RAF Fairford Base Visit

17/01/2024

*All photos you see are shared with permission. The only area I wasn't allowed to photograph was the building works taking place on the base at this time. 

On January 17th, 2024, I was fortunate enough to be invited into RAF Fairford and the air traffic control tower on the airfield. This was as a thank-you for assisting the Squadron with a photo project. It was an incredible day, and I cannot thank those who made it happen enough! It was interesting to learn about what goes on the other side of the fence and about the tower and air traffic control in general. Every Squadron member I had the pleasure of meeting was welcoming and even wanted to look at more of my photography and my website. While it was unfortunate that no aircraft flew in or out of the airfield during my visit, that certainly didn't dampen the day. I feel incredibly privileged to do what likely only a handful of people have been invited to do before, and I really cannot say how thankful I am to have had such an opportunity!

The view across to the northern pan and a U-2 hangar.

A wider view showcasing both of the U-2 hangars.

Looking down towards the Marston Meysey end of the base and the area affectionately known as the 'bomber loop.'

During Bomber Task Force deployments, the bomber crews take over this building for their mission planning. 

The Dunfield Loop is not used as often as other areas on base for aircraft parking.

Isn't it funny where you find your website? On the computer screens inside Fairford Tower was one place I never expected to see it!

Looking back to the side of the fence where I have spent so many hours, days even, watching aircraft since I started this hobby at Fairford in 2010.

A view of Runway 27, the U-2 hangars and the climate-controlled B-2 hangars.

The climate-controlled hangars, a place that becomes home to B-2 Spirits that occasionally visit RAF Fairford on Bomber Task Force deployments.

'Where Dragons Dwell'

This road leads down to Fairford residents, the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, launching the U-2S Dragon Lady almost every weekday. Unsurprisingly, this was an off-limits area due to the nature of the aircraft and its mission, as well as a lack of the relevant security clearances that would grant us access.

Not long after I had left the base, a USAF MC-130J called up Fairford tower to perform a single touch-and-go before heading onwards to RAF Northolt. 

USAF Lockheed Martin MC-130J Commando II 20-5941 STRIX01