I had been hanging around the crew room at Mildenhall since 4am as I had a scheduled 6am departure in a tanker for some photography over Germany. The tanker went unserviceable and the mission was scrubbed. I was re-scheduled on another mission for 1pm; that, too, was scrubbed. I was about to leave the base at 5pm when someone rushed in, told me to grab all my gear, and drove me out to a KC-135 which promptly closed its doors, started up and departed. After take-off I asked the question ‘where are we going?’. The answer was ‘over the Atlantic, about 500 miles north west of Ireland, to pick up four Luftwaffe F-4 Phantoms returning from the USA’.
By the time we intercepted them the light was starting to fade but I still managed to get some shots. I got to bed at gone midnight, which was a problem as I was expected back at Mildenhall at 4am for my next departure at 6am!
Air-to-air photography can be quite exhausting sometimes!
This aircraft is actually in the process of being refuelled. The boom at the top of the frame is ‘flown’ down to the receiving aircraft by the ‘boomer’ in the tanker aircraft (in this case a Boeing KC-135) and a nozzle is inserted into a receptacle on top of the fuselage as can be seen here.