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  • Spotting

    Here in Germany it's quite easy to spot military aircrafts. In Rostock/Laage they specially banked a spotters hill so that you have a good view all over the airfield and can take photos of starting and landing Typhoons. Last week there was a exercise called "Baltic Jump" with a simulated conquest of an airport. First Tornados and Typhoons secured air dominance and than paratroopers where jumping out of planes and conquering the airfield. After that transport aircrafts where landing.
    Everybody who wanted was allowed to be there and photograph or film it. Sadly I had no time to go there.
    However spotting american planes is hard. As you know there are some american airbases here in Germany like Spangdahlem or Ramstein. I've never been there but I heard of people that military police gets quite rude if they catch spotters next to their airbases. But what is it like in the US its self? Can you go to an airbase and take pictures or do you have to do it secretly?

    In some countries you even go to prison when you are taking pictures of airbases or aircrafts. This year I was in Greece and wanted to take pictures of T-33s on Kalamata airbase. First i looked over a fence on the civil Kalamata airort, which is next to the military airport. But they had built some kind of protecting wall in front of the planes. Next I was driving on the road/highway which passes next to the airbase and seeing the T-33s through a fence but they where too far away for taking pictures. So I decided to drive to the gate of the airbase where I asked if it was possible to take some pictures. The guards first where looking a bit interrogatively but then said "I don't think so". Saidly I drove away.
    Later, back home in Germany I read about some netherlands and english spotters who where taking pictures in Kalamata through the fence who where catched and found guilty of being spies. They should even go to prison for 10 years or so. Happily the british government impeded that. But as far as I remember each of them had to pay 20.000€ as a penalty.
    >Facit Omnia Voluntas<

  • #2
    We have a military base here, Ft. Bliss, where the ill-fated 509th Maintenance Company came from. They have no real problems with photographing military hardware that you can see. It's a really big base, so everything is spread out pretty far and there's not much to see. Occasionally you can get a glimpse of a Patriot missile launcher.
    "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes." G-Man

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    • #3
      I read about some netherlands and english spotters who where taking pictures in Kalamata through the fence who where catched and found guilty of being spies.
      That was a big fiasco .
      Hala Madrid!!

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      • #4
        We have a military base here, Ft. Bliss, where the ill-fated 509th Maintenance Company came from. They have no real problems with photographing military hardware that you can see. It's a really big base, so everything is spread out pretty far and there's not much to see. Occasionally you can get a glimpse of a Patriot missile launcher.
        So generally it is allowed?


        I just remembered: During the 90ies I was onboard of CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt, while it was in the harbour of Rhodos. I was on vacation there with my parents and we met an american soldier, seargent Peak, who invented us to have a visit on the Roosevelt. It was very impressive although I wasn't interested in military stuff at that time as much as I am now. Too bad it wasn't allowed to take pictures there.

        And one more point which is a little bit beside the theme:
        In 2000 when President Clinton was on his visit here in Berlin I saw the Airforce One leaving right over my head about 800ft high. It was guarded by two F-117s which seems a bit strange to me as the F-117 is a strike fighter and no interceptor. sadly I had no camera with me. The only answer must be that the Airforce One should have been indistinguishable from other planes on radar. Two fighter guards of course would show the terrorists that there must be some v.i.p. in that aircraft.
        >Facit Omnia Voluntas<

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        • #5
          I went to visit a friend in Sargodah for a few weeks and there while you could not actually see anything of the base, the final approach for the fighters was right in front of his house, you could see F-16's very often often less than 50 feet high.
          "Any relations in a social order will endure if there is infused into them some of that spirit of human sympathy, which qualifies life for immortality." ~ George William Russell

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JG73
            So generally it is allowed?
            Generally, no. Civilians are not permitted on US airbases since 9/11. You cannot take pictures on any military ramp, even at public airports like BFI. If you can see it from a public area like a street or sidewalk, it's okay to take pictures. There are structured tours at some airbases like Edwards and WP, and it is okay to take pictures from the bus, but you are not permited to wander around unsupervised.
            "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JG73
              The only answer must be that the Airforce One should have been indistinguishable from other planes on radar. Two fighter guards of course would show the terrorists that there must be some v.i.p. in that aircraft.
              One problem with that theory is that the F-117 has no air-to-air capability at all, that I am aware of.
              No cannon and no provision for AAMs.

              It's more than likely that those Nighthawks were more of a flashy public-relations photo op.
              Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TopHatter
                One problem with that theory is that the F-117 has no air-to-air capability at all, that I am aware of.
                No cannon and no provision for AAMs.
                You're right. As I just read it doesn't even have any radar.


                Originally posted by TopHatter
                It's more than likely that those Nighthawks were more of a flashy public-relations photo op.
                Propably. It would have been so typical: showing the people these impressive bad looking aircrafts which aren't able to shoot down anything while over the clouds the real escort waits: Some ugly old Phantoms of the German Air Force which guide the AO out of German airspace.
                >Facit Omnia Voluntas<

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JG73
                  You're right. As I just read it doesn't even have any radar.




                  Propably. It would have been so typical: showing the people these impressive bad looking aircrafts which aren't able to shoot down anything while over the clouds the real escort waits: Some ugly old Phantoms of the German Air Force which guide the AO out of German airspace.
                  Ummm...I think you've misinterpreted what was obviously a display. They had no role, and if you think the flight planners that scheduled that flight don't know that the F-117 cannot deal with an air-to-air threat (and where do you suppose it was going to come from, anyway?), you're dumber than you assume they are.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JG73
                    I've never been there but I heard of people that military police gets quite rude if they catch spotters next to their airbases
                    HOW ODD, that the guys in charge of securing the base from terrorists and whacko protest-monkeys would have a problem with somebody photographing the base, its fence, its personnel, its gates. Almost unbelievable that those guys would even take notice of an unknown person or persons looking for all the world like a person casing the place or identifying American military personnel with telephoto lenses and writing in notebooks around the perimeter of an American airbase everytime an aircraft lands or takes off.

                    Personally, I'm shocked that there would be that kind of sensitivity to what is indistinguishable from a threat to security of assets and personnel.

                    Originally posted by JG73
                    But what is it like in the US its self? Can you go to an airbase and take pictures or do you have to do it secretly?
                    You'd better NOT do it secretly. Best thing to do is to contact the Public Affairs Officer, and he'll tell you how to go about it. Usually, the military is only too proud to show itself, its people, hardware, facilities off to the public that pays for all of it.

                    But start sneaking around the fenceline with a camera and a notebook, and you'll get to meet Mr. Security Forces person, and maybe his doggie, too.

                    Originally posted by JG73
                    In some countries you even go to prison when you are taking pictures of airbases or aircrafts. This year I was in Greece and wanted to take pictures of T-33s on Kalamata airbase. First i looked over a fence on the civil Kalamata airort, which is next to the military airport. But they had built some kind of protecting wall in front of the planes. Next I was driving on the road/highway which passes next to the airbase and seeing the T-33s through a fence but they where too far away for taking pictures. So I decided to drive to the gate of the airbase where I asked if it was possible to take some pictures. The guards first where looking a bit interrogatively but then said "I don't think so". Saidly I drove away.
                    Later, back home in Germany I read about some netherlands and english spotters who where taking pictures in Kalamata through the fence who where catched and found guilty of being spies. They should even go to prison for 10 years or so. Happily the british government impeded that. But as far as I remember each of them had to pay 20.000€ as a penalty.
                    We almost NEVER prosecute those things, but an arrest is possible, sometimes LIKELY, if you do something that makes yourself look like a threat.

                    It's only the prudent thing to do, after we've had to put up sim SAM firings at landing / departing aircraft, perimeter breaches, kidnappings of our personnel, and a million other threats that all start with one of the Bad Guys doing recon...with a camera and a notebook.

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                    • #11
                      Okay, sorry for the snarky tone. I'm a little fried, today...tough shift at work.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bluesman
                        Ummm...I think you've misinterpreted what was obviously a display. They had no role, and if you think the flight planners that scheduled that flight don't know that the F-117 cannot deal with an air-to-air threat (and where do you suppose it was going to come from, anyway?), you're dumber than you assume they are.

                        Maybe there are some lingual misunderstandings.(please tell me if some things I say are not clear to you) I got that it was just for show. Of course I don't think that the flight planners don't know about F-117's operation profiles. I was just wondering because there where no interceptors to see.


                        Originally posted by Bluesman
                        ...and where do you suppose it was going to come from, anyway?
                        Airplanes with heads of states on board are accompanied permanent by interceptors. Normally the guidance is alternated at the state borders and taken over by the respective Air Force.
                        An exception is made for example with Israeli heads of state, who are always accompanied by interceptors of their own country. With heads of the US it's the same I think.
                        There does not have to be an acute threat therefore. It's just to react fast on a unpredictable situation.
                        >Facit Omnia Voluntas<

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                        • #13
                          Okay, okay. Like I said, I'm a bit touchy today. I thought you were going down some anti-American route (being snide and dismissive of the protocol flight paying honors to the President as some means the dumb-ass Yanks were using to over-awe everybody that saw it), and it pushed my buttons. I read what YOU wrote again, and I read what I wrote again, and I reconsidered. I don't think you meant it that way.

                          I apologized, and I meant it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bluesman
                            HOW ODD, that the guys in charge of securing the base from terrorists and whacko protest-monkeys would have a problem with somebody photographing the base, its fence, its personnel, its gates. Almost unbelievable that those guys would even take notice of an unknown person or persons looking for all the world like a person casing the place or identifying American military personnel with telephoto lenses and writing in notebooks around the perimeter of an American airbase everytime an aircraft lands or takes off.
                            But it's still german territory around the base where americans can't act like Rambo. I'm not talking of people who are climbing up fences or doing something like that what's illegal. I'm talking of people who are at leas 50 m away of the fences with no possibility to have a view inside the base. Nevertheless the MP exceed their authority and wants to arrest those people. I heard a lot of stories where the german police had to come and deescalate the situation because the MP wanted to arrest people or wanted their films which they wheren't allowed to.

                            Originally posted by Bluesman
                            Personally, I'm shocked that there would be that kind of sensitivity to what is indistinguishable from a threat to security of assets and personnel.
                            As I said foolish people who are climbing up fences or making wholes into walls are to blame for it them selfes if they get in trouble. The bases here in Germany are legal capacity territory of the US and there are enough signs that it is not allowed to make photos of inside the base.


                            Originally posted by Bluesman
                            You'd better NOT do it secretly. Best thing to do is to contact the Public Affairs Officer, and he'll tell you how to go about it. Usually, the military is only too proud to show itself, its people, hardware, facilities off to the public that pays for all of it.
                            It's their right. And it's my right as a German to be on German territory.

                            Originally posted by Bluesman
                            But start sneaking around the fenceline with a camera and a notebook, and you'll get to meet Mr. Security Forces person, and maybe his doggie, too.

                            I like dogs. No problem.


                            Originally posted by Bluesman
                            We almost NEVER prosecute those things, but an arrest is possible, sometimes LIKELY, if you do something that makes yourself look like a threat.
                            That's a true problem in Germany. I must say I'm very happy to have the chance here to take such great photos. But the security laws are realy modest here. There was no problem for me to make some **** here if I had the weapons I needed, which is a bit more complicated here than in the US I think because of our weapon laws.
                            >Facit Omnia Voluntas<

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bluesman
                              Okay, okay. Like I said, I'm a bit touchy today. I thought you were going down some anti-American route (being snide and dismissive of the protocol flight paying honors to the President as some means the dumb-ass Yanks were using to over-awe everybody that saw it), and it pushed my buttons. I read what YOU wrote again, and I read what I wrote again, and I reconsidered. I don't think you meant it that way.

                              I apologized, and I meant it.
                              It's ok. It was a hard monday for me too. I respect what you said.
                              >Facit Omnia Voluntas<

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