I love this thread! I need to get to a low fly zone someday. Are schedules of flights taking place in these in the UK posted? Or is it luck/knowing personnel from an airbase?
Search for "mach loop". It's in Wales. RAF low flying route that draws in aircraft from all over the country. They've got other routes elsewhere in the country but the beauty of this one is that there are 'pinch points' that force the aircraft close to the valley sides (how close? close enough that a 300mm lens is fine), along with easy access for the likes of us to hike up and get level with, or even above, the aircraft.
The two points that most recommend going to are The Bwlch (good visability means plenty of warning of approaching aircraft) and Cad West (shots of aircraft banking onto their side). Both are easy to get to with nearby carparking.
They publish schedules. These bear no relation at all to what happens. Useless. Ignore them. Weather, maintenance, the whim of whoever is in charge... who knows. Note that they only fly these routes on weekdays.
This summer I unknowingly rented a lovely holiday cottage right underneath it. Hawks, Typhoons, Tornadoes and F-15s roaring over us at 250ft throughout the week. Best was the Hercules, banked at near 90 degrees 250ft above me. Absolutely awesome. Luckily the baby wasn't bothered at all by the noise.
Was a family holiday (with a new baby) so I had little chance to get any shots - spent one day up on a mountainside (with three other poor photogs) but that was the one day that nothing went up the valley
Basically what he says. The original C130 pics I posted are from the Bwlch (exit) and the Harrier ones from Cad West. The Mach Loop is part of the Low Fly Area-7 (LFA-7) in mid-Wales it covers all of Snowdonia but the north loop is a compression point. In the Lake District you have LFA-14 and there is another in Scotland (LFA-27 I think).
There is no published schedule for the LFA (the ones on line are for LFA-T which is different), it purely depends on operational requirements and weather. Usually flying is weekday daylight hours but they are also used at night (C130's in particular). What you see (if anything) is pure luck most of the time. Its a 200-mile each way trip for me (plus the climb) so I don't get there as much as I'd like
Looks like a 250 mile trip each way for me, so would probably go for a day or two as part of a holiday in that general area.
Hesbehindyou - Sounds like a great cottage to rent!
Shame about the lack of a confirmed schedule, but with that landscape around I wouldn't be short of things to look at or photograph!
Now to work out how to get a bit more focal length, been pondering a 1.4 or 2x converter. The only 300/400mm lenses I could afford would be the f4 or f5.6 respectively, and not for another year I think. I could rent, but I'd feel very annoyed if I did that and the day or two I spent there were the days no flying took place.
If planes are flying, do they just make one or two passes through, or is there a good few hours of flying?