Once every two years, RAF Coningsby gives enthusiasts the chance to get up close with some of the RAF's most potent aircraft. Along with others from our FighterControl forum, Ben Montgomery went along to get that different view.
It should probably be made clear from the start that this is not a news article or report - but just a small way of showing our thanks to all involved at RAF Coningsby who made the day so enjoyable for all who attended.
Taking place on the 15th June 2012 (the day before the RAF Coningsby Families Day), approximately 500 enthusiasts were afforded the chance to photograph some of the resident Typhoons and Tornados at Coningsby from "inside the fence". With a pretty poor weather forecast in the run up to the event, it was a pleasant surprise to find that for most of the day the rain held off, and the sun even deigned to make an appearance for a significant portion of the event!
What rain there was managed to schedule itself around the flying items of the day (notably one very heavy shower directly after the rehearsal of the Tornado Role Demonstration), with visitors using every bit of available cover (including aircraft - see the image below!) to escape the downpour.
As well as the locally assigned aircraft on display (of which there were 6 - one Typhoon from 3(F), XI and 29(R) Squadrons, a Tornado GR.4 from 41(R) Squadron and a Spitfire Mk.IX from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight), two Hawks from RAF Valley were present alongside a 45(R) Squadron King Air, and a Falcon 20 from Cobham Aviation. The team at Coningsby had thoughtfully also provided access ladders that allowed an elevated view over the static park - which was greatly appreciated judging by their constant usage!
For those chasing the RAF "Special Schemes" of 2012, this event would turn out to be a good day - with the 4(R) Squadron T.2 on static display later joined by 2(AC) Squadron's Tornado GR.4 "Shiny Two" at the end of the day. For those arriving early enough, they would have seen the 3(F) Squadron Typhoon FGR.4 depart - although it did not return during the course of the event.
Although no formal flying programme was planned there was a display from the Royal Navy Historic Flight Sea Fury T.20 early in the morning, as well as the first "public" rehearsal of the 2012 Tornado Role Demonstration, provided again by XV(R) Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth. There was - according to the leaflet given out at the start of the event - due to be both Typhoon and Spitfire displays but these never occurred (presumably due to the bad weather throughout some parts of the day).
There was also plenty of flying from the Typhoons and Tornados of the home team as well as visiting examples, and the area designated for visitors allowed easy viewing of the runway. During the course of the day there were also two tours available - one to listen to a Typhoon briefing and the other to visit the various gate guards around the station. Both were very popular, as supplies of tickets were running low by the time the last visitors were admitted to the station.
The photographs collected here are from some of the FighterControl members who attended the event - and we'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for allowing us to share their work.
As mentioned at the top of this article - we also would like to again thank the team at Coningsby for their work in getting this event running, and for allowing so many of our forum members the chance to attend the event. We hope that we get the chance to visit again in future!