Jonathan Young was one of two COAP members to respond to the chance of going air-to-air with the stunning Seafire SX336 in the hands of John Beattie in mid September.
I was enjoying a family holiday in Cyprus when I checked Facebook to see what was going on in the world. Imagine my surprise when I saw a “heads up” on the COAP feed for an opportunity for an air-to-air shoot with a Seafire! I duly sent the email expressing interest and after a couple of phone calls with Steve Comber from COAP, I was fortunate to get the opportunity to join the mission. I was then sent a very comprehensive joining instruction courtesy of Neil Cave of TLE, part of the organising team.
“In summary the whole experience of a warbird air-to-air had been amazing and I am extremely grateful to all who made it happen. If I had not checked the COAP Facebook page I would have missed out so I would recommend everyone to keep a close eye on the COAP social media as you never know when the next opportunity will present itself! ”
Fast forward to Friday morning where I met Steve and Neil at a very cloudy Thruxton, Hants. The early weather indications did not look good and while the photographers on the sortie enjoyed tea and bacon sandwiches Steve and Neil were working very hard behind the scenes. I lost count of the number of phone calls to the pilots of the Seafire and Beach 99 cameraship as well as the consulting of maps and weather charts. Soon the revised times and route was confirmed and it was time to kit up!
As the cameraship made its way to Thruxton we were fitted with our harnesses and briefed on the specifics of the shoot. Steve also took the time to give us some excellent advice on how to approach the shoot and the camera settings that would bring the best results.
All that remained was to strap in and soon we were in a full power climb away from Thruxton as we made our way to meet the Seafire over nearby Boscombe Down, Wilts. With the door open and the wind rushing in we took our positions as briefed.
What followed was absolutely fantastic, as Seafire pilot John Beattie treated us to as stunning series of profiles, topsides and breaks and gave an amazing demonstration of the capabilities of the Seafire.
All too soon it was time for John and the Seafire to give us a farewell break and we headed back for a brew and a de brief.
In summary the whole experience of a warbird air-to-air had been amazing and I am extremely grateful to all who made it happen. If I had not checked the COAP Facebook page I would have missed out so I would recommend everyone to keep a close eye on the COAP social media as you never know when the next opportunity will present itself!