Shooting in the Dark

by Daniel Frampton

The Flight was approached by (an organisation that is well known for arranging photocalls, nightshoots and tours for aviation enthusiasts) to see if we could provide their users with the opportunity of photographing our collection of Army Air Corps historic aircraft. We were pleased to be able to support this request, and it also gave us the opportunity to ‘spread the word’.

As this was not a normal airfield activity, permission for the event was sought from the Commandant of the Army Air Corps Centre through the chain of command, and was duly granted. This demonstrated the Army’s commitment to fostering relationships with the community, and our commitment to keeping the Army Air Corps history alive.

The Museum generously allowed us to use the Apache Café as part of the event, which was very much appreciated by all involved.

This was the first night photoshoot for many of the newer members of the Flight. We started by cleaning the aircraft to presentation standard, and each of the aircraft looked their best. They were towed out to their respective spots beside the main taxiway, opposite the Army Flying Museum, waiting for the cameras to roll.

Threshold.areo provided their own marshalls and lighting for the event. At 17:30, 35 keen aviation photographers of all ages entered the airfield proceeded to surround the aircraft to get their perfect sunset shots.

With the sky ablaze, the shutters were soon clicking away and producing some stunning results.

The sun set over the Wallop hills and the airfield fell into darkness, being lit only by the lights, and the aircraft looking resplendent in the soft light. Long exposures were the order of the day, with the photographers jostling for the right position, standing, kneeling, laying prone or shooting from their mobility scooter – but all conducted with polite respect for each other.

Then came the highlight of the event, the engine runs starting with the Scout then Auster and finally the Beaver, lasting for 15 minutes for each aircraft.

The Scout, with Jim Trayhurn at the controls started with consummate ease, its Rolls Royce Nimbus engine purring in the night air. Its downdraft did, however, cause some problems for the closer cameras and their long exposures – but it’s what helicopters do!

Both the Auster and Beaver, with George Bacon at the controls, showed that these aircraft will start in the damp conditions of the evening. The Beaver’s Wasp Junior engine start even produced a characteristic loud report and a lick of flame.

With a successful evening complete, we towed the aircraft back to Hangar 3 and put them to bed, secure in the knowledge of a job well done.