New England Air BasesPhotographer: Frank Grealish
7th March 2009Location:
Barnes Municipal (BAF / KBAF) & Westover ARB (CEF / KCEF), USA - Massachusetts
Rather than waiting in Boston Logan International between connecting flights I decided to drive 100 miles west to visit Barnes Municipal Airport / Barnes ANG Base followed by a quick visit to Westover ARB.Barnes Municipal
Barnes is home to to a National Guard unit flying UH-60's and OH-58's, it is also home to an Air National Guard unit flying F-15's.
My main reason for being at Barnes was to catch the F-15's as they flew out on a deployment to Key West. As luck would have it other aircraft made an appearance but more on them later.
I arrived with 10 minutes to spare before the first F-15 taxied out, 5 aircraft taxied but in the end only 4 aircraft actually departed.
While waiting for the F-15's to take off I noticed an aircraft on approach trailing a lot of smoke, having seen similar smoke clouds before I knew it was a C-130, when the aircraft got closer I realised that it was a ski equipped LC-130 from the New York Air National Guard, an aircraft I had never seen before on static never mind in the air. Nice one!
Once the LC-130 had cleared the way the F-15's departed although the lighting wasn't the best as the aircraft were back lit.
While waiting for the LC-130 to depart the National Guard made an appearance with their new FLIR equipped Blackhawks followed shortly after by the arrival of a Rhode Island Air National Guard C-130J.
Both C-130's were there to support the deployment of the F-15's to Key West while the Blackhawks were carrying out routine training.Westover ARB
Once the LC-130 departed Barnes I made my way to Westover ARB which is a C-5 Galaxy base. While at Barnes it was possible to see a C-5 doing circuits so I took a chance that they would still be flying when I got there.
Upon arrival at Westover I had barely parked the car up when a US Marines C-130 departed followed by a Connecticut Air National Guard C-21. Also thrown into the mix was a Massachusetts State Police Twin Squirrel.
I wasn't to be disappointed by the C-5, they spent the whole of my visit to Westover flying circuits, alternating landings & takeoffs between the different runways. I drove around the outside of the base a bit and managed to find a nice spot with good lighting on the aircraft as they turned onto finals.
It was a busy day but a good day, I had hoped to see only the F-15's but the C-130's, Blackhawks, C-5 & C-21 all helped to provide a bit of variety for my quick trip. Thanks to Ken Middleton for his help, information & advice, it helped to make a very short trip that little bit better.