RAF Northolt Night Photocall
Words and photography by Mike Freer, additional images by Stuart Freer.
The extreme cold conditions did not deter the assembled photographers for the night time photo-shoot hosted by 32 (The Royal) Squadron at RAF Northolt on the evening of January 29th, 2009. Those that braved the elements were well rewarded by a small static display of aircraft positioned perfectly for photography illuminated by sodium lighting.
Our party of photographers was welcomed by our genial hosts Phil Dawe and the Officer Commanding 32(TR) Squadron, Wing Commander Steve Pitcher. Having explained Health and Safety measures and what we could and could not photograph, our party was then allowed into the operational area.
Assembled on the flight line were two examples of the resident 32(TR) Squadron fleet in the form of Agusta 109E ZR322 and Bae-125 CC3 ZD703. Later in the evening the Agusta 109E ran its engine to add further impact to our images.
Also present were, normally camera shy, US Army UC-35A 95-0123 from the 6th Company/52nd Regiment along with an Irish Air Corps Learjet 235 from Baldonnel.
What for many was the “star” of the night, Merlin HC3A ZK001 (ex M-511 of the Royal Danish Air Force) of 78 Squadron, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire. The Merlin arranged to call in at Northolt for fuel to coincide with the nightshoot at the end of scheduled training flight. The assembled photographers were treated to a ten minute engine run before she departed back to RAF Benson.
Following a very cold night on the flight line, our party adjourned for a welcome hot drink and bacon roll.
The author wishes to thank Wing Commander Steve Pitcher OC 32 (TR) Squadron and Phil Dawe.