‘Up close and operational’ shoots with the world’s military.

COAP has decades of professional experience in journalism and photography in the engagement with military air arms across the world. As such, Assignments will be undertaken to frontline units that will see small groups of dedicated photographers embark on specific Assignments to visit the units, experience squadron life, be positioned amongst the action and meet the men and women on an operational base. These visits are strictly for photographers and are dedicated to spending quality time in the best vantage points, all executed with full security and safety procedures in place. Often such visits will result in a publication being available to the host unit after the event for their own purposes, as well as a Workshop to produce the end product. Some Assignments will also have a Masterclass built into them, whereby aircrew or specialist aviation photographers will present to the group in a relaxed, interactive format.

UK-based Assignments will raise money for charitable organisations associated with specific host units.

• Go ‘up close and operational’ with the world’s military
• Small groups of dedicated photographers, spending quality time on the frontline
• Shadow the pros and develop your technique
• Workshop/Masterclass often built into the assignment
• Produce stunning end results
• Raise money for charity

  • Would I recommend COAP to anyone? Without hesitation. It is a fantastic experience for anyone who likes taking aviation photos. The Centre of Aviation Photography is without a doubt the best thing I have done for my photography.

    Robert, Workshop attendee.

  • It was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments to be quite honest.

    Mark, Photo Shoot attendee.

  • What doesn’t change are the principles of great access and the opportunity to test and enhance your photographic skills not to mention the social side of gathering with fellow enthusiasts.

    Ian, Exotic Wings traveller.

  • I came out of the Workshop buzzing! A very enjoyable, relaxed and well planned event. I learned that the photograph is the end product, but getting that end product takes a lot of learning, a lot of effort, and on my part, a different way of thinking.

    David, Workshop attendee.

  • It was brilliant and exhilarating

    Mark, Air-to-Air shooter.

  • In a word: Superb. Nothing but praise from start to finish.

    Rolf, Photo Shoot attendee.

  • This week has been one of the best weeks of my life. It was nothing short of amazing. I'm so passionate about my photography and finally feel I have found a place to learn more with COAP. And to top it all one of the pilots wants one of my images!

    Mark, Exotic Wings traveller.

  • Holding a camera doesn't make a person a photographer, same as holding a driving license doesn't make someone a driver… COAP is a game changer. My thinking totally changed after the Wroskhop

    Adrian, Workshop attendee.

  • I look forward to the next ops – I’ve got the air-to-air bug for sure!

    Ian, Air-to-Air shooter.

  • Thoroughly enjoyable insight into life on a front-line RAF squadron with unparalleled photographic opportunities. Exceptional.

    Leigh, Photo Shoot attendee.

  • We never shot from the same place twice; between the different vantage points, the changing light and weather, and the reversal of flight ops as the wind switched, there was such a variety to the photographic opportunities.

    Steve, Exotic Wings traveller.

  • It was an incredible rush.

    Erik, Air-to-Air shooter.

  • It was just truly incredible and something I will never forget. I didn’t just have such an amazing time and snapped some beautiful aircraft, I met amazing people who I am still in contact with.

    Josef, Photo Shoot attendee.

  • These have been immensely enjoyable, well run, good value bearing in mind the opportunities they deliver and all with a great social atmosphere, comradeship and not forgetting the essential ingredient of a good dose of banter!

    Tim, Exotic Wings traveller.

  • It was extremely informative and taught me a lot about taking aviation pictures even though i have been doing it for thirty years. I can’t wait to try things out.

    Andy, Workshop attendee.

  • The rush of looking out from the open ramp at the aircraft that get really close is amazing. This really is something you have to have experienced as an aviation photographer. The opportunity that COAP and Aviation Photocrew gave was amazing.

    Erik, Air-to-Air Shooter.

  • Exceptional, unrestricted access to life on a front-line squadron that is normally denied to members of the public. An excellent visit and I have to pinch myself to bring home the fact that I really was there and I was that close .

    Ian, Photo Shoot attendee.

  • Long days and an epic week that none of us will ever forget with experiences that will live for us forever. Fantastic COAP trip.

    Carl, Exotic Wings traveller.

  • I can quite categorically say that was the most important and inspirational click on a mouse in my life and completely changed how I approach all my photography and editing.

    Mark, Workshop attendee.

  • This was such an exhilarating experience, something that I’ll never forget. This is something that has been on my bucket list for a long time, but now I’d like to repeat this on a regular basis, it’s so addictive!

    Darren, Air-to-Air shooter.

  • Air Combat EU provided a simply exhilarating experience for my first air-to-air back seat photography flight. Any feelings of apprehension were allayed by the support and ideas given during both the pre-flight briefings and the flights themselves. The pilots were knowledgeable, safe and informative throughout the entire experience and I constantly caught myself smiling even when I was upside down!

    Carl, COAP ACE Graduate.

  • I knew it would be good but had no idea it would be that good! So much variety and so much time face to face with such fantastic machines, as well as some really good company for three days.

    Chris, Air-to-Air shooter.

  • The course will show what is involved in the planning and execution of an air-to-air sortie to produce the type of images that you see in books and magazines.

    Mark, COAP ACE Graduate.

  • The opportunity to fly with Air Combat EU and COAP was a fantastic chance to experience the planning and execution of backseat air-to-air photography. Under the expert guidance of the COAP pros and former fast jet crews the results were better than I could have ever hoped for as a ‘first timer’. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the experience.

    Neil, COAP ACE Graduate.

  • Assignment #10

    An unbelievable photographic opportunity tin paradise, with a rare chance to get up close and operational with the US Navy Aggressor F-5 Tigers at NAS Key West.

    LOCATION: NAS Key West, Florida
    SUBJECT: Two days shooting the Aggressor F-5s at NAS Key West and visiting US Navy units. Plus Workshop with José Ramos-Navarrate, a world-class shooter & USN specialist.
    DATE: 11-14 November 2015
    PRICE: To Follow
    CAPACITY: 15x photographers
    INCLUDES: Hotels (B&B), transfers, private coach and driver, workshops, plus all logistics, booking & admin. Land only and trans-atlantic flights options.

    USN Aggressors: Overview
    A photographer’s paradise... in paradise! A short, sharp and very sweet US Navy hit with the enigmatic US Navy Aggressor unit, VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’ flying the super-cool F-5 Tiger IIs out of NAS Key West. This promises to be a fantastic photography fest, with two deployed US Navy EA-18G Growler units, a Hornet training squadron, plus Aggressor support from ATAC. What’s more, top US Navy shooter José Ramos will be with the group and will showcase his work (including full behind the scenes access on an aerial photo shoot), as well as sunrise, ramp, taxiway and runway access... in paradise!

    There are some communities within the world’s military that have a certain level of presence and prowess above all others. The US Navy’s Aggressor squadrons are the epitome of ‘fighter pilot’ and VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’ is the tip of that spear.

    Adding to the enigma, the ‘Sundowners’ ply their trade out of ‘paradise’ - NAS Key West, Florida, one of the finest stations in the world from which to base a photographic Assignment.

    The programme will cover fully operational photographic access in all areas and photography scenarios (including a special sunrise shoot). It will also have Workshops built into it, delivered by top US Navy shooter José Ramos, including a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how a fast-jet air-to-air sortie is undertaken.

    This is a two-day visit with full access, enabling weather, light, location and serviceability to be as effective as possible to ensure quality results.

    Furthermore, there are other US Navy assets on detachment to Key West at time, including two EA-18G Growler squadrons, as well as ATATC aggressor support aircraft (operational caveats apply). Access to these units has also been arranged.

    Expected units...
    VFC-111 'Sundowners', F-5N/F Tiger II Boca Chica Base Field Base Flight, MH-60S Seahawk
    VFA-106 'Gladiators', F/A-18B, C, E, D, F Hornet/Super Hornet
    VAQ-129 'Vikings' EA-18G Growler
    VAQ-131 'Lancers' EA-18G Growler
    ATAC F-21 Kfir/Hunter Aggressors


    Day 1: Wednesday 11 November
    Depart London for the trans-Atlantic flight to Miami International. Times TBD. Board transfer bus to Marathon at 16.00hrs, arriving at our hotel early evening.

    Day 2 Thursday 12 November
    Arriving at the NAS at 08:00hrs, we then have a mission briefing before heading out to the ramp and runway with full access during the morning launches. We then visit VFA-106 FRS, followed by catching the recoveries. The afternoon covers more taxiway, runway and pre-sunset take-offs, as well as an aerial sortie Workshop. Leaving the base at around 19:00hrs, we then return to our hotel (about an hour’s drive).

    The other detached squadrons will also be operating (VAQ-129, VAQ-131 and ATAC).

    Day 3: Friday 13 November
    A repeat of the above programme, with the added extra of a spectacular 05:30hrs sunrise shoot of an F-5 Tiger. Daytime locations swapped, including a visit to ATAC, and allowing for changes to serviceability, weather, runway heading and lighting conditions. Evening in Key West.

    Day 4: Saturday 14 November
    Depart Miami for the flight to London, timings TBD (likely to be early evening).

    It is estimated to be around £600-£800 for land only and estimated to be around £1500 to £1800 with airfares. For various reasons we cannot give the exact price until we have the full bookings ready to go (especially on the air fares as these are changing daily). You are very welcome to book your own flight, but will need to meet at the arrivals hall at Miami airport at a pre-determined time (late afternoon/early evening) for the transfer down to the Florida Keys, and will be returned to Miami Airport on Saturday evening.

    Please note that you are not legally bound to book by responding at this stage, but it will allow us to finalise the Assignment price and therefore you can make your final decision (ie, we require you to respond with a "in principle, I would like to book based on this estimate") and we will notify you accordingly. Please respond asap by calling +44 (0)1932 255625 or e-mailing (deadline close of business tomorrow Friday 23rd) as bookings are aimed at Monday next week (26th), when we will finalise the bookings, transfers and airfares and therefore your place on the Assignment can be confirmed.

    Questions about the Operations of the Event? E-mail Rich on or call direct on +44 (0)7768 816029

    THE SMALL PRINT: All dates are preliminary until confirmed and ready for booking. All events are subject to change (especially the Assignments, as they are conducted with operational squadrons) and are subject to security, operational, technical or weather issues. As such, COAP, Service Providers and the respective militaries are not responsible for cancellation at any stage, bad weather or non-flying activity. Safety and Insurance is your own responsibility and risk. Safety and insurance is your own responsibility and risk. Please note that some Assignments can be very, very physically demanding, in extreme weather, for extended periods of time, with intense , fast-moving activity and any bookings are accepted on that basis. If you have any questions about the physical undertaking, please get in contact.

Hours of photographic operations
available through COAP this year!
Hours of expert training
available through COAP this year!
Hours of expert insider knowledge
available through COAP this year!