Plus Ca Change

Prompted by an F-something-or-other (*1) screaming overhead and out into the North Sea, I was reminded of recent Norwegian and Dutch colleagues mentioning that Russian “reconnaissance” intrusions into northern NATO controlled airspace were happening again – just like the old cold-war days. Fylingdales isn’t what it used to be, but we didn’t have Google then.

This whacky right-wing US site has a collation of reported sightings. Ironically, the Chamorro Bible site is also a plane-spotter’s dream. (Chamorro is hard to navigate, everything is by date, and the links don’t convey the wealth of images they contain – Example Feb 2007 contains some excellent F14 sunset shots, including the “Green Sunset” …. you just have to browse the massive hi-quality collection – every subject under the sun – weather, wildlife, geography, geo-physical events, natural-disasters, relief-aid, hardware – photographed from US military and Nasa platforms.)

Same old TU95 Bear’s but this interceptor here is an F22 Raptor.

(More arty shots as well as this one
– with sunsets and moon backdrops –
in the linked Chamorro collection.)

(*1) At one time my visual acuity and general plane-spotting-geekiness meant I could spot just about any model at any altitude, but sadly the eyesight and knowledge of post-80’s aircraft ain’t what they used to be. (This one was twin-tail-fin, twin-engine, low-fuselage-side-intakes, high-swept / tapered wing, high-forward-fuselage and bubble-canopy, didn’t notice whether tail-planes or forward-canard / extensions, didn’t sound all that heavy – say like an F15 Eagle, or even more like an F18 Hornet, MiG29 Fulcrum or Su27 Flanker 😉 – can’t imagine what any are doing serving over North Yorks – maybe an air-show display visit, or a newer model I don’t recognise ? Not an F14 Tomcat or an F35 JSF / Lightning III(*2) or an F22 Raptor so far as I could tell, none have that “hunched” forward fuselage look.)

(*2) refuse to call it Lightning II since there have already been (at least) two. P38 Lightning and BAC F1/F3/F6/F53 Lightning. BTW this on-line Flight International archive, Flight Global has a great collection of those cutaways – some poster sized with amazing detail – right from 1903 to 2006 (!)

[Post Note June 2013 – Seems the only the active USAF bases in the UK are Mildenhall (Tankers, EWACS and Transports) and Lakenheath (F15’s) – no F22’s or F35’s – so in fact F15 is the reasonable conclusion, seen a few more since.]

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