Away day 15/4/17
With the prospect of the first deployment of F-35A Lightning II to Europe arriving at RAF Lakenheath on Saturday afternoon it was just too good to miss, Garf Smith collected me from home at 10am and it was direct to the “Heath”.
Arriving at Lakenheath just before Midday we parked at the Forest side of the road and with lots of others the wait was on. We had but a few hours to wait before the first two F-35A’s appeared and landed, 13-5072 HL “388FW” with Col David Lyons on the nose wheel door followed by 14-5098 HL Col Jason Rueschhoff on his nose wheel door.
13-5072 HL/42FS – 388FW “388FW” F-35A Lightning II ‘Col David Lyons’ c/s “Thud 11” c/n AF-72
14-5098 HL/42FS – 388FW F-35A Lightning II ‘Col Jason Rueschhoff’ c/s “Thud 14” c/n AF-99
It was time to reposition in the field and wait for the next wave to arrive about 30 minutes behind, with a cross wind they were fighting with the throttles for the first pair when landing . We did not have long until the next wave appeared with four aircraft this time all landing in the sun.
14-5094 HL/42FS – 388FW F-15A Lightning II ‘Capt Daniel Huber ‘ c/s “Thud 21” c/n AF-95.
14-5096 HL/42FS – 388FW F-15A Lightning II ‘Major Shad stromberg ‘ c/s “Thud 22” c/n AF-97.
14-5097 HL/42FS – 388FW F-15A Lightning II ‘Capt James Schmidt ‘ c/s “Thud 23” c/n AF-98.
14-5102 HL/42FS – 388FW F-15A Lightning II ‘ Maj Brent Carroll ‘ c/s “Thud 24” c/n AF-103.
After waiting for the crowds to clear it was on to RAF Mildenhall.
First call was Foley Lane to check out the 100ARW KC-135R Tanker aircraft, Then around the back of the base to check for the RC-135U and more resident KC-135’s and the MC-130J’s. Final stop was the the Gate past John’s Field to check the CV-22B Ospreys and a visiting AFRC KC-135R 60-0331 .
63-8883 ‘D’100ARW KC-135R Sratotanker – c/n 18731.
8 ship 67SOS Line up of MC-130J’s
13-5778 67SOS MC-130J c/n 382-5778
60-0331 940ARW KC-135R c/n 18106
4 – CV-22B Osprey’s were sat on the ramp, A big thanks to Garf for the lift to Lakenheath , It was good to catch up with lots of people we both new.