Tag Archives: London

[Photo] The most stunning images of RAF Photographic Competition 2013

The Royal Air Force held its annual Photographic Competition last month.

The photos were amazing, most of them can be seen and downloaded in extremely high resolutions here. We have chosen two pictures to share with TheAviationist readers.

A stunning image of Tornado over London that became a PR photo of the year, by SAC Andy Masson:

Tornado GR4 Over London

And a photo of a flame bursting out of the Spitfire’s exhaust pipes by SAC Graham Taylor, the RAF Photographer of the year:

Spitfire Fighter Aircraft 'Hot Starting' Engines

Image Credit: Crown Copyright/RAF Andy Mason and Graham Taylor

A special mention goes once again to Graham Taylor for his stunning long exposure shot of a Eurofighter Typhoon (top image of this post) sitting under the star-lit sky of the Middle-East during a multi-national traning exercise.

Thanks for the heads-up go to Tomasz Skirecki, PhD from the Faculty of English of University of Poznan.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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Stunning graphics show UK’s future (twin-island) supercarriers

Not as large as U.S. flattops but 280 meters in length hence longer than the London’s Palace of Westminster: this is the size of HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, UK’s Royal Navy future flagships.

The team behind the future aircraft carriers have produced a series of rendering whose aim is to demonstrate the scale of the carriers. To give a better idea of the size of the 65,000-tons leviathan, the artists put the HMS Queen Elizabeth, on the Thames next to the Palace of Westminster, and the HMS Prince of Wale,s at Victory Jetty in Portsmouth.

QE 2

Last summer, UK’s helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, currently Britain’s biggest warship, was docked on the Thames at Greenwich with several helicopters on board as part of the anti-terrorist effort put in place for the London Olympics.

The two aircraft carriers, that will host the F-35B (the Short Take Off Vertical Landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter that will replace the Harrier “jump jet” untimely retired as a consequence of 2010’s spending review), are expected to enter service later this decade.

QE 1

Noteworthy, unlike any previous design, the new aircraft carrier will feature a twin-island on the flight deck.

QE 3

Image credit: Royal Navy / UK MoD

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Olympics air security gets its first test as Typhoon is scrambled from RAF Northolt, in noth-west London

At around 12.20pm local time on Wednesday Jul. 25 the RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoons based at RAF Northolt (London) for Olympic Games security got their first scramble.

Using radio callsign 6NK31, the first Typhoon roared into the skies above northwest London whereas a second jet was kept on holding on the runway threshold ready to launch as 6NK32.

Once airborne, 6NK31 went south towards Heathrow and circled overhead at 4,000 feet before the intercept was called off. As 6NK32 returned to its shelter 6NK31 moved to RAF Marham where it entered into a holding pattern to burn fuel before landing back at Northolt.

Aircraft on QRA in north-west London are among the somehow controversial security measures put in place to protect the Olympics, that are kicking off on Jul. 27.

As of writing it is not known what caused the scramble order.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: Giovanni Maduli

Near miss as Britain's biggest warship squeezes through Thames Barrier to attend the Olympic Guard exercise

Along with the Typhoon on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) at RAF Northolt, west London, the Olympic Guard exercise, whose goal is to test the security plan aimed to prevent a 9/11 type of attack during this summer’s Olympics, saw also the participation of the HMS Ocean  amphibious assault ship.

In fact, while several other assets will be enforcing the No-Fly Zone, and a few SAM (Surface to Air Missile) batteries will track suspect planes from the roof of some residential buildings, Britain’s biggest warship, will be docked at Greenwich as a precaution against any potential terrorist attacks.

Therefore, on May 4, the helicopter carrier made its way up the River Thames with eight Lynx choppers belonging to both the Royal Navy and Army on board.

However, the journey up the river of the 21,500-tonne ship was made particularly difficult by the 61-mt gaps in the moveable flood barriers lying downstream on the Thames. In fact, as the 35-mt wide ship approached the barrier, the wind pushed it towards one of the 20-mt tall steel gates.

With the help of three tugboats, the helicopter carrier was able to safely sail through the narrow gap but the near miss fueled criticism for the “over the top” exercise put in place by the UK’s MoD for the Olympics Games.

Especially since no specific threats have been made to the Games.


There's a place in London where RAF Typhoons will buzz your car during the Olympics

If you plan to visit London during the Olympic Games and you are an aviation geek, I suggest you to pay a visit to one of the best (temporary) spotting places ever.

Judging by the image below, published on May 2 by the Daily Telegraph and taken during Exercise Olympic Guardian, the viewing area is located somewhere around RAF Northolt airport, in west London.

From there you’ll almost be able to touch the armed Typhoons while landing at their deployment base at the end of their missions to enforce the No-Fly Zone above and around the capital of UK.

The role of the British Eurofighters is, along with several other assets and a few SAM (Surface to Air Missile) batteries settled on top of some residential buildings, to defend the Olympics from 9/11-type of attack.

Last month two Typhoons launched to respond to an emergency signal from a helicopter caused a sonic boom that caused panic across England.

Leave a comment or send me an email if you are able to locate or give direction to the spotting point.

Picture: Julian Simmonds/Daily Telegraph

However, since the RAF does not plan to perform CAPs from RAF Northolt, the possibility to see a scene like the one depicted above are scarce. Unless a practice QRA or an air patrol is launched from there, the base could be much busier during the preliminary exercise than in the Olympics period.