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North Weald Night Photoshoot 2011

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March 27th 2011 saw the first Night Photoshoot to be held at the Essex airfield. The venue was absolutely superb, with the taking place around by the Squadron. This is a club which is housed in genuine wartime buildings and furnished with 40’s furniture. It gave the evening a real atmosphere, plus some great food and drink.

The event was organized by Egon Johansen and his team, with the aim of raising funds for the Gnat display team ahead of this years airshow season. Unfortunately the star of the show, newly restored Gnat G-MOUR , was unable to leave its hangar, due to technical difficulties. The aircraft was meant to be rolled out especially for the shoot. Another late cancellation was Bell UH-1 G-HUEY. The owners had found that one of the wheels on the skids had broken. Despite this I thought the line-up was great.

The list of aircraft were as follows..
Folland Gnat T1 G-FCRE– The Gnat Display Team
Folland Gnat T1 (GTIMM (XS111)) – The Gnat Display Team
Hunting P-84 Jet Provost T3 (GBKOU (XN637)) – Oliver Wheeldon
BAC 167 Strikemaster (GMXPH (311)) – Stephen Partridge-Hicks
DeHavilland Vampire T11 (GVTII (WZ507)) – Vampire Preservation Team
BAC Jet Provost MK52 (GPROV (104)) – Swords Aviation
BAC Jet Provost MK5P (GVIVM) – Swords Aviation
Yakovlev Yak 52 (GYAKR (03 white)) – Roy Alexander
Yakovlev Yak 18T

On arrival I found out that Gnat G-RORI (due to feature in the shoot) had swallowed something on take off and was also removed from the list. Luckily G-FCRE was able to be brought out to bring the no. of Gnats back to 2.

The shoot was well organized and the lighting (after a little fettling) was bang on. The only 2 little complaints I had were that all the jets seemed to run their engines all at the same time. I later heard this was because North Weald are not allowed to run jets after 8pm. The other niggle was where the cars had been parked. They did feature in some of my shots!! On the whole it was a very enjoyable evening. The owners and Egons team were very friendly and helpful, and I can highly recommend the Squadrons burger and chips!!!

After engine runs, the cones used to mark a line where photographers would be safe to shoot from were moved to give closer access to the aircraft. I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the owners, Egon Johansen and his team and the squadron for making the evening thoroughly enjoyable. Hopefully this won’t be the last night shoot at North Weald…..

Review by Neil Darby - click HERE for Neil's Showcase