Upload & Sell: On
On a decidedly lesser scale, I've had one of those weeks, too. A week or two ago I got a message from one Steve Comber concerning an A2A opportunity with the Vulcan. Apparently, after Kevin Jackson's recent A2A with XH558 they were all standing around afterward and my name came up (thanks, Kev!) as the American shooter most likely to be crazy enough to come over on short notice for an opportunity to shoot the iconic Cold War bomber before she retires from flight at the end of the show season. Apparently I am that guy, because even though I'd already signed up (and paid for!) the Madras A2AX workshop this weekend, I couldn't live with the thought of passing up the chance, so on Friday I packed my gear and got on a UAL 777 bound for Heathrow.
In the nature of things, the A2A is a fragile beast; by the time I landed in London the mission had been scrubbed due to a combination of a lousy forecast for Sunday and a shortage of willing photo ship pilots after last week's crash at Shoreham. So instead I drove 3-1/2 hours straight from LHR up to the Vulcan's base at Doncaster to shoot the launch and recovery ops. In the three hours between takeoff and landing I got to know Steve and aviation videographer Chris Cannon; the iPhone snaps below show us on the roof of Steve's Hyundai shooting over the fence at the departure end of the runway.
It's a good day when you meet one new friend. To meet two such genuinely warm and funny gentleman made yesterday a great day, despite the disappointment of having travelled five thousand miles for an A2A and come away with nothing. In the end it's the experiences you have and the friendships you make that count in this life; this week has been a stark reminder of just how precious each and every day is, in the certain knowledge that nothing is certain, and life is short.