RAF Northolt "Night Shoots"


One genre of aviation photography to become popular with enthusiasts over the last few years is the “Night Shoot” this is where aircraft are lit up at night by floodlights. This gives the enthusiasts the opportunity to take some unique photographs under challenging conditions including "running" propeller aircraft and helicopters.


The most famous of these events are held at RAF Northolt in London UK which is now up to edition 21. Organised by Phil Dawe and his team and hosted by 32 Sqn all money raised during the evening goes to the restoration of the original World War II Operations room at Northolt known as building 27 which is a registered charity.


As events go Northolt night shoots are a relaxed affair with refreshments and often memorabilia for sale from the attending aircrews. Although, Northolt night shoots attract some of the more rare units and aircraft which even the larger air shows fail to book, it must be remembered that bad weather en- route and operational tasking combined with unserviceability’s can cause last minute cancellations on the night and are out of the control of Phil and his team.


With the numbers of photographers attending creeping towards 250 thankfully those attending are generally well behaved and not hogging the prime spots so everyone gets a chance to get the shots they want. The photos used in this article have been taken from several Northolt night shoots attended by Cliff Ibell Images so are representative of the aircraft that attend. 


A collection of photos taken at the RAF Northolt "Night Shoots" can be found here: http://www.cliffibell.co.uk/p786038245