The logistics for the day were a bit complex. Three of us from the office needed to get to a meeting in Wantage, one of us had to get to Turweston, a photographer had to be picked up in Blackbushe and the 182 needed picking up from Henstridge before an air-to-air shoot with a Cirrus SR22. Plenty of opportunity for it all to go wrong, but I'm happy to say that it all went right! We were on time for the meeting, and on time at Turweston.
I flew the SR22 with Nick Tarrat to Blackbushe where we loaded a photographer and made for Henstridge via an approach to the strip to check some of the terrain warning system (it worked). The 182, complete with fresh Annual was ready and waiting and while I filled the tanks with fuel (ouch), Oli took the SR22 ground shots on a convenient patch of grass. It wasn't long before we were joined by an Apache helicopter who'd popped in for what I assume was a bit of training. We then did the air-to-air, and right on cue up popped a nice blue hole with some great light. Nick was flying the SR22 while I flew the 182 with Oli on board.
One of the biggest variables when it comes to air-to-air photography is the ability of the formation pilot. I'm not just talking about safety (which comes first, second, third and fourth in terms of priority) but about the ability to listen, to put the aircraft in the right position, and generally to work as part of the team. Nick was just brilliant, and the shoot went without a hitch. I took Oli back to Blackbushe (which had closed) and then took the 182 back to the strip enjoying the silky smooth air and the late evening sunlight.
Simple Pleasures : The Dawn Raid
4 months ago