‘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 #28

    The Polish AF’s awesome Su-22M-4 ‘Fitter’ fleet at Swidwin, the rare Mi-14 ‘Haze’ fleet at Darlowo, plus the incredible industry work being undertaken at the WZL facility at Bydgoszcz. 

    LOCATION: Swidwin, Darlowo & Bydgoszcz
    SUBJECT: The Polish AF’s awesome Su-22M-4 ‘Fitter’ fleet at Swidwin, the rare Mi-14 ‘Haze’ fleet at Darlowo, plus the re-work facility at Bydgoszcz.
    DATE: 3-7 October 2016
    PRICE: From £895pp
    CAPACITY: 10x photographers
    INCLUDES: Return flights, accommodation, breakfast, transfers, evening and night (ops dependent), workshop.

    Fitters, Haze & Industry: Assignment overview
    Up close and operational on the runways, taxiways and flightlines of Swidwin with the brutish Su-22 ‘Fitter’ fleet, followed by time with the rare Mi-14 ‘Haze’ helos at Darlowo and a rare, inside visit into the busy re-work facility of Bydgoszcz.

    This is a very special visit, with incredible opportunities for photography and reporting on the ‘Fitter’ fleet, the last remaining ‘Haze’ (both types being the last in Europe), as well as the fascinating work being undertaken at the WZL Bydogszsz plant. This latter facility is a leading industry plant, keeping the fighter fleet alive with ongoing deep maintenance and upgrades, as well as tendering for business from other nations’ Russian-built jets.

    We also expect to be joined by leading Polish photographer Bartek Bera, whose work amongst the rotary-wing force is greatly respected.

    This Assignment should yield some excellent results from some fascinating subjects.

    Between 04:45 and 05:15 please hand in your hold luggage at Ryanair’s Bag Drop at London’s Stansted Airport - you should have checked in already on-line. Then meet Rich Cooper of COAP, and fellow photographers, who will be gathering in the immediate area. As this is a very busy time of the day at the airport, latest check-in time we recommend is 90 minutes prior to departure, i.e. 05:15.

    London Stansted, Flight FR2462
Departs 06:45
    Arrives 09:55 at Bydogszsz

    After Immigration Control we collect our luggage from Baggage Reclaim and proceed through Customs into the Arrivals Hall where we meet our driver. We then head straight to the WZL Bydogszsz plant, for an incredible ‘behind the scenes’ visit to this highly important and news-worthy upgrade and maintenance facility. It is where the Polish AF fighter fleet is kept alive, with deep servicing and modification, as well as undertaking other business for other air arms. It will be a fascinating visit and one which will produce media interest.

    In the evening, we make our way across western Poland to the town of Łobez, about a 3-hour drive. Łobez is in the heart of West Pomerania, and the Świętoborzec Hotel is 2kms away from the town centre. We stay 2 nights on a bed and breakfast basis. It is approximately 15 miles from Swidwin airbase.

    Today we spend the first of two days in amongst the heavyweight action at Swidwin (21st Tactical Air base), with its fleet of Su-22M-4/UM-3K ‘Fitters’. These mighty, swing-wing fighter-bombers are operated by two squadrons (40.elt and 8.elt) and are the last of their kind in Europe (and something of a rarity in the rest of the world too). We will be ‘up close and operational’ from the start to the end of the flying (timings TBA) - expect a lot of noise and action as we shoot from the live ramp, taxiways and runway and get under the skin of the squadrons. We return to the hotel at the end of the day’s flying, and this may or may not include night operations (to be confirmed).

    A repeat of the above, ensuring that all vantage points and lighting conditions are encompassed.

 At the end of our visit we drive to Lake Jamno and check in to the Emocja Spa Hotel. Located in Unieście by Lake Jamno, the hotel is a 5-minutes’ walk from a sandy Baltic Sea beach. We stay 2 nights on a bed and breakfast basis. It is approximately 22 miles from Darlowo airbase.

    The number of active military Mi-14 ‘Haze’ ASW helos left operational in the world can be pretty much counted on one hand. The Polish Navy fleet is the last place in Europe where these large amphibious machines operate, and we will be spending time with the crews and machines and any flight operations will be covered to the full (they do not fly very often). We also hope to be joined by one of Poland’s finest photographers for this visit as our joint host.


    The morning is a back-up period for flight operations of the Mi-14s, or time spent in a Workshop environment at the hotel.

    Late afternoon we drive to Gdansk Airport and check-in with Ryanair for our flight back to Stansted.

    Gdansk Airport, Flight FR2373, departs 22:25
    Arrives 23:40 at London Stansted

    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!