The request to stay away from the airport was all due to 'health & safety concerns'. The sort of thing that pisses me off no end. One year ago, I took the shot above, just after she'd done a fantastic mini display for the couple of hundred people around the outskirts of the airport. There were dozens of cars parked along the road and yet the Vulcan flew over them several times, showing off some fantastic manoeuvres. In my younger days the whole family were occasionally driven up to the old Roman road at Waddington by my dad and we had multiple Vulcans flying right over our heads, both in the car and sometimes sat outside having a picnic, also, I have seen video from yesterday's landing taken by someone stood on top of a van, right under the flight path, so I'm more than a little sceptical when asked to stay away for 'Health & Safety concerns'
Still, the next flight was going south east from Finningley and Gringley on the hill was shown as right under the flight path. This is only a 7 or 8 minute drive from home, so considering the request to stay away, Gringley seemed like a reasonable spot to go to. On a clear day you can see the airport from the hill and you can definitely hear a Vulcan taking off.
I got there in plenty of time as walking up the hill is a bit of an effort and was first there with half an hour before the planned take off. It was a little misty in the low lying areas but once she was in the air, there would be a good clear view as she took off north, banked right and flew straight towards the gathering crowd, (about 30 turned up) this was a good choice, it was going to be great, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, a delay to take off time was the first sign of an issue, somebody tweeted that there was a 10 minute delay. Then we heard that familiar sound of a Vulcan speeding along the runway and immediately realised that she was taking off south, not north and south she continued, only turning east about a mile south of Bawtry, bringing her below Gringley about a mile or two away. The best shot I got is below.
Rubbish shot, isn't it? It was very quiet walking back down the hill, although I did hear someone mention their regret about not going to Finningley. My feeling exactly, why show a route and then deviate from it immediately? I planned to go to the airport for the return but was too tired to bother. The next flight, was the farewell tour of the north, potentially taking in Gainsborough, so all was not lost.
Home town flight
How hard can it be?
Saturday October the 10th arrived and it was confirmed Gainsborough was the first place on the route. Excellent. Then I had to decide where to go to get my shot. The published route didn't help much, the marked path showed them going over Morton, not Gainsborough, the waypoint was pretty much over the roundabout at the bottom of Thorndyke way, closer to the town centre and the name given to the turning point was Gainsborough south. So, it was very difficult to work out where to go from the map. I decided to be positive and go with the Gainsborough south bit, as that's where I live.
During the 2015 season, I normally see her in the distance, as in my Gringley pic, flying almost straight south towards Newark and thought that the likely path would be that they would fly south then turn east as they had done last week then turn hard left between Lea and Gainsborough and fly along the line of the Trent and over town, this seemed to be the most likely scenario to me. They were heading north and the waypoint was called Gainsborough south, so surely, this was very likely?
I set up a camera over the road, pointing towards the house which I could set off remotely from my bedroom. Then planted myself in the west facing ensuite and watched out the window and waited for that familiar shape to come into view. It was at this point that the wifi decided to throw a fit, so I couldn't track her online. No problem though, I can see for miles from here. Take off time arrived and passed, still no triangle to be seen. Then a shout from Roz in the bedroom, 'She's coming', 'where?' I replied moving towards the bedroom window. It was that moment when I realised just how wrong my guess was. They'd taken off north, sharp right to the Trent then right again and flew south over town along the line of the river.