RAF Brize Norton - February 2024


9th February 

My first trip to Brize in February was for an aircraft I didn't expect to see at an RAF base, a civilian-operated 767. This aircraft flew from RAF Brize Norton to Kansas City, Missouri.

TUI Airlines Boeing 767 PH-OYJ ORANGE9455

10th February

Having caught it in dying light the first time, I wasn't going to pass up a second opportunity to catch the Canadian's new Airbus CC-330 Husky, which in time will replace their current fleet of CC-150 Polaris aircraft. 330002 has been no stranger to Europe, crossing the pond very frequently. As Canada has just taken delivery of their second Huksy, I hope it will frequent Europe in the same way that 330002 has. 

Royal Canadian Air Force Airbus CC-330 Husky 330002 CANFORCE3469 - 437 Transport Squadron - 8 Wing - Canadian Forces Base Trenton

ZZ330, the first A330 for the RAF, is seen here departing RAF Brize Norton destined for RAF Akrotiri.

RAF Airbus Voyager KC2 ZZ330 ASCOT2300 - 10/101 Squadron - RAF Brize Norton

12th February

With fantastic weather forecast and lots to see, a trip to Brize (& Fairford) was in order. The first catch at Brize was ZZ330, seen here returning from an early morning Quick Reaction Alert. The aircraft wasn't required to refuel RAF Typhoons as the QRA was stood down, so the tanker burnt off fuel before returning to Oxfordshire. 

RAF Airbus Voyager KC2 ZZ330 TARTAN11 - 10/101 Squadron - RAF Brize Norton

The highlight of the day was this smart-looking Polish C-130 displaying special markings. These markings celebrate 100 years since the formation of the Polish Air Force between 1918 and 2018. 6 years on and I'm pleasantly surprised the aircraft is still wearing the celebratory scheme.

Heres a short video of the aircraft reversing into its bay, I apologize for the shakiness of the video, I'm no videographer and it was cold! https://youtu.be/iKhcPn1omxw?si=JdtDqXJ_5Qc3p6Yp<br>

Polish Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130E Hercules 1504 PLF253 - 14th Airlift Squadron - 33rd Air Base Powidz

As the sun started to set, one of the RAFs 8 C-17 Globemasters departed Oxfordshire destined for RAF Akrotiri. 

RAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III ZZ176 ASCOT6382 - 99 Squadron - RAF Brize Norton

Having missed it depart that morning, I was chuffed with the opportunity to shoot Vespina arrive back into RAF Brize Norton from Europe. I get the feeling that I'm taking this aircraft for granted, I really should make an effort to catch it more often. 

RAF Airbus Voyager KC2 ZZ336 ASCOT2819 - 10/101 Squadron - RAF Brize Norton

Since the retirement of the C-130s the Black Bourton gate has been a haven for broken A400s, as shown here with a a pair of A400s missing multiple propellers.

RAF Airbus A400M Atlas C.1 ZM402/ZM411 - 24/30/70 Squadron - RAF Brize Norton

The final movement that day came in the form of this Jupiter, seen departing back to RAF Shawbury after a very brief visit.

RAF Airbus Helicopters Jupiter HT1 ZM500 MALLARD213 - No1 Flying Training School - RAF Shawbury

14th February

Word came through on 13th February that an Antonov 124 would be in and out on 14th February, and as I was already off work, I headed across to catch this beast depart to RAF Akrotiri. I was shocked at how much runway it used!

Antonov Design Bureau AN-124 UR-82008 ADB591

24th February

Although it looks otherwise, I don't spend all of my life planespotting, I do have a job and other hobbies after all! So, after a brief Brize hiatus and with an Omani C-130 due to depart, I headed to Brize to catch it. With such a cool-looking camo and such nice weather, I'd of been a fool not to, especially on a weekend!

A shaky departure video can be found here: https://youtu.be/sSTdgGPzRGc?si=fv6O1Gw5vQ8Gxcwm

Royal Air Force of Oman Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules 506 MAJAN296 - 16 Squadron - Muscat International Airport

28th February 

Finally, after 8 years of visiting Brize, I caught the final based asset I still required in the form of C-17 ZZ171. I can't believe it took me so long to get an actual shot of it at Brize. If only I'd caught it a couple of years prior when it wore the special tail celebrating 20 years of RAF C-17 operations with 99 Squadron.

RAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III ZZ171 JACKDAW828 - 99 Squadron - RAF Brize Norton

Arriving on Monday 26th February was this Antonov An-30 of the Romanian Air Force, one of only 2 they currently operate. The aircraft was based here for the final week of February and departed today, March 1st. It was here on Open Skies operations, a treaty that allows NATO members to overfly each other's countries in unarmed aircraft to perform surveillance of points of interest, likely military installations. Until 2021, the USA and Russia were also a part of this treaty, however when the US left in 2020, Russia was worried that other NATO members would continue to perform surveillance on their nation and share the intelligence with the USA, and as such, they left in 2021. Although I never saw it, I remember when Russian Air Force An-30s frequented Brize on these Open Skies missions, and in 2018 the US sent their Open Skies aircraft, the Boeing OC-135B, to Oxford. The best I managed from that visit was a shot of it passing over my house heading out on a surveillance mission on April 5th, 2018. 

Unfortunately, my video skills, (or lack of!), let me down with this clip, I thought I'd video a minute-long clip to share, but it was 4 seconds long... nevertheless, here's a shaky clip of the An-30 preparing for departure: https://youtu.be/hhi5Vw4ke6I<br>

Romanian Air Force Antonov An-30 Clank 1104 OPENSKIES19T - Escadrilla 902 - Henri Coanda International Airport