The United States Navy used to call NAS Miramar in California “Fightertown USA”. Here in Great Britain we have a similar base, instead of Southern California we have Lincolnshire, the delights of San Diego are replaced by Sleaford and Lincoln. I give you Fightertown UK, RAF Coningsby.
In all seriousness, it’s the HQ of the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon force with the OCU (29Sqn) and OEU (17Sqn) based there, as well as 2 operational squadrons numbers 3 and 11 plus the Tornados of 41Sqn who provide a test role for the Tornado force. When I was there for the BBMF PDA displays it would have been rude not to capture some of the more modern hardware as well.
The imminent retirement of the Harrier had me looking through my old photos for shots of Harriers past. I am fortunate to have not only have my photos, but the slide collection of my (late) good friend David Goodall to call on. My apologies for the quality of some of the images, my ability with the camera and scanner is entirely to blame.
To begin at (almost) the beginning we have the Hawker P.1127
1. XP831 at The Science Museum after many years on display in the Camm hall at the RAF Museum, Hendon.
2. XP984 at RIAT 2003 RAF Fairford in the 100 Years of Aviation display, this is normally to be found at the Brooklands Museum at Weybridge.
As part of the retirement “celebrations” for the Harrier two aircraft have been painted with commemorative tails. Having deployed to Ark Royal a few days before they were due back on the 24th. A trip to Cottesmore (my last) was in order.
First launch of the day.
We can argue until were are blue in the face about the rights and wrongs about the decision to retire the Harrier fleet. What we cannot change, sadly, is the fact its going to happen.
So then, on the 2nd of Novermeber it was off to sunny(ish) Rutland then for a day at RAF Cottesmore “on the fence”. It would appear that the squadrons are attempting to “fly the ass off” the remaining aircraft, with multiple approaches and hover landings being the order of the day.