Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby ErikNZ on Thu 26 Oct 2017, 9:59 am

In September 2017, 145 Squadron of the Singapore Air Force conducted a training deployment to Ohakea RNZAF with six F-16D Block 52+ vipers.
Based at Changi, 145 SQ "Hornet" is unique in that the squadron exclusively operates the two-seat F-16D-52+ rather than a mixture of C/D aircraft.
The aircraft arrived on 30 August, supported by two Singapore Air Force C-130Hs (732 and 735) and a KC-135R operating from RAAF Amberley.

The deployment was described by the Singapore Air Force as a feasibility study for basing a permanent F-15SG training detachment at Ohakea.
The aircraft were 662, 666, 668, 675, 676 and 677 and operated from the old 3 Squadron hangar and platform while at Ohakea.
Despite the rubbish weather, the Singaporeans were very active. It was not unusual to see all six aircraft partake in a single sortie and they mostly flew two sorties per day.

All six F-16s departed again on 25 September, with the same support setup as before albeit with C-130H 730 instead of 735.


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ErikNZ

Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby JJC on Thu 26 Oct 2017, 3:44 pm

Fascinating photos of some rare birds - great to see! The D's with the spines and CFTs look great. A few of them sure do look battered and well-used.

I imagine this is something of a rarity for NZ? Have relatives near that area - if a training detachment did come to fruition, I'd certainly expedite my trip out there. :grin:

Thanks for posting!

JJC
''Time to dive into the fireworks!''
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Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby Red Dragon on Thu 26 Oct 2017, 7:36 pm

I paid a brief visit there in 2011, and the things I remember most about Ohakea is the fact it was so remote and windswept! I got no where as hear as you did for these photos. A wonderful set, thanks for sharing :smile:
Rik Mayall (07/03/1958 – 09/06/2014) RIP
Robin Williams (21/08/1951 – 11/08/2014) RIP
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Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby ErikNZ on Thu 26 Oct 2017, 9:54 pm

Thanks for the kind comments! Yes, the deployment was very special, it certainly isn't something you see every day here in NZ.
For most of the duration of the deployment, the weather was absolutely horrific. If it wasn't raining or foggy, it was extremely grey at best. I had to make several trips up to Ohakea to finally strike gold on a Friday morning when the sun came out and stayed out. They only flew one morning mission that day but it was with all six aircraft so I counted myself extremely lucky.

All these shots were taken from outside of Ohakea Air Base. If you find yourself near Ohakea, just go down to Frecklington Road. That's where I took the shots.
Sadly the RNZAF decided to go with the times and place a big NATO-style fence here with barbed wire and all. In previous years it was just a little wooden face at waist height. So you will need to bring a step ladder (or borrow/buy one when you're downhere). There is a single fence pole that you can use to stand on if you do not bring a ladder but you'll rarely be the only one present so it's a hotly contested piece of real estate. :D Taxiway shots are about 100mm for the F-16s, from memory 70-ish for Hornets and <50mm for a C-130H. Runway shots were a little less than 400mm - all this on a 1.3x crop Canon 1D body. So you may need a little more or less if you're either using full-frame or 1.5x/1.6x crop bodies. Note that occasionally RNZAF helos will hover and land on the taxi way in front of you and on this particular day I actually shot a RNZAF King Air landing on the taxiway as the runway was clogged up with a pair of T-6Cs. (I suppose the King Air pilot needed the bathroom really really bad?)

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We do get foreign visitors occasionally such as RAAF Hornets but mostly we get transports for various exercises or deployments. So we can get USAF C-17s and USAF ANG C-130Hs, RAAF C-130Js, French Navy Falcons and French Air Force CN235s from their Polynesian bases. We also do get regular USAF Special Forces MC-130s for sneaky training deployments with our SAS. :ninja: :ninja: These usually go extremely unannounced and even the RNZAF goes .. "What MC-130s, we know of no such thing" despite one standing right in front of you. Of course also have our regular Deep Freeze deployments in Christchurch which bring USAF C-17s and the awesome LC-130Hs. Over the last few years NASA assets such as the 747 SOFIA and their DC-8 have been making semi-regular (bi) annual stops at Christchurch.

If there's any interest, I can also add some of the RNZAF stuff I shot on that day as well? The RNZAF was fairly active that day with C-130Hs, NH-90s, A-109s, King Airs, 757 and lots of T-6Cs. Don't know if that is of particular interest so I'll just process a few and add them here when I get home.
ErikNZ

Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby POD on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 7:56 am

ErikNZ wrote:Thanks for the kind comments! Yes, the deployment was very special, it certainly isn't something you see every day here in NZ.
For most of the duration of the deployment, the weather was absolutely horrific. If it wasn't raining or foggy, it was extremely grey at best. I had to make several trips up to Ohakea to finally strike gold on a Friday morning when the sun came out and stayed out. They only flew one morning mission that day but it was with all six aircraft so I counted myself extremely lucky.

All these shots were taken from outside of Ohakea Air Base. If you find yourself near Ohakea, just go down to Frecklington Road. That's where I took the shots.
Sadly the RNZAF decided to go with the times and place a big NATO-style fence here with barbed wire and all. In previous years it was just a little wooden face at waist height. So you will need to bring a step ladder (or borrow/buy one when you're downhere). There is a single fence pole that you can use to stand on if you do not bring a ladder but you'll rarely be the only one present so it's a hotly contested piece of real estate. :D Taxiway shots are about 100mm for the F-16s, from memory 70-ish for Hornets and <50mm for a C-130H. Runway shots were a little less than 400mm - all this on a 1.3x crop Canon 1D body. So you may need a little more or less if you're either using full-frame or 1.5x/1.6x crop bodies. Note that occasionally RNZAF helos will hover and land on the taxi way in front of you and on this particular day I actually shot a RNZAF King Air landing on the taxiway as the runway was clogged up with a pair of T-6Cs. (I suppose the King Air pilot needed the bathroom really really bad?)

Click here for Google Maps

We do get foreign visitors occasionally such as RAAF Hornets but mostly we get transports for various exercises or deployments. So we can get USAF C-17s and USAF ANG C-130Hs, RAAF C-130Js, French Navy Falcons and French Air Force CN235s from their Polynesian bases. We also do get regular USAF Special Forces MC-130s for sneaky training deployments with our SAS. :ninja: :ninja: These usually go extremely unannounced and even the RNZAF goes .. "What MC-130s, we know of no such thing" despite one standing right in front of you. Of course also have our regular Deep Freeze deployments in Christchurch which bring USAF C-17s and the awesome LC-130Hs. Over the last few years NASA assets such as the 747 SOFIA and their DC-8 have been making semi-regular (bi) annual stops at Christchurch.

If there's any interest, I can also add some of the RNZAF stuff I shot on that day as well? The RNZAF was fairly active that day with C-130Hs, NH-90s, A-109s, King Airs, 757 and lots of T-6Cs. Don't know if that is of particular interest so I'll just process a few and add them here when I get home.


Lovely set, in great light...Would like to see the RNZAF pics too :up: .... fingers crossed the det gets established there
Tiger Tiger!
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POD

Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby Red Dragon on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 7:57 am

Thanks for the detailed reply, for one I'd love to see the photos :smile:
Rik Mayall (07/03/1958 – 09/06/2014) RIP
Robin Williams (21/08/1951 – 11/08/2014) RIP
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Red Dragon

Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby Wissam24 on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 12:06 pm

Wow, love how sweaty and used they look. Rare to see F-16s like that at all, really. Good stuff, and congratulations on your catch!
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Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby ErikNZ on Sun 29 Oct 2017, 3:30 am

Thanks guys, it's much appreciated.

Here's the RNZAF participation on the day I shot the Vipers above. It was an unusual busy day with RNZAF movements so I won't put a photo up of every individual aircraft and please don't take this as a regular "sample". For every day like this, we have a ton of days where we only have a single King Air flying.

Speaking of King Airs, they were exceptionally busy with 21, 23 and 24 flying heaps of training sorties with plenty of touch and goes.

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And here's 24 landing on the taxiway, completely catching me off guard as I was watching the T-6Cs on the runway. As the pilot put the King Air down very early the side shots look just like the normal taxi shots so I just put this one in for evidence :)

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And the T-6Cs were also very, very busy. I think we must have had at least 8 different serials flying around with many of these making very short hops, cycle pilots and go out again with plenty of touch and goes and approaches in between. I counted shooting the same serials on the taxi way at least 4-5 times over. In beween all those, the Black Falcon team did some training as well. Even one guy visiting from the UK, who until that morning had never seen a RNZAF T-6C was pretty much sick of them already by lunch time. :lol:

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Note the portable barrier in the background, which the Singapore Air Force must have brought along for their F-16Ds as that's normally not there.
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The NH-90s and A-109s of 3 Squadron also joined in. With the NH-90s (07, 01 and 04) making several approaches and conducting some hovering at different areas within the base perimeter. The A-109s had left earlier in the day and were caught on their return.

07 coming in over the runway, followed by 04 which I was unable to shoot photos of as we had some F-16Ds on the taxiway at that time:
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01 landing at the taxi way. Unfortunately they always seem to settle in a low hoover above the taxi way way past our spot at the fence so they are quite high. The UH-1Hs used to be extremely low at this point :sad:
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The two A-109s (01 and 04) also came in over the taxi way:

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And finally our RNZAF visitors for the day, C-130H 05 and 757 72. RNZAF C-130Hs regularly take the taxiway although foreign visitors are more prone to backtrack instead:

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ErikNZ


Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby AlexC on Sun 29 Oct 2017, 4:12 pm

Very good! :up:
Pte. Aubrey Gerald Harmer, R. Suss. R. (att. to the Sherwood Foresters) KIA 26/9/1917 Polygon Wood, aged 19, NKG. RIP
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AlexC

Re: Singapore Vipers at Ohakea

Postby POD on Sun 29 Oct 2017, 4:51 pm

Thanks :up:
Tiger Tiger!
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