The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

Postby PeterR on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 11:13 am

With the Griffin HT1 & Squirrel HT1 fast approaching the end of their life with the Defence Helicopter Flying School, a day at the fence at RAF Shawbury in the company of Mr Dean West was in order. The Squirrel may not be the most charismatic of helicopters, but the Griffin has to be one of the most underrated types in UK military services. During our visit, the weather gods were not kind to us in the morning but it improved as the day went on. Thus the grey skies meant the photos aren't world-class but I was happy to get some in the bag nevertheless. That said, I'm tempted to have another go on a sunny day before the end of March. Photos posted in the order they were taken during the day.

Did I mention it was bloody wet in the morning?! The first Griffin launched during a huge rain-shower so we got soaked.
ImageZJ238 / Royal Air Force / Griffin HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

But then the rain stopped, but the grey skies persisted. Our first Squirrel of the day made a very sporty approach.
ImageZJ276 / Royal Air Force / Aerospatiale AS350 Squirrel HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

And of course, the new kids were out in force, one of the Juno HT1 (Airbus Helicopters H135), seen here approaching the MFTS apron.
ImageZM509 / Royal Air Force (Ascent Flight Training) / Juno HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

RAF Shawbury will play host to a fleet of 29 Junos, with the tri-service DHFS students doing all their helicopter flying training on the one type. The Jupiter (Airbus Helicopters H145) will all be based at RAF Valley for advance helicopter flying training for RAF pilots, such as SAR training. There will only ever be 3 (yes THREE) Jupiters and I believe they're already all up at their new Anglesea home?
ImageZM506 / Royal Air Force (Ascent Flight Training) / Juno HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

The weather seemed to get worse every time a Griffin moved, typical. :surrender:
ImageZJ234 / Royal Air Force / Griffin HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

And the Squirrels just kept coming.
ImageZJ261 / Royal Air Force / Aerospatiale AS350 Squirrel HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

And then after lunchtime, we decided to 'risk it for a chocolate biscuit' and heard to one of the confined operating areas in LFA9... by then the weather had improved and the aviation gods looked kindly on us and maybe 10 minutes after we arrived this Griffin turned up to fly a flew orbits of the location...
ImageZJ236 / Royal Air Force / Griffin HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

...and then landed in the wood. Operating in and out a couple of times and thankfully on the second time spun around to face us for some really photogenic images! :rock:
ImageZJ236 / Royal Air Force / Griffin HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

And that was that. Decent day out so get some more images of Griffins in the photo catalogue where they're not surrounded by blue cones etc!

C&C for the images is warmly welcomed as I know I still can't edit for toffee! :hide:
PeterR

Re: The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

Postby Stagger2 on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 12:41 pm

That first shot has a perverse 'magic' about it, your editing seems spot-on in highlighting the rainfall & subject :up:
The last Griffin in the confines really turned an OK day into a winner! Great set.
I don't know Shawbury at all. Were shots 1-6 taken at the one off-base location?
Stagger2

Re: The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

Postby Unknown74 on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 7:10 pm

Gonna miss the Squirrels. Must admit I haven't seen all that much of the Griffins to be honest.......
Unknown74

Re: The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

Postby Wrexham Mackem on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 10:37 pm

These are ace Pete, a great set.


(and a proper kick up the backside to me to get out and do the same day myself, as I've done neither Shawbury nor Ternhill, despite them being just down the road so to speak)
its time to kick the tyres and light the fires

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Re: The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

Postby POD on Mon 05 Feb 2018, 12:27 am

Another vote for the first shot :rock:

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Re: The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

Postby PeterR on Mon 05 Feb 2018, 10:36 am

Thanks for the comments chaps. :up:

Stagger2 wrote:I don't know Shawbury at all. Were shots 1-6 taken at the one off-base location?

Yup, all taken along the eastern perimeter fence, up towards the helicopter dispersals. There are a few half-decent locations around the airfield, the problem being the helicopters operating non-common circuits and joining procedures. Our target was the Griffin hence this choice of spot but it would be unusable in the afternoon as the sun swings around.

And a couple more Griffin images;

ImageZJ236 / Royal Air Force / Griffin HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr

ImageZJ236 / Royal Air Force / Griffin HT1 by Peter Reoch, on Flickr
PeterR

Re: The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

Postby Ian G on Mon 05 Feb 2018, 10:54 am

Great shots all round but I love that first one, the rain makes it so atmospheric. Love the confines, really must get round to finding out where they are sometime!
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Re: The End is Nigh... RAF Shawbury.

Postby LN Strike Eagle on Mon 19 Feb 2018, 4:08 pm

Ian G wrote:Great shots all round but I love that first one, the rain makes it so atmospheric.

Agreed.
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