A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Photos of operational aircraft from bases, airports and "spotter" outings
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redskin301
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A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by redskin301 »

Hi All,

Think I didn't post this set before on this forum. Last year I had the great opportunity to visit the Gharles de Gaulle during Mission Clemenceau.
This operation was part of Operation Chammal where the french were bombing the IS forces in Syria. A unique opportunity where the Rafale Ms
were flying 24/7 during the day. Were nice to see the aircraft in different configs during the missions like bombers with four laser guided weapons,
like refueling aircraft with the buddy pack under the fuselage, like reconnaissance aircraft with photo pods under the fuselage and finally like
escort fighters equipped for the air defense role. There were a total of 20 Rafales on board operating at two squadrons; 12 Flotille and 17 Flotille.
Also there were two Hawkeyes on board for guiding the Rafales and other NATO allies. two Dauphins were present for the SAR standby onboard
of the carrier. And finally there was one Caiman present for the CSAR standby and anti submarine role. I had the opportunity to stay 48 hours onboard
of the vessel; really a dream coming true as this was my first embankment; the french carrier was the highest on my carrier wish list, because Alex
is a fan of all the French aviation.

Here my only video I made onboard of a departing Rafale Marine. I started later with videography so I still have to go back once :p



By big surprise we were welcomed in Cyprus by a Danish crew and first we thought if this was the right asset for us to bring us to the carrier. The very
friendly crew told us that their vessel Niels Juel was part of the carrier strike group. So after buckling up we departed towards the CdG which was a
flight of almost two hours by helicopter. The guys joked to me and my friend; don't worry to drown when we have issues, because we are SAR and
strong Vikings! After 1 hour and 40 minutes I had my first contact with a carrier ever on the screen of the SAR operator on the his terminal. Once near
the carrier we asked the pilot if we could fly around the vessel for some shots from above with the Merlin doors open. No Problem was the answer and
so it happened. Guess this is called air to surface photography? After a nice round around the ship we landed on the deck of the Gaulle. I made some
quick shots of the Merlin on deck with my 70 mm lens. the 70 mm lens was the smallest I had, because I dropped my 28 mm lens on the concrete in Cyprus
just before departure; stupid me! After this moment we were welcomed on board and the grand deck tour would start. here the shots of our arrival tour.

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incredible I am standing on the deck of an operational aircraft carrier wow; who would ever thought this would happen!!! After a short introduction we were
brought to the balcony of the command tower. The first Rafale action was already happening. Our guides were two young French boys (they were just 20 years old).
They had one assignment of their boss; this was showing these reporters everything on every position they want. This was the best you could hear. The first Rafales
came back after their sortie. Also the SAR standby was ready to fly next to the ship for safety. All incredible to see with my own eyes.

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The best part of the day was to come after dinner. Food was really good onboard of the CdG. The French really take care of their crew and one of the guys said;
we as french don't accept bad food! Just before sunset a mass launch of 14 aircraft was planned. First the Hawkeye left and later all the Rafales would leave. During
startup we were able to move freely over the deck to capture all the action during the preparations. This brought some nice shots of the crews which were busy
doing their job on the deck. During launch were had the instructions to stay behind the red line near the command tower. What was the case, the catapult just in
front of us was prepared for launch. We had the opportunity to stand with only 8 meters distance from the passing planes during launch. This brought me incredible
action shots during sunset. I positioned myself a bit more towards the nose section of the carrier due to my long lens of 70 mm. With my tele-lens of 400 mm I could
take some nice angles of the aircraft during line up at the catapult. Then came the moment; CAT LAUNCH...... I write this in capital letters because the sound is so
loud due to the short range (photo 28 says enough). The Rafales gave full afterburner are the air started to move that I was pushed a bit backwards. This is definitely
my most intense aviation moment I have ever experienced. Oh Oh what a power of these French beauties. Let these photos speak for them selves down here.....

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Just a few moments before the dark we heard from our guides that the other Hawkeye was coming back for landing. The best timing of the day i guess?
Were were brought to the first elevator just behind the command tower. This was our position to photograph the Hawkeye while catching the arresting cable.
What a light on this aircraft during sunset. After the landing we made some kind of "Top Gun" shots of the parked aircraft while the light was disappearing.
Also the Niels Juel came closer to the carrier; so with the long lens I made some shots of it. Everybody thought this was the end of the day because the light
was gone. they were wrong, because Alex brought his tripod with him. I captured the Rafales while they came back in complete darkness on the ship. The
aircraft stay on their position after for almost one minute after landing to be checked and to disconnect the arresting cable. that was my moment to make
some night shots at sea. Also this was something which I couldn't imagine before we went onboard of the vessel. After this the day was really over. Next time
I will post day two of this fantastic journey. To end day one we drunk a lot of Belgian beer in the onboard pub! Cheers, and thanks for watching. Feel free to
also subscribe to my Youtube Channel where I post many more video which I made later in Japan at the end of 2019. I will post these videos in the video section
of this forum.

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Kind regards,

Alex van Noye

http://www.runway28.nl

MiG_Eater
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by MiG_Eater »

Just stunning, stunning stuff. Words fail me. Amazing!

dconnery1966
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by dconnery1966 »

Some cracking shots there Alex we done

Dougie :)

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Blackbird
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by Blackbird »

What a brilliant experience and fantastic photos 👏👏. The Hawkeye landing at dusk is just outstanding.

Many thanks for posting.

Andy

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Seamus
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by Seamus »

Amazing stuff, that would be my dream experience in aviation. Unreal light on the Hawkeye recovery!
My shots on Flickr and Airliners

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CJS
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by CJS »

Wow! Bootiful :clap:
With just the slightest bit of finesse, I might have made a little less mess.

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Wrexham Mackem
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by Wrexham Mackem »

Naval Aviation - its just a different class. Very well caught, and a pleasure to view!
its time to kick the tyres and light the fires

https://www.flickr.com/photos/151934326@N08/albums

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PeteFenwick
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by PeteFenwick »

A wonderful report with stunning pics-in capital letters I AM NOT JEALOUS-repeat and repeat and .....
Thanks for posting

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aviationanoraks
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by aviationanoraks »

Wow!
Truly stunning, made my day!

Amp
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by Amp »

Wow, what a selection.....

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Graf Zeppelin
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by Graf Zeppelin »

Best post of the year!
Cheers Phil

Excellere Contende

axeman01@outlook.com
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by axeman01@outlook.com »

great shots

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POD
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by POD »

Very nice set :thumbsup:
Tiger Tiger!

timuss
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by timuss »

Awesome shots what a great opportunity.
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AndyXH558
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by AndyXH558 »

Absolutely amazing pictures and a really well written piece. I have to echo Mr zeppelins(phils) summary. Best post this year. May I suggest you make a photo book out of them.

Oh and I'm a bit thick sometimes. I thought you meant the airport in Paris at first. Oops
Start every day with a smile!

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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by Airwolfhound »

Outstanding images and report, well done :-)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24874528@N04/

Agile, mobile and hostile ;-)

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redbearing
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by redbearing »

Superb set, how many photos of the month in this lot??? :grinning: :grinning:

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Andy63
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by Andy63 »

Absolutely stunning photos! Probably repeating everyone else's comments really, but one of the best posts on here this year for me.

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iaint
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by iaint »

Not a clue how I missed this thread at the time, but oh my word. Amazing! Just picking my jaw up off the ground.
What an opportunity to get and the photos you've shared are just beyond fantastic!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iainthomson84/

End of Message, End of Broadcast

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Ledhead27
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Re: A Dream Journey to the Charles de Gaulle; Part 1

Post by Ledhead27 »

Simply incredible! Not one photo that isn't of an exceptionally high quality!
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4 out of 5 baguettes

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