‘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 #41

    Attend an airshow like you’ve never done before! We will be spending four days at the MCAS Beaufort Air Show - a showcase of the airpower and machines of the US Marines - including going air-to-air with some amazing performers on the arrivals day and full pro Photography Workshop with sunset and nightshoot! With a VIP Media chalet and promises of some great social time, this will be an awesome Assignment. We also await confirmation of further Assignments at MCAS Cherry Point and Charleston AFB.


    LOCATION: MCAS Beaufort
SUBJECT: MCAS Beaufort Air Show, showcasing MAG-31 with its six squadrons of USMC F/A-18C/D Hornets, plus the USMC and British F-35 Lightning IIs! Go air-to-air with show performers, enjy a VIP Media Chalet and  Aviation Photography Workshop with the pros on a sunset and nightshoot with the static aircraft!
    NOTE: We are also working on operational access to MCAS Cherry Point to work with the USMC EA-6B Prowler community, as well as Charleston AFB and it's C-17A Globemaster IIIs.
    DATE: 23rd April - 2nd May 20167
    PRICE: Land Only £1520 (or with flights from London £2335), Workshop & Media Package £320, Air-to-airs from £750.
CAPACITY: 8x photographers 

    INCLUDES: Flights (or Land Only), transfers, hotels, all logistics, booking and admin. 

    Attend an airshow like you’ve never done before! We will be spending four days at the MCAS Beaufort Air Show - a showcase of the airpower and machines of the US Marines - including going air-to-air with airshow performers on the arrivals day and a sunset/night shoot!
    We will be working with with the good people at 3G Aviation Media to provide an amazing visit to this USMC showcase. 3G has run numerous Workshops and aerial events and we have teamed up with them to offer air-to-air photography from a CASA 212 cameraship with multiple budget options.

    We will also be enjoying a dedicated VIP media chalet over the weekend and some great social time.

    We also await confirmation of further Assignments at MCAS Cherry Point and Charleston AFB. If these do not come through, time will be spent in the beautiful Kitty Hawk area, as well as other local aviation and workshop-related activities. These two extra Assignments (Cherry Point EA-6Bs and Charleston C-17s) are at an advanced stage but final approval is still awaited. However, may I take this opportunity to encourage you to book on the strength of the Beaufort show experience alone. 

Semper Fi!


    DAY 1: SUNDAY, 23rd APRIL
    Meet COAP and the Assignment photographers at London Heathrow (full flights package) or Raleigh Durham airport in beautiful North Carolina (Land Only). Timings etc available on request when booking.

    After meeting in the arrivals hall at Raleigh-Durham, we travel south to Havelock, where we stay three nights

    DAY 2: MONDAY, 24th APRIL
    We await approval for our visit to MCAS Cherry Point EA-6B Prowler community. These are the only flying examples of this electronic attack machine in the world and we hope to be shooting their squadron operations for two days of operational coverage.

    DAY 3: TUESDAY, 25th APRIL
    A return to Cherry Point to ensure weather and serviceability back-ups, location variety and briefing/interview time.

    If the approval does not come through, then the time will be spent at other locations in the area.

    This evening we drive to Myrtle Beach and check in for the night on the seafront.


    Departing early, we drive to Charleston, South Carolina. We wait approval for this first of two days with Charleston AFB’s mammoth C-17 Globemaster III fleet. The day would be spent shooting the ops and being briefed on the incredible cargo and troop undertakings of the C-17 fleet for some fascinating coverage.

    We then drive on to Beaufort, checking in for four nights.

    Going air-to-air with participants and show performers at the 2017 MCAS Beaufort Air Show! We will be working with our 3G Aviation Media colleagues to go air-to-air with selected performers as they arrive at MCAS Beaufort. More information below.

    DAY 6: FRIDAY, 28th APRIL
    A second day of potential flying and arrival/rehearsal action at the MCAS Beaufort Air Show. This picturesque base is home to no less than SIX squadrons of F/A-18C/D Hornets of the US Marine Corps’ MAG-31, as well as a USMC F-35B Lightning II unit and the Royal Navy test machines.

    The first show day of the MCAS Beaufort Air Show. Full-on US Marine Corps action! PLUS! You will have your own dedicated VIP media chalet and full photography Workshop for sunset and night photography with exclusive access. See below for more information.

    DAY 8: SUNDAY, 30th APRIL
    The second show day of the MCAS Beaufort Air Show. Once again enjoying our dedicated VIP Media chalet with great amenities, vantage and company. See below.

    After the flying programme has ended we return to Charleston for 1 night.

    DAY 9: MONDAY, 1st MAY

    Once approved, a return visit to Charleston AFB to finalise our coverage at this C-17 megabase.

    Late afternoon we depart for Charleston International Airport to drop off for the flights back home. Full package flights will depart to London via Charlotte; Land Only travellers will be dropped at the same time.

    DAY 10: TUESDAY, 2nd MAY
    Our transatlantic flights arrives back in London late morning. 

    We will be working with super experienced 3G Aviation Media for the aerial photography built into this Assignment, subject to full operational, security, and weather caveats. We hope to have the flexibility to work around the weather for this important part of the proceedings, but operations, serviceability and weather WILL be fully taken into account. If all goes to plan, this will see you board a specially-chartered CASA 212 operated by a commercial company based in the local area, for use as an aerial cameraship for a number of planned flights. The aircraft will form up behind us with the cargo ramp lowered for a fully briefed and co-ordinated aerial photography mission.

    There is a number of subjects being worked on and we await the full plan. Confirmed so far is the incredible Patty Wagstaff (just to be in the same airspace at the same time as this all-time aviation legend is enough!), as well as a F4U Corsair and P-51 Mustang and the GEICO SkyTypers demo team. We await confirmation of others.

    As it stands now, there will be three flights and each seat is expected to be around £750. You can sign up for all three and this is expected to be around £1995. Each flight is expected to be around 1.5hrs. This is based on current exchange rate and the cost and the airborne time is subject to change.

    We cannot stress enough how much these engagements are subject to the above caveats. As with any aerial sortie, plans constantly change right up to the moment that the subject is in your viewfinder, nothing is guaranteed and your booking is made on that basis.


    Possibly the coolest airshow package in the world!

    You will have all-day access to the 3G Aviation Media chalet at the MCAS Beaufort Air Show. Stop by, eat lunch, take advantage of the front-row shooting opportunities or cool off and rest your feet in the tent with a drink!   

Once the airshow flying ends on Saturday, attendees will assemble at the chalet for an overview of the evening's photographic events. Doug Glover will kick off the classes with a quick overview of Flightline Safety, covering what you need to know to safely work on the MCAS Beaufort flightline during the photoshoot. Tony Granata will then cover some photography basics to ensure that all of the workshop attendees are able to maximize the capabilities of their cameras during the photoshoot. The last class of the afternoon will cover sunset photography techniques and planning so that you can be successful during the evening's photo shoot and on your own in the future.

    Once the light becomes golden, attendees will be escorted to the part of the flightline where the evening's subjects are located. We will have to remain within the area defined by our military escorts, but all of the aircraft in that area are fair game for you to photograph.  We will practice the sunset shooting techniques covered earlier and the 3G instructors will be on hand to assist you with any questions you have.  With the open expanse of the runways behind some of the subjects and airshow pavilions behind others, you will be challenged in your composition, but remember, this is an airshow, use what others would think of as clutter to tell the story of the aircraft!

    After the sun sets, the group will gather around the subjects for the twilight shoot where Tony will demonstrate light painting and Doug will use off-camera flash  techniques.  Attendees are encouraged to move between the two twilight shoots to maximise their learning during the evening. We will conclude our shooting approximately one hour after sunset (around 9PM) and depart the flightline with our military escorts.  Anyone wishing to meet up with Doug and Tony afterwards for a quick debrief of the photoshoot over dinner and drinks is welcome to do so, but it is by no means mandatory!

    Workshop topics will include:
        Working with Light
        Sunset photo shoot planning
        Airshow Photography gear bag / Flight Line Safety

    Package includes…
        Exclusive front-row access near show centre
        Catered lunch
        Beverage service throughout airshow
        Hands-on assistance and techniques during airshow from 3G team
    Airshow access
        Access at the 3G Aviation Media chalet.
        Hands-on assistance and techniques during airshow from 3G team
        Sunset photography photo sessions and lessons
        One-on-one photography instruction, tailored to YOUR skill level
        Access to vintage and modern military aircraft as photo subjects


    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!