Trip Reports
By Gostar den Daas | November 2016

Japan 2006

Aviation road trip in the land of the rising sun.

Japan is well known for its spotter friendly atmosphere. Combine this with unique military aircraft, no where to be seen, and a variety of Japanese airlines, and you have one for the bucket list. Aviamagazine traveled around two of the main islands and visited the hot spots in the land of the rising sun.

Tsuiki

Our trip started in Fukuoka, the main city on the island of Kyushu in the South West of Japan. We took Cathay Pacific flight CX510 from Hong Kong with a stop at Taipei, Taiwan. It’s a popular route serviced by a Boeing 777-300, B-HNE in our case.

The next day we drove east to visit our first objective: Tsuiki Air Force Base. Tsuiki is well known for its fantastic photo opportunities with access close to the taxi- and runway. The weather was beautiful and luck was on our side. Lots of movements this day by 6 and 304 Hikotai, with F-15s, T-4s and F-2s on exercise flights.

We started in the morning at position 1. This location is next to a small harbour at the end of runway 25 and is well known for its characteristic flood wall. This is one of the best spots in Japan where you can come that close to the action. Light circumstances are best in the morning.


43-8529, F-2

53-8535, F-2

52-8852, F-15

32-8816, F-15

32-8816, F-15

32-8816, F-15

52-8852, F-15

72-8881, F-15

72-8881, F-15

96-5778, T-4

63-8534, F-2

63-8534, F-2

43-8527, F-2

43-8527, F-2

72-8893, F-15

22-8815, F-15

43-8529, F-2

43-8529, F-2

43-8530, F-2

63-8538, F-2

13-8519, F-2

43-8529, F-2

53-8535, F-2

53-8532, F-2

52-8852, F-15

52-8852, F-15

52-8852, F-15

72-8881, F-15

72-8883, F-15

72-8893, F-15

36-5707, T-4

36-5707, T-4

In the afternoon we moved to position 2. This is a park, with official viewing location at the end of runway 07. You’re a little bit further away from the runway, but photo opportunities are good when the runway is in use for landing.


96-5619, T-4

36-5696, T-4

22-8815, F-15

72-8881, F-15

30-8267, F-1

32-8816, F-15

72-8893, F-15

Nyutabaru

Next was Nyutabaru, in the South East. This base is well known for it’s Aggressor F-15s (Hiko Kyodotai). The F-15s can be see parked on the apron. Unfortunately no activities here, although a rare EC-1 stopped by, in bad weather, during our visit. There is a semi-official spot next to the runway where the apron can also be seen.


78-1021, EC-1

78-1021, EC-1

78-1021, EC-1

78-1021, EC-1

92-8912, F-15

77-8395, F-4

67-8389, F-4

68-1019, C-1

67-8389, F-4

Kagoshima - Fukuoka

One of our goals this trip was to fly the YS-11. To make this extra special we timed it to be one of the last flights before the YS-11 was taken out of service with JAC - Japan Air Commuter. After 41 years this would end the last YS-11 passenger service in Japan.

In the early morning we took flight JAC3640 from Kagoshima to Fukuoka. JA8766 took us the 124 miles (200km) to Fukuoka in 20 minutes. Lots of enthusiasts were on the flight which we ended with a goodie bag to commemorate this special occasion.


JA8766, YS-11

JA842C, DHC-8

JA8717, YS-11

JA8766, YS-11

JA847C, DHC-8

JA8886, Saab 340

JA001C, Saab 340

JA8766, YS-11

JA842C, DHC-8

JA8766, YS-11

JA8766, YS-11

JA8766, YS-11

JA8788, YS-11

JA8788, YS-11

JA8766, YS-11

After arriving at Fukuoka we stayed the rest of the day on the viewing terrace on domestic Terminal 2. The terrace is located on the upper level of the building and can be accessed through the Raggruppi Air Coffee shop. Photo opportunities are good, but be aware your behind glass.


JA8670, B767

JA354K, B737

JA008D, B777

JA8905, B747

JA03AN, B737

JA8197, B777

JA8419, B737

JA702A, B777

JA8554, MD-81

JA81AM, DHC-8

JA8975, B767

JA8260, MD-81

JA712A, B777

JA8383, A320

HL7708, B737

JA101A, A321

VN-A309, A320

JA8374, MD-81

B-16303, A330

JA767A, B767

JA8975, B767

68-1019, C-1

JA8766, YS-11

JA8961, B747

On page 2 we will continue our trip South on Kyushu before heading Northeast towards Osaka. Again we checked one of our goals by photographing a flying US-1 Shin Meiwa!

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