Chipmeet / Air to Air AcademyPhotographer: Frank Grealish
13th - 16th May 2010Location:
The 2010 edition of the annual gathering of DeHavilland Canada Chipmunks and other classic aircraft, the Chipmeet, took place at Zoersel airfield near Antwerp in Belgium, over the weekend of 13th to 16th May. This, the 12th edition of Chipmeet, ran alongside the Photoflying Days / Air-to-Air Photo Academy organised by Eric Coeckelberghs.
65 different aircraft participated in this event, the variety was amazing, and everything from bizjets to Belgian Police MD-900 helicopters and Tipsy Nippers took part in the flying. The highlight of the weekend, from an aviation photographers point of view, was the chance to fly in the back of a Shorts Skyvan with the ramp open and have aircraft fly up to you for the sole purpose of being photographed.
Opportunities also existed to fly in the back seat of other aircraft and take pictures from within a formation or to take pictures of a formation. This writer had the opportunity to fly in a Shorts Skyvan, Yak-18 and Gyroflug Speed Canard. This weekend gave me experience of taking pictures from an open ramp, open cockpit and a fighter style perspex cockpit.
The weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, was jam packed with flying, aircraft were flying in formations, pairs and solos, there been always something flying or taxiing. Of interest to spotters and photographers who were not flying was the opportunity to wander around the airfield taking pictures and taking numbers. For a small fee you were given a high viz jacket and allowed to go wherever you wanted apart from standing in the middle of the runway. The angles and opportunities were fantastic, common sense as opposed to barriers helped to ensure that the event was friendly, open but most importantly safe.
A Big thank you goes out to both the organisers of the Chipmeet and also to Eric Coeckelberghs, the organisers of the Photo Academy, and his Photo Crew, for the opportunity to take air to air photographs from the back of the Skyvan.