Behind the Scenes of RAF Lakenheath - 26th July 2019

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Several members got up in the middle of the night to catch the IC Travel Coach, from Taverham Village Hall leaving at 5:45a.m, to go to RAF Lakenheath. We arrived at the Main Gate at around 7:00 where we saw a North American F100D Super Sabre (63319/54-2269), on its pedestal as if it was taking off. After we had shown our passports, our four guides joined us, including one who told us about what some of the buildings were and about the memorials, with a Spitfire Vb (BM361) on one side of the road and a plinth marking fallen servicemen. Nearby a McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II (65-777/63-7419), a General Dynamics F-111E Aardvark (70-0389/67-0120) and a McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle (86-180/74-0131) were standing by a wall. On the way, we saw where some building contractors are erecting what will be eighteen buildings including a Maintenance Unit, new Hangers, and Storage facilities for two F-35 Squadrons, starting around 2021.

We then carried on to the runway to watch some McDonnell Douglas F-15's take off near the Control Tower. When we were being split into groups, suddenly one of the F-15s caught everyone by surprise when it shot round the Tower and showed off its topside. This would have made a terrific photo had we been ready! We saw inside the Recording Room and then where all of East Anglia was shown on radar and various aircraft etc were being monitored. It was then up seven floors to see where the more local movements were being monitored and from there we had a great view of the Base. We then were told how the weather is being forecast using various instruments dotted around the airfield so that the computers in the room could provide information to the weather people, who would also use charts etc to show what the forthcoming weather would be. It was then back onto the coach to be taken around for the second half of the tour, which comprised of the hospital and living quarters, before leaving.

On the way back we went along the A11 and stopped at The Chase pub near Thetford for dinner and a drink, before sadly going home early.

Andrew Elphick

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