Aircraft Spotting in Japan - Tsuiki-Ozuki
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Day 11, Tsuiki - Ozuki, 09/11
We only woke up not very far from the sunny and warm Nyutabaru, but once again it seemed that we would have no luck at Tsuiki. It was cold again with around 10°C and cloudy. As we already knew the location of the airfield the spot was quickly found in the morning, after the usual stop at a coffee vendor machine of course. The spot at the quay turned out to be very nice for taxi and take-off photos of the local F-15s, F-2s and of course the few remaining Mitsubishi F-1s. But in the morning it was still quiet and we spend our timelooking around, freezing and dreaming of the warm morning the last two days at Nyutabaru. With the blue Phantoms at Misawa and the Aggressors only the F-1 was missing on our list of the important jets to be nicely photographed.
Finally the first round of seven F-15s took off at 08h45 and was followed by some F-2s, only two F-1s and also a T-4. All of these types had even some sunny spells of the sun that was trying to fight against the clouds, but unfortunately lost on the long run during that day…
Of course we were controlled there as well, this time from the inside of the base andfrom the outside as well. After the second round on midday we left this position when the first F-1s took-off and were looking for a new spot at the other end of the runway. We found one, but unfortunately we had to look over a very high fence with our ladders, and the aircraft were still very far away when the dropped of their landing brakes. The combination of the cloudy weather and very long lenses reulted unfortunately in very poor photos. At least it made our farewell to the F-1 not too hard and we got our car ready to leave Kyushu, heading to Iwakuni.
F-15s & F-2s
Driving along the coastline on the highway was really fast compared to the route we took some days ago from Fukuoka. This even allowed ous to make a short photo stop at the bridge that is connecting the two Japanese islands that we visited during our trip.
On the way to Iwakuni we planned a stop at Hofu and Ozuki, but did not have enough time anymore to do both. We decided theefore to give Ozuki a go, as this would bring us a new aircraft type. The JMSDF airbase with its local Fuji T-5 (the official designation is Fuji KM-2A) is responsible for the training of young Japanese Navy pilots. With a lot of arcraft circling above the airfield it was found in nearly no time and a good photo spot was also available. The fence with its height of around 1,50m around the airfield was no obstacle for us, a lot less then the tree line which gave only some small gaps for good photos. Obviously the soldiers were not very used to spotters there, because a ot of joggers stared at us with open eyes, and one was even afraid that we might try to jump over the fence. But a short conversation resulted in "Photography, OK!". We only took some photos there and left before the security arrived, because we were not in the mood to answer the same questions as that day in the morning once again.
At the local 7/11 I got some nice noodles to prepare for the rest of the drive to Iwakuni. Unfortunately the highway was still blocked due to a landslide and we got stuck in a traffic jam that did cost us a lot of time. The search for the youth hostel was once again very difficult as the indication in the guide was once more a spot that could be everywhere in the next few kilometers, additionally surrounded by many one-way streets. But finally we found it, of course…, and once more and were warmly welcomed. As the hostel was nicely located highabove the city on the edge of a forrest and near a temple it was obvious that it was very hard to find. To get something to eat that evening we had to go back to the city, where we also found a supermarket and got something for our next day's breakfasts, and some fruits for a change. At a Hokka-Hokka-Tai nearby we bought some take-away dishes that we enjoyed back in the youth hostel together with a good beer because of the success on the southern island! Before going to bed we did not take a bath that time because it did not look to confident. Furthermore the room was not very warm and with our colds that might have not been a good idea as well. Once more we said "Good night" on the rice mat…