‘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 #16

    Shooting the busy action of the Swiss AF F/A-18C/D Hornets and F-5E/F Tiger IIs at the picturesque base of Sion.


    LOCATION: Sion, Switzerland
    SUBJECT: Swiss AF F/A-18C/D Hornets & F-5E/F Tigers
    DATE: 7-11 March 2016
    PRICE: From £925
    CAPACITY: 8x photographers
    INCLUDES: This is a fly-drive, guided visit not an official operational visit, perfect for those that want a lot of action or have never been to Switzerland before.

    Sion Hornets & Tigers: Assignment overview
    Shooting the busy action of the Swiss AF F/A-18C/D Hornets and F-5E/F Tiger IIs at the picturesque base of Sion. This is a fly-drive, guided visit, not an official operational visit, perfect for those that want a lot of action, fantastic photographic opportunities, or if you have never been to Switzerland before.

    Sion is a truly beautiful place to shoot and the Swiss AF will be in full action. We will cover the Hornets and Tigers in every conceivable way possible! Due to the unique nature of the Swiss AF’s operations, the military rotates its operations throughout its main bases, which offers some fantastic photography opportunities. During this Assignment, the Hornets and Tigers will be operating out of the beautiful air base of Sion and will be on Repetition Training during this period, guaranteeing action as far as possible.

    This is not an operational squadron visit, but a guided visit to the best locations to shoot the action in the company of professional photographers that will be on hand at all times to guide you through the process.

    When not shooting the evening/night launches, you are offered the opportunity for personal critique and/or editing skills.


    DAY 1: Monday 7th March
    Between 12:00 and 12:55 please check-in with Swiss Airlines in Terminal 2 at London’s Heathrow Airport. Then meet Rich Cooper of COAP, and fellow photographers, who will be gathering in the immediate area. Latest check-in time advised by the airline is 2 hours prior to departure, i.e. 12:25.

    Heathrow Airport, Terminal 2
    Flight LX355 departs 14:25
    Arrives Geneva Airport at 17:05

    After Immigration Control we collect our luggage from Baggage Reclaim and proceed through Customs into the Arrivals Hall and walk to the airport’s railway station.  We take the 18:21 train to Sion, the journey taking 1 hour and 50 minutes.

    From the railway station we transfer the 3 miles to the Hotel Ibis Sion Est which is located on the outskirts of the small town, but only 1.3 miles from the civil and military airfield. We stay 4 nights on a bed and breakfast basis, on-site facilities include restaurant, bar and Wi-Fi. Hotel website here.

    DAY 2, 3 & 4: Tuesday 8th, Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th March
    We spend three full days shooting the busy action at Sion. Expect a lot of take-off and recoveries of Swiss AF F/A-18 Hornets and F-5 Tigers, which will be on a busy training schedule in all weathers and all lighting conditions. We will be spending time in all of the best vantage points to cover every angle and aspect of the action.

    A donation towards the cost of transport to/from/around the base will be appreciated.

    DAY 5: Friday 11th March
    Departing the hotel at 09:30 we transfer to the railway station and board the 10:10 train to Geneva Airport, arriving at 12:09.

    Latest recommended check in with Swiss Airlines is 2 hours prior to departure: 13:50

    Geneva Airport
    Flight LX348 departs 15:50
    Arrives Heathrow Airport, Terminal 2, at 16:35

    Joining & Booking

    1) SIGN UP:
    Click any of the big green buttons to create an account to sign up for free.
    2) WATCH YOUR INBOX: Once this is ready to book we will contact you directly.
    3) BOOK: Login to the site and this page will become live for bookings. All you need to do is click the red button and fill in the booking form (and remember to pack your camera!)

    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!