Waddington started out as a flying training base of the Royal Flying Corps back in 1916 but it was closed in 1920. It was re-opened in 1926, but this time as a bomber base. Waddington is now part of No. 2 Group (Air Combat Support and Air Battle Management)and performs three roles. Electronic reconnaissance is carried by 51 Squadron awaiting the arrival of the RC-135s, Airborne Early Warning is provided by the 6 Sentry AEW1s of 8 and 23 Squadrons and Battlefield Surveillance with the recently reformed No 5 Squadron and its Sentinel R1 aircraft. Every year RAF Waddington organises a large Air Show, which also has possibilities at arrival and departure days at the Park and View Enclosure.
The airfield is quite open on all sides. There is a public viewing area with a parking spot to the northeast, next to the A15. The single runway is northeast-southwest orientated, with a large apron with hangar to the north for the Sentries, and aprons to the east and west for the Nimrods and Sentinels.
RAF Waddington is located in Lincolnshire, south of the city of Lincoln. From Lincoln drive south via the A15 and find the airfield and spots to your right, while the the motorists viewing area/parking will be to your left. If you come from another direction, take the A1 northbound and then follow to the A46 towards Lincoln.
Those visiting by public transport should expect to walk 2 kilometres south along a rough grassy verge from Bracebridge Heath, a village on the Stagecoach route 1 that links Grantham to Lincoln. Although hourly on most days, buses are less frequent on a Sunday. A high-visibility vest should be worn in cloudy conditions or after dark when walking along the A15 road. There are no direct bus links to Coningsby, Cranwell or Newark Air Museum from Waddington. Cyclists might choose to ride from Metheringham Station to avoid steep gradients on the A15.
Around the Airport
1Public Viewing Area
The Waddington Airport Viewing Area (WAVE) is located at the east side of the A15, close to the landing lights of runway 20. Park your car here and cross the road to position yourself near the low fence. A small ladder will give you an unobstructed view of the taxi track and runway. A fighter at the runway will necessitate 300 mm but on the taxiway in front of you a side view of a fighter will need about 50 mm. Walking along the A15 to the south while looking at the aprons south of the runway should give you some numbers or tail codes. The north apron with the Sentries can also easily be seen from this spot. There is a coffee bar at the WAVE.
2At the A15
Just north of the public viewing area, also known as Waddington Aircraft Viewing Area (WAVE) there are numerous spots available alongside the A15. You can position yourself next to the taxiway from which some very nice taxi shots can be taken, or, for the creative ones, shots from landing aircraft just touching down can be made here. Be aware that the A15 is a busy road. Although the fences with associated shrubberies are quite low, a small stepladder is advisable to reach just above the small obstacles in your way. From here also some numbers of aircraft parked at the aprons on the other side can be read.
3At the A15 - 2
A bit further to the north, passing the landing lights, there are again a number of good places to take shots of landing aircraft from the other side. Depending on the backlight conditions you can position yourself here.
Number crunchers will take a short walk to the fence to read the serials of any unread aircraft at the ramp near spot 4. The Sentrys are normally parked here.
5More for Number Crunchers
Going back to the WAVE, you can go a bit further south and have a look at spot 5. This is only for the people noting down serials as it provides a view on the former ACMI platform.
Spot 6 gives a good view on the dispersals and also here you can read of some serials.
7South Side - 1
Take the A15 to the south and then take the first right onto the B1178. This road will make a sharp turn to the right and then to the left. After the right turn, continue straight ahead onto the unpaved road towards a crash gate. It is advised by the police to park your car at the beginning of the road and walk towards this gate. At this gate, you can follow the three meters high fence to the right to have a good view onto the dispersals here. If you take a left and follow this fence it will lead to the approach lights to the east runway. Here the high iron fence will change into a two meter high wooden fence. At this spot you will have ample space to position yourself for the landing traffic. But also with westerly landings there are some good opportunities here. Most aircraft will exit at the end onto the taxiways and with the sun in your back this allows you to make some good shots. Again you will need a small stepladder and a 300 mm lens for fighter type aircraft.
8South Side - 2
When the light is better, move yourself to spot8 via this small footpath just south of Waddington leading to the fence. Dramatic shots can be made here of the aircraft touching down. This is the best spot in the afternoon of course.
Aircraft vacating the active runway can be easily photographed from spot 7 as this picture by Piet Luijken of a Su-30MKI of the Indian Air Force shows.
As this photo by Melchior Timmers shows, some nice taxi shots can be made at spot 2.
|256.675 / 257.800||Tower|
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