All photos me too, copyrighted
While our placid little airfield generally deserves the epithet of “the airfield at the edge of town” – despite what has been written here over the years 😀 – it does occasionally have its bright moments. Due to the relatively poor condition of its grass runway – among other issues – precluding the landing of any “serious” fixed wing aircraft, these tend to occur only when something rotary is in town, like the previously photographed US Navy Knighthawk or Bundespolizei Super Puma.
However, while these very welcome one-of visitors do make for a pleasant change of tempo – often becoming major attractions in their own right – they hadn’t really prepared us for the miniature assault fleet that had pitched up camp on the military apron between 8 and 12 September… 🙂
In town to participate in the annual Jackal Stone multinational military exercise – this year starting on 13 September – this fleet had included no less than four transport helicopters (nothing to sneeze at when Lučko is concerned!), and even a supporting Cessna Caravan that had occasionally popped into the field on general transport business. And while their numbers alone were enough the cause widespread interest, their composition – once confirmed by a quick search on the Net – had elevated them to “must photograph at all costs” status :D.
The “less interesting” pair – using the term lightly – were two already familiar US Navy Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawks, pretty much identical to the example that had visited us a couple of months back, save for being equipped with turret IR cameras on their noses.
Far more interesting by any measure – objective or otherwise – were the “big guns”, two US Army Boeing MH-47G Chinooks. Significantly more potent than the stock transport CH-47s, the MH-47G is a dedicated special operations model, conceived and designed on the back of lessons learned during special forces deployments and insertions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The rarest – and among the newest – of all Chinooks, these models carry virtually no external markings (apart from faint titles and an incredibly-difficult-to-find serial) and sport a distinctive matte black finish that makes them impossible to photograph effectively in all but early morning light 🙂 (which had presented a slight problem for yours truly, since none of them had actually operated during the early morning).
Of course, being the hopeless GA enthusiast that I am, both of these incredible – and incredibly rare – machines were overshadowed somewhat by a brief, five-minute visit of one of my favorite prop singles, the Cessna Caravan :D. The first one I’ve ever seen in person – which says much about the traffic at Lučko – this specific example belongs to the military U-27 family, operated in this instance by the US Army. Based on the stock 208B Grand Caravan, the U-27 differs mostly in its more spartan interior fittings – suited to its military transport role – and the absence of the imposing cargo pod seen on many civil versions…