It is already Thursday 10 May when we arrive at Gifu airbase in the early morning. There is a nice spot with a view of the airfield where we check out if anything is happening today. Close by we see a couple of C-2s and P-1s from the Kawasaki factory as well as the tail of a KC-767. In the distance we notice two F-2 and an F-15 of the testunit. A Hamamatsu based T-4 comes in for landing while a local UH-60J is dropping some parachutists. The we see the prototype T-4 taxi out as well as a blue F-2 with a grey F-4EJ and soon after that a prototype F-2B in a red/white/blue schema. We see them all take off and the it is time to move to a different spot to take some landing shots. This is only a short walking distance away. All aircraft return within the hour and make numerous touch and goes. We are also presented with a couple of visiting aircraft and are very happy with the result.
Originally, we had scheduled Hamamatsu airbase for the afternoon, this is a T-4 training base. But as we had seen T-4s every day so far, including some from Hamamatsu, we decided to go to Nagoya-Komaki to see something different. This is only a short distance away.
Upon arrival we were treated with an SH-60 visiting the Mitsubishi factory, a landing KC-767 and two C-130s taking off. Not a quiet place here!
There is a brand-new museum with a great viewing deck on its roof and here we stayed the rest of our day. We witnessed lots of activity with C-130s, KC-767s, U-125s, UH-60s coming and going. The museum is next to the ramp with all kinds of emergency services helicopters, like fire department, police, medevac, etc. It was great to see these helicopters depart below you or fly by at eye-level. The lady volunteer was very exited as the told us at 15:00 a Phantom would do a fly-by, together with two T-4s. We were not quite sure how to interpret this, as communication with the Japanese is often difficult due to lack of knowledge of the English language. But at three o’clock we saw a F-4EJ taxi from the Mitsubishi factory, nicely below us, to take-off. In the mean time one of two visiting T-4s had also taxied out to the runway. In hindsight we think two T-4s had come in to bring a crew for the F-4 which was ferried back to Hyakuri after maintenance. The take-off was spectacular as it carried no tanks and was very light. A couple more aircraft came in and it was time to start the long drive to Hyakuri again. We left at around 16:00 and arrived just before 22:00 at our hotel.