VMFA-211 (Wake Island Avengers) this particular unit was here in the UK 6 months ago working with F-35s of the RAF.
With speculation that the next 5 F-35s will be hear 24 hours later, as the KC-135R refueling tanker had snags in the states, it didn’t materialize as it slipped another 24 hours and by then this wave were going to touchdown 21-30 hours ,to dark for photos’ so I gave it a miss.
So the rumors go on, the latest was instead of the F-35Bs coming on the Tuesday it was a pair of F-35As from the 158th wing Vermont ANG (Air National Guard), the original talk was this pair were going to Spangdalem in Germany, so much for fence talk. They also arrived late so I decided to use my 2.8 200mm lens and crop the image in post processing, at least it gave me an extra 2 stops of light which I needed, this pair came in on runway 24 and they were landing in front of me, whilst on top of a ladder to avoid the fence getting in the way, a faster shutter speed with higher ISO meant the images were sharp.
In between all that I flitted in between Mildenhall and Lakenheath for the 3 days hoping to catch some of the locals flying around and with a bit of luck some of the Tankers that bought the F-35s across, managed to get the one tanker that departed Mildenhall, call sign Gold 72. and I was able to photograph USAF transport in and out of Lakenheath during my time there. Had a good few days at the bases chasing rumors, some came off, others I will have to wait another day.