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Exotic Wings & Exotic Wings Extreme

Bringing you the best opportunities in aviation photography…


Travel to the action, immerse yourself photography, shoot rarities, visit ‘bucket list’ destinations, experience the thrill of the chase, learn from specialists all over the world, enjoy a fantastic social scene… There really is nothing like it.

COAP has decades of professional experience in delivering aviation photography, whether it’s a professional and enthusiast engagement across military air arms and commercial operators, visiting airshows or conducting air-to-air photography sorties.

These operations are strictly for photographers and are dedicated to spending quality time in the best vantage points, often executed with local knowledge and experience in place, and sometimes working towards a specific end result for our hosts.

Such visits may include a Workshop tutorial or have a Masterclass built into them, whereby aircrew or specialist aviation photographers will present to the group in a relaxed, interactive format.

The EW Extreme operations include travel off the beaten track, and are more suited to the dedicated photographer that loves the thrill of the chase. They offer a chance to travel with pro aviation shooters, with in-country experience and local contacts, which otherwise may be too daunting or difficult to achieve. Not for the faint-hearted, you never know what you are going to get on the adventure, but if you do come away with results they will surely be of the highest and rarest quality.

Exotic Wings overview…

•  Small groups of dedicated photographers, spending quality time immersed in aviation photography.
•  Shadow the pros and develop your technique.
•  Workshop/Masterclass often built into the assignment.
•  Produce stunning end results.
•  Solid travel itinerary.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Exotic Wings #82

    Just can't get enough of them? Haven't managed to get over there yet? Or just want one last Phinal goodbye to some of the most revered aircraft in the world? Japanese Phantoms are a dying breed and the charismatic RF-4E/RF-4EJ Phantom II fleet of 501 Hikotai will be retired in March 2020. This photography trip in February aims to catch any last gasp breaths of RF operations, as well as the final drawdown of 301 Hikotai with the F-4EJ variant, which will cease ops within a year. Costs from £1590 land only (see individual itineraries below).

    This photographic adventure is split into three options...
    1) EW82A(15-24th February) with a mix of Hyakuri ops, plus flying north for the snow-covered JASDF fighters at the F-15J Eagle base at Chitose, as well as a weekend in Tokyo. 
    2) EW82B (24th to 29th February) solely Hyakuri. 
    3) EW82C: The option of travelling for both weeks. 

    What to expect...

    • * Photography at Hyakuri from dawn to dusk (and beyond if necessary!). Whatever flying there is will be absolutely maximised for the best possible opportunity to shoot these aircraft is all weathers and all lightning conditions.
    • * A fantastic excursion north for snow-filled JASDF F-15J Eagle operations at Chitose. Awesome sights and an awesome photography adventure!
    • * A sense-saturating free weekend in Tokyo.
    • * Super experience - this will be our 24th visit to the country.
    • * Excellent food, drink and social times!
    • * Cost from £1590 land only, see below under the individual itineraries.
    • * The chance to do two different itineraries, or combine them both.
    • * The opportunity to extend into your own exploration of the amazing country has on offer to the tourist.

    Visiting Japan with COAP is a piece of cake. And a bloody tasty one at that. Epic adventures, dizzying culture and stunning photography interspersed with quality socials and great laughs over food and beers. It’s just brilliant. You can keep it short and sweet and just hit the Phantoms, or you can take advantage of the season's best action and head north for snow-filled air superiority fighters, or combine the two! It's a long way to travel, so mixing it up is a good thing. Of course, you also have the option to extend your stay into your own programme of tourist sights and experiences too!

    Make no mistake, the heyday of the JASDF F-4 is over. The 501 Hikotai RF-4E/EJs will have just days left to fly before their retirement in late March, this really is the last chance. Although we have it on good authority that operations will be continuing to the end, the pace will be slow, and some days may even be non-flying days. The same goes for the resident F-4EJs of 301 - they have about a year left, so numbers will be slightly more, but it is important to manage expectations. During December, there were around eight jets on the 301 line with two four-ships a day and around four/six jets on the 501 ramp, with two/four jets launched a day. Nothing is guaranteed, except the fact that this will be the last ever chance to go for it.

    Sometimes in aviation photography you need to push yourself and challenge the boundaries. Shooting in winter conditions, in all weathers, day and night, is absolutely that. The light will be gorgeous or terrible, the weather gin-clear or white-out... And this trip, and our excursion to shoot the JASDF F-15J units at Chitose will epitomise that. Especially at Chitose, where the winter warriors are a master at operating in these elements! We greatly look forward to this addition to the itinerary for the challenge of it and the chance of excellent, rare results.

    This is the outline itinerary for EW82A...

    Sunday 16th February: Meeting in the Tourist Information Centre area of Narita's Terminal 1 at 1130hrs, we gather the party from all over the world and collect the transport. We then head north to Mito for our first night, a relaxed affair with a good meal and drink in the local taverns ahead of the action.

    Monday 17th February: An early start being likely, hitting the road and heading towards the Phantom mecca. The day will be spent in the best locations around the base of Hyakuri, which we know inside and out. Once the operations are over (and whether or not they are night flying), we head back to the hotel for some of Japan's excellent food and drink.

    Tuesday 18th February: A repeat of the above, maximising all of the lighting and weather-related opportunities around the pattern of flight ops.

    Wednesday 19th February: Another full day at Hyakuri, this time leaving in the evening to head back to Narita airport ahead of our flight to Hokkaido island in the morning.

    Thursday 20th February: Departing Narita at 0720hrs, we land at Chitose at 0840hrs and begin preparations for an epic adventure to shoot JASDF F-15J Eagles in the snow. By the time the evening comes and the light has faded, we'll be back into the hotel to warm up and head out for a cosy evening meal.

    Friday 21st February: Another full day at Chitose, where the weather and lighting changes in an instant. There will also be the chance to shoot some dramatic airliner snow action too.

    Saturday 22nd February: Today we fly south, landing back to Narita at lunchtime and heading directly into Tokyo, where we check into a central hotel and have a free afternoon, evening and night in this vibrant, exciting city.

    Sunday 23rd February: A free day in the mega metropolis that is Tokyo - one of the most exciting cities on the planet. You will have the option to return to Narita Airport if you wish, if you have an early return flight on Monday.

    Monday 24th February: We head to Narita airport in the morning, either to fly home or to meet up with the next group of photographers. 

    EW82A COSTS: Nine days travel, eight nights quality hotel accommodation, single rooms, return flights from Narita to Chitose with extra baggage and seating upgrade, all transport, logistics, booking, admin, TC services, COAP management, ATOL protection: From £2298.
    (Flights to Japan from your choice of airport available for quotation on request. Extended travel itinerary services available on request to allow you to explore more of the country).

    This is the outline itinerary for EW83B...

    Monday 24th February: For those joining for the second period only, we will be meeting at the Tourist Information Centre area of Narita Terminal 1 from around Noon. We then collect our transport for the week ahead and head north to Mito.

    Tuesday 25th February: Hyakuri's last chance for the Recce jets! An early start being likely, we will be hitting the road and heading towards the Phantom mecca. The day will be spent in the best locations around the base of Hyakuri, which we know inside and out. Once the operations are over (and whether or not they are night flying), we head back to the hotel for some of Japan's excellent food and drink - certainly an important element of the trip!

    Wednesday 26th February: Another full day at Hyakuri. Due to the slower pace of ops, it is absolutely vital to spend the period of time here to catch as much action as possible. Patience will be a virtue!

    Thursday 27th February: Another chance to experiment with off-the-beaten-track positions for the lighting and varying ops patterns, and maximising all of the lighting and weather-related opportunities around the pattern of flight ops.

    Friday 28th February: The Phinal Day! In the evening, we head back to Narita ahead of the departures the next day. 

    Saturday 29th February: Shuttle bus to the airport terminal to coincide with your flight home, as well as the chance to extend your stay if you wish to explore the country. 

    EW82B COSTS: Six days travel, five nights quality hotel accommodation insingle rooms, all transport, logistics, booking, admin, TC services, COAP management, ATOL protection: From £1590. 
    (Flights to Japan from your choice of airport available for quotation on request. Extended travel itinerary services available on request to allow you to explore more of the country).

    EW82C COSTS (both itineraries combined): Thirteen days travel, twelve nights hotel accommodation, single rooms, return flights from Narita to Chitose in EW82A with extra baggage and seating upgrade, all transport, logistics, booking, admin, TC services, COAP management, ATOL protection: From £2985.
    (Flights to Japan from your choice of airport available for quotation on request. Extended travel itinerary services available on request to allow you to explore more of the country).


    HOW TO BOOK: Please send an e-mail to contact@centreofaviationphotography.com indicating which trip you would like and whether you would like a quote for flights from your originating airport too.

    QUESTIONS?
    Questions about the Operations of the Event? E-mail Rich on rich@centreofaviationphotography.com 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.

58110
Hours of photographic operations
available through COAP this year!
630
Hours of expert training
available through COAP this year!
1225
Hours of expert insider knowledge
available through COAP this year!