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2013 Aviation Events : REVIEW

Lightning Preservation Group Nightshoot

It may be a little under two months until the airshow season kicks off, but for aviation photographers there are now a number of events throughout the year on which you can satisfy your need for an aviation fix. For many years, the Lightning Preservation Group at Bruntingthorpe have run spectacular twilight engine runs, but to start their 2013 they ran their first dedicated Nighttime photoshoot around their restored Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Sheds.

Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports from a wintry Bruntingthorpe. All photography by the author.

The end of February certainly reminded everyone attending the LPG Nightshoot that the UK was still in winter with a bitterly cold wind and wintery showers throughout the day. That did not stop a healthy number of photographers from attending the evening however.

Bruntingthorpe is home to the Cold War Jets Museum which is made up of a number of classic jets jets, many of which are kept alive in taxy-able condition. Early arrivals to the Nightshoot were treated to an engine test and fast taxy run by Blackburn Buccaneer S2B XW544 which has only recently been fully restored and wears the distinctive markings of 16 Squadron.

The set-up for this event was very different to other nightshoots. Whereas a number of Nightshoots offer parked aircraft and engine runs, the evening was carefully choreographed to provide a number of different set pieces inside and outside of the QRA shed with English Electric Lightning F6 XS904 as the light faded into night. This was done very well and gave everybody ample opportunity to get photographs from a variety of angles.

The various sets ups were scenes typical of QRA operations with the aircraft both be readied for a scramble and those of a quick debrief after a sortie. The based fire engine also supplied some water to wet the pan in front of the sheds to try and get some reflections under the aircraft.

Special praise must also go to the pilots and volunteers that posed with the aircraft to provide some of the scenes as it was a particularly cold evening and because of the nature of night time photography, they had to stand still for minutes at a time while the photographers took long exposures.

Special thanks must go to the Lightning Preservation Group for hosting such an enjoyable evening for photographers. Funds raised by these events go to help maintain their two wonderful Lightning aircraft as well as their QRA shed which is an important reminder of when these iconic aircraft helped protect UK airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

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