Following on from the hugely successful Jaguar Taxi Day, RAF Cosford again opened its doors to around 120 enthusiasts but this time for a night shoot. Organised by the experienced team at Timeline Events in conjunction with 238 Squadron the evening raised £5,000 for the RAF Benevolent fund and provided a fantastic opportunity to shoot the ex frontline Jaguars of the RAF.
Starting around 16:30 to give so an opportunity to shoot the Jags in daylight and hopefully catch a decent sunset, the event opened with a welcome from Squadron Leader Chris Wilson who had very kindly give permission for the shoot.
The Jaguar’s, were front line ground-attack aircraft which was the result of a major UK/France collaborative programme, which followed agreement of a joint Anglo- French requirement in 1965. Entering active service at the height of the Cold War these versatile aircraft saw active service around the world during their time as the RAF’s main attack aircraft. The Jaguar’s went on to replace the RAF’s Phantom aircraft and in 2003 celebrated 30 years of service. The Jaguars would then carry on in active service for another 4 years before ultimately being replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon. Rather than sell off or scrap these iconic aircraft the RAF moved around 100 of them to RAF Cosford where they have successfully continued to play a major part in supporting RAF’s second to none training and engineering programmes.
Eight jaguars were made available for the shoot. XX119 ‘Spotty’ and XX725 “Sandy” in desert camouflage were positioned at the far end of the pan to catch a possible sunset and provide a green backdrop looking over to the runway. Single seat XX and twin seat T.4 XX847 were positioned in front of the closed hanger doors, single seat GR.1 XZ383 was cleverly positioned complete with auxiliary power unit under trees looking back towards the barracks to give a 1970’s east Germany feel.
The final three aircraft were positioned inside the hangar for some creative shots later in the evening. The evening flowed very well with at least two cameos at any one time to help prevent too many photographers around an aircraft at once. Period reenactors posed in various positions beside and inside most of the aircraft with ground crew giving additional interest. There was also a set of stairs provided in the middle of pan for aerial shots of the aircraft.
Despite a cloudy start the sun briefly appeared just as it was setting to provide stunning light and backdrop to XX119 ‘Spotty’ and XX725 “Sandy
parked on the far side of the pan.
Food was provided courtesy of the RAF’s airside catering team who provided very sizeable and welcome portions of curry and rice, lasagne and garlic bread amongst other dishes in the canteen.
As the light faded the aircraft were lit up and the cameos continued. For the final set peice of the evening the three Jags in the hanger were back lit with a mixture of coloured and white lights and smoke in a scene reminiscent of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. With all the photographers pulled back to allow a wide shot this worked really well especially with the addition of three pilots by their aircraft.
An extremely well run event with some rare and unusual airframes not featured on shoots before. Whilst these events are not cheap this offered a unique opportunity to shoot ex RAF frontline aircraft in their natural environment as well as raising money for a great cause.