The eagle-eyed Brummies have their eyes on the skies following recent sightings of rare and striking military aircraft flying over the Midlands. As if the amazing Air Beluga’s emergency landing at Birmingham Airport hadn’t generated enough excitement, plane-spotters have had their fill of intriguing military planes to film over the past few years. weeks.
As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine rages on, more and more people – and not just airplane enthusiasts – have taken to monitoring flight paths online. Although not all of those spotted in the Midlands have been linked to the crisis, residents and amateur photographers have documented the unique and impressive military aircraft as they pass overhead.
Just today (Thursday), a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III and a Lockheed C-130J Hercules were tracked flying over the city. Here’s a roundup of some of the most impressive military planes to be spotted in the skies of the Midlands recently…
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The Antonov AN-124
The Russian Antonov AN-124 caused a stir as it passed over Derbyshire on February 22. After taking off from a town in southern Russia, the AN-124 was spotted in Belper as the flight descended from the skies towards East Midlands Airport.
The plane was reportedly spotted around 8:15 a.m. The Antonov is one of the largest aircraft in the world, specially designed to carry heavy loads.
FlightRadar24 confirmed the plane’s flight path passed through Russia, Finland and Sweden, before passing through Sheffield and landing at East Midland Airport, Castle Donington. The plane remained in the air for nearly eight hours after leaving Novosibirsk at 7:05 a.m. local time. He landed at East Midlands Airport at 8.28am UK time.
The same plane was en route to Russia, this time heading for the city of Kazan on February 23. According to the air charter service, the plane has a large cargo capacity and ramps designed specifically for loading heavy equipment.
Designs for this aircraft date back to the Soviet Union in the 1970s, before first entering service in 1985 when President Gorbachev was in power in the USSR.
The An-124 was once a symbol of cooperation between the two countries – designed in Ukraine and used by Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group for missions ranging from transporting aircraft parts to disaster relief.
Dramatic footage shows the moment a huge military spy plane flew over residents’ homes as it descended towards Birmingham Airport on March 8. The Sentry E-3D reportedly performed some “touch and go” maneuvers at the city’s airport.
But the plane’s presence was unrelated to the conflict in Ukraine. Although the aircraft still wears its Royal Air Force livery, it is now in the process of being transferred to the Chilean Air Force.
The plane is based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire and the flight to Brum was part of a training program for the Chilean Air Force. The spy plane is moved alongside training, maintenance and ground support equipment.
An RAF spokesperson told CoventryLive: “The Sentry E-3D has left RAF service but is still currently based at RAF Waddington. Following an agreement between the UK and Chile, two E-3D Sentry aircraft are transferred to the Chilean Air Force, along with a set of training, maintenance and ground support equipment .
“Training is carried out at RAF Waddington and across the UK. The sight exit was part of this training.
Crystal-clear shots of the plane were captured by enthusiast and photographer Yvonne Lewis as it flew over her home in Solihull. The aircraft, commonly referred to as AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System), is notable for the huge radar equipment mounted on top of its fuselage.
The RAF describes the Sentry AEW1 E-3D as an airborne early warning (AEW) and command and control aircraft. It monitors airspace to “provide threat detection from adversarial aircraft and awareness of friendly assets”. It also has the ability to detect ships.
It has a range of 5,000 nautical miles and can be refueled in flight. In the RAF the Sentry replaced the Shackleton piston engine.
Two B-52 warplanes were seen flying over Worcestershire and near Wolverhampton on March 9. The US B-52s are currently based at RAF Fairford, an hour from Birmingham in Gloucestershire, where they are stationed to support NATO in the defense of European airspace.
Two of four USAF B-52 jets pictured at RAF Fairford this week took off and flew over the Midlands and Malvern Hills across Worcestershire and Shropshire, west of Wolverhampton. They were flying at an altitude of about 20,000 feet.
All four American B-52H Stratofortress long-range bombers were busted by a craft pilot flying near RAF Fairford. They can fly at high subsonic speeds and carry nuclear or conventional precision-guided munitions.
A Boeing Chinook was filmed hovering over a Black Country field on February 22. The impressive aircraft had just arrived at Belvoir Castle.
The Chinook landed opposite Wolverhampton Grammar School in Compton Road, Wolverhampton. A 21-year-old villain, who filmed the landing, told BlackCountryLive: “I saw a helicopter land opposite Wolverhampton Grammar School. When I saw it I thought it was something. something to do with what is happening in Ukraine.”
However, a Ministry of Defense spokesman confirmed the plane flew to Grantham where Secretary of State Ben Wallace was attending a conference.
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