Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Flying from Anglesey

In recent months there have been talks about using RAF Valley for commercial flights. The Welsh Assembly has been looking for an airfield in the North of Wales and has aparaentl decided on RAF Valley. Despite much talking we do not appear to be much nearer than agreement in principle.

Today I decided to go down to RAF Valley to see the flying. I arrived to see a number of Hawk jet trainers taking off and landing. Suddenly, another aircraft spotter pointed to two Appache helicopters in the sky and approaching the airfield. I was surprised to see how large these aircraft were and how they posessed a radar dome above the rotor shaft.

There were four notable visiting aircraft which left whilst I was there. The first to leave was my favourite RAF aircraft, the Harrier. It took off in great style in the standard fashion (no vertical aspect to it). After some more Hawk comings and goings another trainer, this time not a jet, took off. It was a Tocano which, in comparison with the other take offs, appeared very slow indeed. But the next take off was by no less an aircraft that the new Typhoon, Eurofighter. It was a much louder sound that assailed our ears on this occasion. One of my colleagues remarked that the pilot was not using the after burners. However, the next aircraft, the Panavia Tornado was using its after burners. The sound was amazing as the aircraft blasted off over our heads.

It is now quite a few years since there was an open day at Valley. It must now be a thing of the past. I remember attending an open day in the 1970s in the last year that the Red Arrows flew Folland Gnats. The Arrows were fantastic, of course. On the farside of the airfield an exercise involving a helicopter and an Austin Mini provided entertainment when the helicopter dropped the car from a great height! Whilst I was there I noticed a sign referring to a non-existent static exhibit. It said the aircraft was an English Electric Lightning but aircraft there was none.

It was later in the week that a knock came at the door of our holiday bungalow. A young couple needed help after their car had been written off in an accident. The man was a serving RAF airman. As I drove them to make contact with family who were staying over in Benllech, he told me that the missing aircraft was six miles away in the Irish Sea where it had been ditched. The pilot had been unable to get the landing gear into position on approach to RAF Valley and had to eject.

For anyone interested in aircraft, a mid week hour or two down at Valley will always produce the goods. There is virtually no flying at weekends as it is a training establishment. During the week there is much flying to be seen with the inclusion of helicopters and various different visiting aircraft. the RAF also train pilots from other air forces so often you might a flight by one or two of these.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apaches - crikey! I was only there a couple of weeks ago...

Can you change the link to my blog - i've got a new domain (dropped the blogspot bit)



Sea Fishing and Walking in the UK

9:51 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home