RAF Odiham Families Day

This year’s families day took place on the 1st of June and as usual it didn’t disappoint. This is the fourth year that I’ve had the pleasure of watching the air show – sadly not from inside the fence like last year though.
I think its fair to say that in terms of viewing, RAF Odiham has to be one of the worst designed airfields – although there are several points around the airfield where you can watch the air displays, there’s not really any location where you can see into the airfield for photography. So, unfortunately that usually means a lack of take off and landing shots unless you’re lucky enough to not be moved along in one of the private tracks.
The display itself kicked off around 1pm but the morning gives you a great opportunity to experiment with your camera settings as the Chinooks fly circuits with the friends and families of Odiham on board. These flights tend to go on for a couple of hours and from the location I was at, I managed to get some interesting shots.
As can be seen from these images the lighting conditions were pretty challenging, keeping at ISO400 all day.
Once the Chinooks had finished their circuits it was time for the displays to begin and first up was one of the BBMF spitfires, however for reasons unknown to myself it didn’t actually turn up so the show started a bit later than scheduled. The Aerostars opened the show with a superb display of formation flying with four YAK-50’s.

Next up was the Lynx role demo – I believe this was a one of display put on by the Lynx crew at Odiham. Unfortunately, most of their display took place within the confines of the base so only really managed to get a couple of shots.

Following the Lynx role demo was an item that wasn’t on the list of confirmed participants and it was the first time I’d seen this aircraft display – the P-40 Kittyhawk from the Hanger 11 Collection. A very dynamic and well flown display and one of the most camera friendly I’ve seen in a long time. I decided not to take many photographs of this display as I’d not seen it before – it was nice to watch a display without seeing it through a lens – certainly not something that happens very often!
After a short and agile display from an Me108, the almighty Sally B took to the air. For the second year running Odiham managed to secure the B-17 which is based at IWM Duxford and once more she graced the skies above Odiham. The crew put on a superb display and pushed her much more than I’ve seen before, the display itself also seemed to be flown much lower than usual which made for some fantastic photo opportunities.
This year’s RAF Hawk display took to the skies next, sadly not in its 2012 display scheme though – hopefully the all over union jack paint scheme will be shown off at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day next weekend. In my opinion this years hawk display seems to be the best its been in as long as I can remember – it really seems to show off the capabilities of the airframe well. With tight high-g turns, a few fast passes, acrobatics and a dirty pass to finish off, it really is a great display.
Once the Hawk had landed, the RAF Typhoon was cleared to begin its display and with that, the Typhoon unexpectedly performed an almost vertical take off – because it was SO unexpected I didn’t even have my camera ready! It was nice to see the Typhoon back on the display scene after it’s absence last year. Much like the Hawk’s display, I felt that the Typhoon’s was very good and unusually camera friendly for an RAF display.
Shortly after the Typhoon, the RAF Tucano displayed in its special Jubilee scheme – a very nice display but it was a difficult aircraft to photograph against a light grey sky. Usually I find the parachute display teams fairly uninteresting to watch, however the RAF Falcons put on a good show with some high precision formation gliding.
Final display of the day for me was the solo RAF Chinook – it still amazes me just how much this helicopter can be thrown around in such tight spaces. I think the solo display gives you a good idea of how they’re used in Afghanistan. One of my favourite displays of the day.
I would just like to say a big thank you to the guys and girls at RAF Odiham for putting on a brilliant air show – definitely worth taking the day off work for!

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