Monday, 23 July 2012

Chocks Away!

The visitor moorings at Dogdyke lie directly under the flight path of the Tornadoes and Typhoons based at RAF Coningsby just up the road.  There had been a constant procession of extremely noisy aircraft from when I arrived yesterday until early evening (“practising for the Olympics”, according to a local!) and when they started up again this morning I thought I’d go and see where they were coming from.

RAF Coningsby, as well as being a front-line base, also houses the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight of aircraft that served in World War Two. The visitor centre was free to enter but guided tours of the hangar containing the actual aircraft were extra. I don’t usually bother, but today I did and I’m glad. The tour itself was worth the money with an informative volunteer guide showing us the various Spitfires, Hurricanes and Dakotas that make up the collection.
One of several Spitfires at Coningsby

After a while though I got the impression he was spinning things out a bit. Then he confessed – the collection’s Lancaster Bomber was out on the tarmac and would be taking off in half-an-hour and did we mind if he prolonged the tour so that we could see it?  The papal father’s religion was not questioned and  we found ourselves in pole position – on the taxi-way  - to see the crew board (the “mid-upper gunner” was female), heard the four mighty Rolls-Royce engines fire up, actually saw the ground crew remove the chocks (although nobody says "Chocks away" these days)  and watched as she slowly taxied down to the runway, 

Lancaster bomber ready for take off. Are those Typhoons or Tornadoes behind? And in which other country
 could you take photographs of front-line aircraft in service?
disappearing from sight behind the parked rows of Typhoons to re-appear shortly, already airborne, with her engines drowning out even the noise from the Typhoons that were themselves getting ready for a “sortie”.
The modern jets were becoming a bit of pain at Dogdyke but they could fly Lancasters overhead all day as far as I’m concerned.


Christine at said...

To complte your Lancaster story you may wish to know that she flew to near Doncaster on Sunday to perform a flypast at the unveiling of a new memorial to a crashed Lancaster crew.

Hope this link works.

Carol said...

Hi Jim, George (ex 22-yr RAF) confirms that they are indeed Typhoons! Best wishes!