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The Black Eagles

Boscombe Down is synonymous throughout British aviation history as being the spiritual home of the Empire Test Pilot’s School with many a famous pilot and aircraft having operating from there.


However we were there for a slightly different reason. On their second tour of the UK, with their first having been in 2012, the Black Eagles had arrived from South Korea in their gleaming T-50B Golden Eagle. Their first tour had brought great fame among British & European audiences, displaying incredible professionalism and skill in the air, the Black Eagles were a very welcome return to our skies. I was lucky enough during that first tour to be part of the first press team to cover their arrival at RAF Waddington. I was still at the University of Lincoln at the time and luckily had connections within the air show team. These guys were a real pleasure to work with, they truly were some of the most friendly and professional people I have had the pleasure of shooting. 

Once security had been cleared and passes issued we made our way up to the hanger from which the Eagles were operating out of. One jet was positioned in the hanger for us to shoot the rest of the team were lined up on the ramp ready. Briefing complete we made our way over to the ramp for when the team would emerge and we could get cracking.

The day’s temperature was high, nearing the high 20s. We were positioned to start with in the middle of the main ramp with the jets behind us for the team to walk out. Once the crews were climbing into the jets we would then rotate 180° and shoot the jets during start-up procedures and departure.

Departure of the team completed so our group went back to the hanger to cool off in the shade and shoot the static jet in there.

After a while we were given notice that the team were inbound so we headed out to the ramp as the team ‘bomb burst’ overhead in a spiral motion which was fairly spectacular to witness. Wheels down and we mustered on the western side of the main ramp to shoot the team stacking up to come back in to parking positions.

Team assembled for a group photograph in between of two of the jets sporting proudly the South Korean flag from the canopies. I really appreciated the opportunity to photograph this team again in such close quarters. It was nice to see their continued professionalism and skill had endured over time since I had last seen them.

To the Black Eagles, you are welcome here anytime!  


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