Friday, 27 May 2016

Seen overhead

During the course of Thursday our house was repeatedly overflown by pairs of Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey VTOL/STOL tilt-rotor transport aircraft flying from the direction of central London towards Kent. By 2.00pm three pairs had followed the same flight path.



The majority of these aircraft are operated by the US Marine Corps, but one wonders what they might have been doing flying over South East London.

20 comments:

  1. I've seen them here also (and this is the area of a US Army base, with no Marines here) I've learned that US Special Operations Command also uses them
    marked as US Air Force. My guess is that's what you saw.

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    Replies
    1. Don M,

      Interestingly they were following the normal flight path used by military helicopters flying in and out of our section of London. (We live on top of one of the highest hills around London, and there is a very distinctive water tower at the summit that can be seen for miles, and which seems to be used as a navigation point.)

      They were not quite low enough to see the markings when I managed to grab my camera in time to take these photos, but an earlier pair were much lower and looked as if they were marked with the word 'Marines' on the side.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    2. Looking your photo again they are Marines,
      the Air Force ones are a much darker gray.
      The USMC does do European operations from
      time to time.

      Delete
    3. Don M,

      I suspected as much. The newspapers are having a field-day about them being used to train the SAS, and that the SAS will be getting some to replace their existing helicopters.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. Typical over-reaction from the Daily Express at http://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/674153/OBAMA-planes-over-London-Huge-US-helijets-over-Thames-spark-fears-of-invasion

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    Replies
    1. Edwin King,

      I missed that news item! Thanks for brining it to my attention.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. I suspect that Mr Trump has told his people in the Marine Corps to prepare his triumphant procession once he is elected President of the World.

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    Replies
    1. Jim Duncan,

      Probably true! What worries me most is that he might actually have some 'people' in the Marine Corps.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Every American I've spoken to while I'm over here is worried that he might get elected.

      Delete
    3. Jim Duncan,

      I find that reassuring ... up to a point. The Donald seems to be getting support from some people in the USA, and the way their electoral system works, he might just win.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  4. Funnily enough, I saw an Apache flying up along the Thames going East to West on Wednesday at Westminster bridge. Probably a British Army machine.

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    Replies
    1. Ashley,

      Apaches often fly over our house (sometimes quite late in the day).

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  5. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3611263/SAS-skies-London-anti-terror-helicopters-day-ISIS-widow-issued-warning-capital-s-tubes-summer.html

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    Replies
    1. Steve-the-Wargamer,

      That's the Daily Mail for you! Lots of really accurate news coverage!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  6. When President Obama recently came to Windsor I'm pretty certain they used a couple of these as well. The sky was so full of helicopters it was like the scene out of Apocalypse Now. The little UK police helicopters were apparently there to keep the drones away.

    Guy

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    Replies
    1. Guy,

      I understand that the Marine detail that accompays POTUS uses Ospreys, and that one may well replace the existing 'Marine One' helicopter he currently uses.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  7. Actually looking at the Daily Mail images they seem to show USAF CV-22 Ospreys. They (not the ones that overflew your house) are from USAF Special Operations Command, probably the 7th Special Operations Squadron part of the 352 Special Operations Wing based at RAF Mildenhall. I was there as part of a group visit there last month and some of the Ospreys were doing take-off and landings. For understandable reasons we were not allowed to photograph the Ospreys or the AC-130 gunships also based there. However they look pretty impressive!

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    Replies
    1. David Bradley,

      Very interesting! I wish I got the opportunity to make those sorts of visits; I am very envious!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. I believe they are appearing at the IMWDuxford this weekend as part of the US themed display. Not sure whether they are flying or will be static on the ground.

    Bob

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    Replies
    1. Bob K,

      That would make perfect sense as by flying over our house they would have been following the flight path from central London to Duxford.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete