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ITV Fighter Pilot : The Real Top Gun – Show Incoming!

Heads up! ‘Fighter Pilot: The Real Top Gun’ is a new ITV three-part series starting Tuesday 20th August 2019 between 2100-2200.

“This new documentary series follows a trio of fighter pilot recruits as they attempt to become the best of the best – to be selected to fly the RAF’s brand new F35 Lightning jet.

With exclusive access to the Royal Air Force’s brand new £100 million F35 fighter programme and to the Ministry Of Defence’s fast jet recruitment process, this series goes inside the cockpit to bring viewers a vivid insight into the challenges faced by the men and women who aim to become the UK military’s top guns.

The series features a close-up perspective on those on the learning curve aiming to reach the top as well as on already qualified fighter pilots training to fly the massively advanced new F35 aircraft. With just a few months to get ready for the front line, their task is to be fitted up for space-age new suits and helmets, to learn how to steer with their feet – and to familiarise themselves with a jet that can avoid radar, hover, and land vertically.”

Which Air-band radio scanner?

The best Air-band radios/scanners on the market offer you the ability to receive a variety of transmissions, including transmissions from military aircraft such as Air-Air, Ground-Air and Air-Ground.

Cheap air-band radios can be bought for as little as £20, although in most cases, this will limit your ability to pick-up communications to just Civilian/Commercial aircraft. That however, doesn’t mean you can’t get an affordable Air-band scanner that will allow you to hear military comms such as on the NATO Low Fly frequency 278.000.

Which scanner should I buy?

Deciding which Air-band radio to buy largely depends on its intended use and how much you can afford to pay. If you intend to visit the Mach loop for example, you’d need a relatively good all-round scanner with the ability to receive military aircraft transmissions – the UHF aircraft band (225-400MHz) – in order the comms of aircraft in the area.

If you aren’t intending to use the scanner for military tranmissions, a cheaper scanner with less features and the ability to receive VHF aircraft band (108-137MHz) will generally suffice.

Always bear in mind, valleys and low-flying aircraft will not provide you with 100% coverage, but this adds to the enjoyment and spontaneity of a last-minute ‘incoming!’ shout.

View our Mach loop frequencies page if you already have a scanner and want to know which channels to tune-in to!

Popular scanners for the mach loop:
Uniden Bearcat 125XLT

Uniden 3500XLT

Yupiteru 7100


An example of what you can expect to hear is demonstrated in this Youtube video!

Best DSLRs for aviation photography

The mach loop draws-in professional and amateur photographers due to the fine opportunities to test their aviation photography skill to the limits. The best DLSR cameras for military aircraft such as fast jets and helicopters depends on whether you are taking photographs for enjoyment or to earn money, or even a social media following.

The Loop offers an almost unrivalled location in which to photograph military aircraft doing their thing. Some of the photographs taken by visitors to the loop over the years are simply incredible. It is very rare to find such a mix of backdrops, mixed with aircraft travelling at around 450 Knots and mostly under 500 feet – you can even see the pilots and navigators in some cases!

Which digital SLR?

Whether you are a Nikon or Canon diehard, or simply enjoy taking videos and photographs with your phone, the loop makes it an enjoyable experience!

In time, we will begin to build up this page with more information on the most common camera settings, along with recommended camera and lens combos for a variety of budgets. Bear with us whilst we work on that!

Camera bodies

The best camera for aviation photography is one that adapts to a variety of situations. So, the ability to manually set Shutter Priority mode and Aperture priority mode are vital.

The best cameras for aviation photography needs to have all of the modes needed for different situations, such as Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority.

Canon entry-level DSLR: Canon EOS 450D, Canon EOS 750D, Canon EOS 800D

Canon mid-range DSLR: Canon EOS 70D, Canon EOS 7D

Canon advanced/pro level DLSR: Canon EOS 5D, Canon EOS-1D

Nikon entry-level DSLR: Nikon D3300, Nikon D3400, Nikon D5600

Nikon mid-range DSLR:
Nikon D7200, Nikon D500,

Nikon advanced/pro DSLR: Nikon D810, Nikon D750

Camera lenses