Japan 2008 Trip

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Thum 27An early start was also on the schedule fort his day as we hoped to see some regular flying activity of the JASDF F-4 Phantoms and P-3 Orions at Naha. Furthermore the forecast for this Friday was the best for the next three days that we were going to stay on this Pacific island. The visitors deck at the airport opened at 8 but a fence of steel cables and a double fence made photography nearly impossible. Thus we decided to stay inside the Terminal and try our luck by clicking away through the windows. Of course the results were not very good and the aircraft taking off already quite high. As an Orion took off for a training mission and did several touch&goes we got quite excided, but also a bit bored after we photographed the same aircraft for the fourth time.

 

Naha Phantoms

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Thum 28

Thum 29 As this kind of photography was not ideal at all we gave the visitors deck a second try and discovered in the far end corner a place where the double fence was missing and the photographers only had to struggle with the steel cables. The only possibility to take photos from there was to stick the lens through the cables, scratch the outside of it and getting stuck somewhere and/or somehow. Combined with the APU exhaust of the airlines parking directly in front not the best conditions for formation take-offs of the Phantoms that happened shortly afterwards. Luckily for us the special coloured F-4, which we already saw before on the internet, participated in one of the missions and we were able to get a nice photo of it in good weather. That helped us to await the show on the (prediceted rainy) Sunday very relaxed! At that time we were very demotivated: the photos were not good, and these were actually the aircraft for which we took the burden of travelling such a long way – and this was the only possibility to get decent take-off photos in the morning! Not very happy we left the terminal building around midday as the light was not good anymore and tried to get to the other side. But, looking at the photos now, I am quite happy that we've been there!

a lot of Orion activity

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Thum 30 To go to the south-western side of the airport we took once again the monorail one station direction downtown, photographed from the running train the gateguards of the airbase, and took a taxi at the next station. Finding the spot was quite easy when we pointed it out to the taxi driver on a map. He answered kind of "Hai, koku, photo!" ("Yes, aircraft, photo") and off we went. When we got of the taxi he even gave us his phone number to call him when we wanted to get back, because at this place no taxis Thum 25are coming by. Only the romantic locals to watch the sunset, or to photograph aircraft.

It took some time until we found a good spot, but it was really, really good. Standiing on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, at around 25°C, in December, and photographing aircraft that come in just over the water. Of course the light became only good towards the end of the day, but we were still able to photograph the Phantoms coming back after a ~2h mission, several of the local T-4s and P-3s as well as some of the visitors for the airshow on Sunday.

other local military traffic and air show arrivals (YS-11, C-1, JGSDF CH-47, T-4)

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T-4s, CH-47, F-2

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F-15s, U-125, RF-4E, Blue Impulse T-4

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T-4s, YS-11

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The civil traffic wasn't boring as well with some special coloured liveries and many widebodies coming in. All this fortunately made us forget how thirsty we were as we did not bring enough to drink and were not used to this hot temperatures anymore. The salvation came when we walked back to call our taxi driver, as there was obviously also a vending machine.

Civil traffic at Naha: the blue side... (ANA)

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and JAL

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Ryuku Air Commuter

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some more colours in the sky:

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Thum 31Thum 32At the end of the day we had seen an excellent mix of more than 130 different aircraft!

In the evening we went to downtown Naha and discovered this party city a little bit. After the last quiet in Kyushu it was amazing to see all the blinking lights and the masses of people streaming through the main street.

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