As part of my trip around Lincolnshire I spent a few hours outside Coningsby watching the Typhoons. They are pretty loud when taking off although one did set my car alarm off by doing a full-afterburner take off and heading straight up to 15,000 feet.
I also went to the BBMF hangar and looked around the various types they have there. Here’s their Lancaster:
I also saw another Lancaster at ex RAF East Kirkby.
However, the main reason for being a hundred and sixty miles from home was to be relatively close to RAF Marham so I could try and see some Tornados flying before they end their airborne days. I had noticed there was a NOTAM out for Marham on the Friday and so I planned to be there about half an hour before the start of whatever it was. I figured that if it wasn’t the Tornados it would be a Lightning II and that wouldn’t be such a bad thing to see. I still haven’t seen one fly and I could only just make out two in real life over the other side of the airfield.
I was lucky. There were five Tornados going up and preparing for a final display and fly past later in the month. It was really good to see them taxiing.
After about an hour over the North Sea doing their stuff they headed back to Marham but not before I had seen four F15s fly over and then three KC-135s in formation. They were a sight to see!
So I have two Tornado stories for you. The first was at North Weald airshow in the late 80s. My friend Nick and I had cycled from home and couldn’t afford entry so we just parked our bikes inside one of two fences in line with the end of the runway. We figured we weren’t airside and neither were we next to the road, we were in a kind of no-mans land. A Tornado lined up in front of us and then used full re-heat to take off. The noise and vibration was amazing. It was an awesome sight.
My next anecdote involves me being a cadet at RAF Coningsby in 1988. I was allowed to sit in the cockpit of a Tornado ADV and I played with the throttle. I was later told that doing this had dumped some fuel in the engine, but I wasn’t concerned. Later that night I was on the flight line “helping” and the aircraft I had been sitting in refused to start. It looks like I broke it [a little].
While at Marham the spotters got our own little airshow and it was such a delight. It was a special time to see these aircraft doing what they were meant to do, which is fly, for the last time.
I should add in that while in Cyprus on cadet camp there were Typhoons and Tornados taking off every evening to bomb ISIS in Syria and Iraq and I remember watching them leave while we were at the beach bar on Akrotiri. The after burners, the noise and the sight was spectacular. Tornados going to do the job they were designed for.
Having spent a few days in Lincolnshire I can confirm it is gorgeous and horrifying at the same time. The roads are too straight, there aren’t any hills, and the doesn’t seem to be any traffic after 18:00 hrs. In the time I was there I only saw some hills when I left East Kirkby and headed to Horncastle. There were hills and corners and all sorts of roads, it was actually quite exciting. I didn’t stay in Horncastle for long as I wanted somewhere to eat and it didn’t look like the town for me. I headed instead to an American themed diner at Langrick which I had driven past a few times and it was nice to stop and appreciate the views.
On my first evening I went to the cinema in Boston and there’s a communication covering my thoughts of Colette here. The next day I watched some Typhoon action at RAF Coningsby and then went for a tour around the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight hangar at the other end of the airfield. It was interesting.
I then drove to the International Bomber Command Centre, a memorial to those who died as part of bomber command, which was based in Lincoln. I drove past RAF Waddington but there wasn’t much going on there. Just three E3-D sitting on the pan.
There’s an amazing view over Lincoln from the IBCC. In this next shot you can see the castle and cathedral looking through the monument which is as tall as a Lancaster bomber is wide.
That evening I had dinner booked in Prezzo in Boston. I’m not sure what I think of Boston yet. It’s kinda of pretty in places but an utter dump in others. Cheap petrol at the Asda superstore though.
On the final day of my trip I took in RAF Marham in the morning. There was a NOTAM out for a display and it turns out there were five Tornados practising their formation flying ready for the last-last flypast. Before that as I left Coningsby the C-47 took off in light fog shortly followed by two Typhoons. As they passed in front on the sun their shadows cast over me at 150 knots which was really cool.
After Marham and a refueling stop in Boston I went to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at the ex-RAF base of East Kirkby. They have a Mosquito and a Lancaster there along with tons of bits and pieces from the war. It was lovely and sunny and there was definitely a certain atmosphere at the place. Really interesting.
Finally I had a meal at the American Diner at Langrick, next to the bridge. It’s such a strange place. I do wonder how people find their way around these parts. There aren’t any hills to use as hints to where you are and the sky is so big.
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