RAF Reconnaissance Aircraft

 Military photographic-reconnaissance (Airrecce) has come a very long way since its humble beginnings in the First World War.


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Early Years

The credit for the first aerial exposures must go the Frenchman Gaspard Felix Tournachon, better known as Nadar. A highly competent photographer, he believed that a good camera fitted to a balloon would be a reliable means photographing the land. At this time, photographic plates had to be coated, exposed and developed on the spot, so Nader turned his balloon basket into a darkroom by covering it with a tent and all this was undertaken in the year 1858.

It took Nadar a further tens years of trial and error before he obtained a clearly exposed image of the centre of Paris from a balloon at 1.500 feet.

Air Reconnaissance in the Second World War

Glimpses of air reconnaissance dating back to the Second World War…

Legacy of the Great War

Let us take you through this authentic inheritance.

The Inter-War Years

The intensity of the time between the two mighty wars – captured!

Air Photo Interpretation

A picture speaks a thousand words…

Photographic Reconnaissance D-Day

The crucial D-day predictions – all on the basis of air reconnaissance.

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Essential ground support equipment for military air force

Essential ground support equipment for military air force

Ground support equipment (GSE) is used to service civil and military aircraft between flights. Services include aircraft maintenance, fuselage and engine repairs, refuelling, aircraft cleaning, aircraft manoeuvring, aircraft de-icing, loading and unloading of cargo, restocking provisions, and more.

Aircraft ground support equipment is built to be durable, reliable, and easy-to-use in order to ensure fast and efficient aircraft servicing. All GSE is designed to withstand various environments, however, military ground support equipment, or military GSE, needs to withstand the harshest of environments and work effectively under all extremes.

With over 30 years of experience, Aviation Spares and Repairs supplies military ground support equipment to air forces worldwide, including C-130 spare parts for the Algerian Air Force, tooling and consumables for the Royal Saudi Air Force, Antonov AN-32, Bell 212 and Lockheed C-130 aircraft support equipment for the Sri Lankan Air Force, and more.

Today, with Aviation Spares’ knowledge and experience, we will run through some of the essential ground support equipment for the military air forces.

Military tow tractors

Military tow tractors are designed to tow a variety of military aircraft, including Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing CH-47 Chinook. Aviation Spares military tugs can also be used as load carriers, carrying up to 909 kg (2,200 lbs) of cargo.

Ground power units

Aircraft ground power units provide power to parked aircraft when its main engines and onboard auxiliary power unit (APU) are not running. Ground power units include start power units, continuous power units, start and continuous power units, diesel generators, and frequency converters.

Nitrogen and oxygen servicing

This article on Airside International highlights the importance of the supply of nitrogen and oxygen portable charging units (PCUs) to military air forces, who used them in the field to “fill aircraft tyres, to charge suspension struts, in hydraulic accumulators, in aircraft escape slides, door seals and in various other aircraft hydraulic components, while oxygen is employed as part of the aircrew’s breathing systems.”

Aviation Spares & Repairs supplies a wide range of oxygen and nitrogen aircraft servicing equipment, including nitrogen regulators, oxygen booster, nitrogen booster, nitrogen service carts, oxygen service carts and more.

Fuel equipment

As Chapter 1 of Improving Ground Support Equipment Operational Data for Airport Emissions Modelling mentions, fuel carts are designed to transport fuel to the aircraft and dispense fuel into the aircraft fuel tanks. Aircraft fuel carts often come complete with fuel meters, fire extinguishers, hand pumps, static grounding reel, and containment tanks.

Safety Equipment

Safety is essential on the ramp. To ensure aircraft operations go smoothly, runway safety equipment is necessary. This includes aircraft chocks, downlock pins, bypass pins, marshalling wands, and runway safety cones.

Aircraft access equipment

From passenger aircraft stairs to aircraft maintenance stands, such as engine maintenance platforms and fuelling stands, aircraft access equipment is essential for daily aircraft servicing and operations.

In addition to the equipment mentioned, Aviation Spares can also source and supply aircraft spares, military clothing, including flight suits, anti-gravity clothing, and much more to meet your aviation requirements.

A First Time Traveller’s Guide to Visiting Japan

A First Time Traveller’s Guide to Visiting Japan

Japan will be on many travellers’ bucket lists because of its beauty and cultural heritage. If you’re planning on visiting the land of the rising sun and haven’t been to the Asian country before, we’ve put together a list of valuable tips.

Anyone who’s planning to go to Japan should ensure they have travel cover, especially when you know the trip is likely to be expensive. Fortunately, cover is relatively cheap when using a leading comparison site such as Utility Saving Expert. You’ll be insured for things like flight delays and cancellations, medical treatment and lost or stolen luggage.

Fly on an international flight where possible

Taking an international flight especially when you know you’re likely to be in the air for a very long period is a good idea. This way you won’t have to worry about catching another plane at a stopover destination. Seating and entertainment are also likely to be much better.

If you’re leaving Tokyo, get a JR Pass

A JR Pass will cost you around £250 and allow you to access any JR line in the country for seven days, this includes several different shinkansen (high-speed) trains.

Internet connectivity

Upon arrival at the airport, you should pick up an eConnect hotspot at the airport’s post office. This will give you access to the internet on your mobile phone. You’ll even be able to connect to the Wi-Fi in remote places too.

You can use your phone to easily convert yen to your native currency. You can also use an app to translate English into Japanese. Having access to Google Maps will be a big plus for many.

Learn some phrases

Although it’s highly recommended to learn the language if you have the time, remembering a few common phrases will make things much easier for you and anyone you interact with. Some of the landmark destinations will have a number of people who can speak English, so save your questions for these attractions.

Tokyo subway fares are also very cheap (around £2), and very easy to buy from electronic ticket machines, these all have English menu options. This does make it difficult to justify a JR Pass when travelling throughout Tokyo. Although, a 7-day JR Pass actually costs a similar amount for a return trip ticket to Kyoto. In other words, it’s a much better deal if you plan to travel to other locations outside Tokyo.

You’ll need a lot of cash

Japan prefers cash over card. A number of places that you would expect to take a credit or debit card actually don’t, and will only accept cash. Many stores do not have the facilities to accept card payment, although on the occasion that they do, a sign will be visible at the front. It’s also highly recommended that you take a card that doesn’t charge you for using it overseas when withdrawing money. You’ll also need a coin pouch or purse as everything from 1 yen to 500 yen are coins.

Convenience stores

The staff at convenience stores are some of the most helpful and kindest people you’ll meet. These stores can help you pick up snacks, access easy to use ATM machines and anything else you may need while you’re there. The staff will really make the effort to understand your bad accent.

Bring hand sanitizer and plastic bags with you

You will soon find out that many of the public bathrooms do not have soap dispensers. Bringing hand sanitizer with you will help you stay clean when using the bathroom. Additionally, you may not see a rubbish bin in a public place for miles. So it’s a good idea to bring plastic bags that you can put your rubbish in and dispose of later on.

Travel to get the best deals

Like any worldwide destination, the further away you travel from the airport or train station, the cheaper things become. This is no different in Japan. You’ll be rewarded for exploring new places as you won’t have to pay a higher price for souvenirs.

Take things slowly

As soon as you’ve booked your flight to Japan, you’ll start to browse top ten places to visit. Planning a trip can be stressful and with so much on offer, this will only be amplified. Slow down and take everything in, don’t try to cram your itinerary with everything you come across. If you do want to see as much as you can, consider an extended holiday as you’ll be able to better manage your schedule this way.

Hopefully you’re able to make use of these tips when you decide to visit Japan for the first time. The main thing to keep in mind is to enjoy yourself and have a memorable holiday.

Visiting China Without Speaking The Mandarin Language – Is It Advisable?

Visiting China Without Speaking The Mandarin Language – Is It Advisable?

China remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world due to the rich history of the country – and its cultural heritage. Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant cities in the world – and one of the most exciting destinations for both the business or leisure traveler. However, many people are filled with trepidation at the thought of traveling to a country that (at least on the face of it) may provide challenges when it comes to language. The question needs to be asked – is it possible to travel to either of these destinations without a working knowledge of Mandarin (Chinese).

The answer is a qualified yes. It just depends on where you are going. Hong Kong presents very few language issues. It is after all one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and English is widely understood by those who call Hong Kong home. Tourist offices are also more than willing to lend a helping hand translating Mandarin to English. Most taxi drivers will understand English and staff at hotels are familiar with the language, students can learn too. Those thinking of visiting the city need to remember that around 61 million tourists land in Hong Kong per year – it is extremely tourist friendly.

Those traveling to China may only experience a challenge if they leave the major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. In these urban areas restaurant menus are by and large also available in English (although some of the direct translations may be a bit puzzling). Once again taxi drivers will understand where you want to go. A hotel business card will usually sort out any confusion.

For those who want to venture further afield, technology will come to the rescue. there are some great smartphone apps that will provide either audio translations to inquiries and they are extremely effective. There are also a number of dedicated voice translation devices on the market. The ‘ Iflytek Electronic Pocket Voice Translator’ is only one example.

For those who prefer the low tech (and proven) option, there is always the traditional phrasebook. Pocket-sized versions will cover most of what the traveler will need to make travel a breeze.

All that said it is only polite to learn a few commonly used phrases prior to your trip. Showing a willingness to learn the language of the country that you are visiting is the best way of breaking down social barriers.

So if you are interested in traveling to either Hong Kong or China, don’t let language sway your decision – there are plenty of options when it comes to making yourself understood – and understanding what the locals have to say.

Here’s What To Do if a Flight is Late

Here’s What To Do if a Flight is Late

For those of us who fly, there’s not much more frustrating than when our flights are delayed, particularly if our goal was to get to a specific place by a particular time. Here’s what to do if a flight is late.

Check Your Apps

Before you take any flight, be sure you have downloaded the airline’s app. Then, if you are in a situation where your plane is delayed, you can check your app for further information and sometimes change your itinerary within the app yourself. It is easier and more accessible than waiting in line to speak to an agent or waiting on the phone line for an available agent.

Check for an Alternate Carrier

When your flight is delayed, sometimes an airline is willing to book you on an alternate carrier. They are not required to do this, but it does help to ask if that’s a way you want to go.

Overnight Delays

In some cases, airlines will offer to pay for your hotel and meals, but in many cases, they will not. If your flight is delayed until the next morning, find out if you are owed any compensation. Will they pay for your hotel or your meals? Or will they compensate you in another way, such as with a voucher? Take the initiative to ask for what you need, because in some cases, the airline won’t tell you unless you ask them. For example, you can ask for a hotel voucher and food vouchers. You may or may not get it, but you’ll never know unless you ask the airline.

Seek Compensation

If your flight is delayed for over three hours or if the flight is cancelled then you are entitled to flight delay compensation. You can also claim this if you are refused boarding because the flight is overbooked.

Check Your Credit Cards

There are credit cards that offer benefits for people who are enduring flight delays. Do you own any of them? Some cards provide benefits for those experiencing up to a six-hour delay and some cards offer up to a 12-hour delay. So, for example, you could get reimbursed for up to 500 pounds for reasonable expenses occurred. These include things like food, lodging, transportation, etc. They may also have a benefit that provides for being able to stay in the airline’s lounge rather than the regular passenger seating area of the airport.

Take Advantage of Yoga and Meditation Rooms

One of the things you may want to do if your flight is delayed is to calm your nerves. There’s nothing you can do about making a plane go when you want it to go. All you can do is wait for the next flight. Therefore, rather than get yourself all worked up, think about ways to calm your nerves. One of those ways can include spending time in a yoga or meditation room of the airport. Many of today’s airports offer yoga and meditation rooms to calm your mind, body, and soul.

Try these tips to pave your way when you want to know what to do when a flight is late. Many options can benefit you. It takes action on your part and can prove to be a beneficial outcome.

How to Become an Army Military Photographer

How to Become an Army Military Photographer

An army military photographer will capture everything, from candid soldiers to live action battlefield scenes, which goes on in the daily lives of the soldiers. But being an army military isn’t an opportunity everyone can enjoy as it requires exceptional skills and precise training.

The army needs workers in its public affair division. This is one area where standard documentation is required. The images developed here include everyday army life and service. The photographs are used for publicity of the military in civilian outlets or outlets of the military itself.

To be placed in the public affairs division, you’ll need to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude and Battery test with exception scores. An interest in journalism, communications and other subjects related to humanity is also recommended.

You will be placed in a base or a unit, but there’s no telling if it will be in a combat-specific or non-combat specific area. You will need to document events such as news conference or events through photographs close to the base.

The training that you receive will be of use when photographing a combat area. You’ll be ordered to photograph paratroopers, foot patrol units and supply missions in a combat area.

After enlisting, a 10-week basic training program will be assigned to you which will be followed by 12-week training in the job that you have enlisted for within the public affairs division.

Another photography post that the military has is that of a combat documentation and production specialist. The job demands photos of training and film production for military intelligence as well as programs for the base television.


As a combat documentation/production specialist, you’ll need to know how to operate still, studio as well as motion picture cameras. You’ll be asked to maintain said equipment also.

To become a combat documentation/production specialist, you’ll need to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test with a score of 93 in the ASVAB Electronics category as well as a 91 in the ASVAB skilled category.

After serving in basic training, you’ll need to attend a 28 week of school and organised on-the-job training as a next step after becoming a combat documentation/production specialist. Motion picture, video and film and digital equipment training will be a part of the 28 weeks. Apart from video equipment, you’ll also receive training to handle sound recording equipment since training videos require sound.

While working as a photographer in the army, you’ll still be seen as a soldier first and foremost as in most combat situations; you’ll have to defend yourself as well as take photos.


Air reconnaissance has and will always be an essential aspect of critical military strategies. And more importantly, it is a field with a lot of scope. My interest and inquisitiveness in military aerial photography rose because of my dad – a veteran of the military. And there’s never going to be a turning back – I love discovering new aspects of this field. Challenging and fulfilling – that’s what my job is!

James Stephen

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