VISUAL APPROACH IMAGES

Aviation Photography

Burkina Faso Government Boeing 727 arrives at Lasham

Sadly the classic Boeing 727 is an all too rare sight in the skies these days. So Visual Approach Images was at Lasham to see the 727 operated by the Government of Burkina Faso arrive after a five and a half hour flight from the Burkina capital Ouagadougou for maintenance with 727 specialist 2Excel Aviation. XT-BFA was built in 1981 towards the end of the 727 production run of 1832 airframes. This airplane was unit number 1715 and was delivered new to the Portuguese flag carrier TAP - Air Portugal in 1981. In 1998 it was sold on as an executive airplane and following a conversion to 727 RE standard was delivered to Burkina Faso in 2005.

The Valsan 727 RE program involved replacing the original Pratt and Whitney JT8D outer engines on the 727 with the newer -217 model from the Douglas MD-80 and the remaining centre engine is fitted with an internal mixer to reduce the airplanes noise footprint. These modifications made the 727 stage 3 noise compliant. This airplane is also fitted with the Valsan winglet conversion which is claimed to reduce fuel burn by 5%.

These images will form part of the newly added "Classic" gallery. More classic jets will be appearing in this gallery shortly.

Click on the image below to go to the "Classic" gallery

Belarus - May 2015

Visual Approach Images in Minsk, Belarus - May 28th -31st 2015

Visual Approach Images visited Minsk in Belarus to photograph and fly on some of the last remaining classic Russian airplanes that remain in service in the former Soviet states.

click on the image below to see the full gallery from Belarus

Larissa AFB Greece - Hellenic AF RF-4E Phantom retirement

Visual Approach Images attended the media and photography day for the Hellenic AF retirement of the McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom at Larissa AFB in Greece on May 4th 2017. The event was named "The End of the Film", and was hosted by the 348 TRS (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron) at Larissa. The last 3 examples of the RF-4E that remain airworthy were flown twice during the event and provided an impressive salute to the types withdrawal from service after 63 years, and a final chance to take some images of this iconic airplane.

Click below to see the images from Larissa

Andravida AFB Greece - INIOCHOS 2017

Visual Approach Images attended the Media Day at Andravida AFB in Greece on March 29th 2017. The airbase was hosting participating units for the International military exercise INIOCHOS 2017 including local squardons from the Hellenic AF and units from the UAE, Israel, Italy and the USA.

Click below to see the images from Andravida

USA Road Trip - February 2017

February 2017 saw Visual Approach Images take to the road on a 2 week trip across the beautiful and dramatic mountain and desert landscapes of California and Nevada.

Several aviation related visits were arranged for photography purposes as part of the trip, as well as some more opportunistic shooting as weather and time allowed. This provided plenty of varied photographic material, and a first opportunity to test new Canon equipment in the field.

Click below to see the full story

N55RG - The final flight

Last flight of Gulfstream 2 serial No 1

Almost 46 years after it first took to the air on October 2nd 1966, Grumman Gulfstream II serial no 1 N55RG made its last flight on September 9th 2012, from Chicago-Palwaukee IL to Charlotte NC.

Serial number one was both the Gulfstream II prototype, and the first production airplane. Built at Grummans Bethpage NY facility, it was used as part of the test and certification programme for the GII. Following the completion of the certification process and service as a sales demonstration airplane, it was re-furbished and sold in July 1970 to industrialist Mr William Robert "Bob" Galvin, who was to own and operate the airplane for the next 42 years.

Bob Galvins father Paul had founded the Motorola Corporation with his brother Joseph in 1928, and Robert Galvin eventually served Motorola as both President and CEO from 1956 to 1986. During Bob Galvins ownership of the airplane it was based at Chicago Palwaukee, alongside the rest of the Motorola fleet of Falcons, Citations and Gulfstreams. The airplane remained as Mr Galvins personal transport when he left the position of CEO in 1986 and was operated for the Galvin family until its retirement in 2012.

I was fortunate enough to be invited on the airplanes last flight by my good friend Captain Joe Miller. A long time corporate pilot, Joe had previously flown for the Motorola Corporations flight department, but having flown Mr Galvin on numerous occasions and become good friends with him and his wife Mary, Joe became the Galvins personal pilot and airplane manager for the last few years of the airplanes service life.

Following Mr Galvins passing in 2011, it was his wish that the airplane be preserved, and his widow Mary B Galvin asked Joe to find the airplane a suitable home when it was retired from service in 2012. The airplane was donated to the Carolinas Air Museum in September 2012

The flight to Charlotte was also Joes last trip - he retired that day, and headed to the golf course to work on his handicap.

Joe and his co-pilot that day Joey Patarela remain good friends of mine. Joey went on to fly a Falcon 900 for a private owner in Chicago.

I am grateful to them both for the opportunity to join them on that historic trip, and more images of events on the day can be seen in the ''N55RG'' gallery - please click on the link below.