Yes, it’s true. I’d probably describe it as an interest in all things engineering as you will just as easily find me getting interested in ships (Navy in particular), trains or aeroplanes.
On this occasion its planes, specifically Tucanos and, more specifically RAF Linton on Ouse.
Now I’ll admit that despite living in York for many years, apart from seeing the road signs, I knew little of RAF Linton on Ouse and never made the diversion off the main roads to investigate.
That changed in a typically sideways move. A friend of Annie’s was Lord Mayor of York and as part of the charitable stuff they did there was a “good grub” club. We had a Ghurka curry night at Imphal Barracks in York and then a dinner in the mess at RAF Linton on Ouse in the RAF centenary year. This evening featured drinks in the officers mess, our own flying display by the Tucanos and then insights in the RAF and Linton on Ouse’s history during dinner.
This all got me interested and I got involved with the `spotters’ group. Despite the slightly derogatory title this group is acknowledged and supported by the base and the staff. It has resulted in some fantastic opportunities.
One was a display by the Red Arrows in April. The display at Linton was something of a tradition as the first training display they do away from their base at RAF Scampton. As their first display away from base it was a bit ragged, they were a man down and the weather meant it was the flat low altitude display.
The base is home to 72 Squadron which teaches basic fast-jet training on the Tucano T1
You might have noticed a bit of a past tense in some of the above. RAF Linton on Ouse is to close. Tucano’s get retired and fast jet training moves to RAF Valley using Beechcraft Texans.
Why am I going on about it now? Because the Tucano T1 goes out of service on Friday with the graduation of the last course taught on it. Grads usually include some formation flying and often some visiting aircraft so Friday would be a good day to go to Linton but I can’t – the weather forecast is poor anyway. However, today, Wednesday 23rd October 2019 was practice day for the formation flying and the weather was superb.
I had loads I should have been doing today but its all still there whilst the Tucanos won’t be. When I arrived there were 14 Tucano and 4 Tutors on the flightline. ZF448, the anniversary liveried one went off solo early on. At 10:30 ten Tucanos started up, taxied out and took off. Nine were the formation and the tenth, the boss I think, was flying around observing (and from his twitter – photographing). As a nine they flew a number of circuits before splitting into a four and a five. The four, speculating that this was the four graduates, did some more formation stuff before flying directly towards us and performing a break in all directions. They then joined up for another circuit before breaking into a landing pattern. The five then did some flybys before breaking to land. Lastly the boss landed. The last two in got the water salute from the base fire service.
Unless there is some magic reprieve or a disaster cancelling ExpoNG I think that was my last Tucano photo excursion and without the Tucs there isn’t going to be much to see at Linton until it closes next year