As part of the 20th anniversary of XL231 retiring from the RAF and 'retiring' to Elvington it was decided to take the opportunity of the crisp and clear weather to carry out a private nightshoot of the aircraft.
Myself, Olly Suckling and Gary Hancock donned suitable attire for the evening and posed as the 'models' for this significant event.
The private photoshoot was covered by Ian Finch, Andy Abbott, Andy King and Graham Buckle. I'm sure you'll agree the results speak for themselves!
The sky was gin-clear and the star patterns were all clearly visible and yes, it was cold!
As part of the pre-taxy checks for the following day we decided to function systems on the aircraft and she threw a little spanner in the works. Our mistake it turned out but, it caused a mild flutter of panic!
The nose wheel steering is only operable on internal hydraulics ie the pumps being run by either the APU or main engine electrical busbar supplies and this we know. However, with ground power on and hydraulics running then the nosewheel steering is in-active. Normally we use an older type ground power unit and it does not matter if the lead is still attached to the aircraft but, this time we were using a more up to date item and its interlink system took out the steering. We naturally were concerned and after shutting the aircraft down deduced the ground unit was the problem. We then re-started and physically removed the lead once the APU was on line and thankfully all was then back to normal. It is quite surprising how running such a complex aircraft at night has a totally different perspective on daylight operations.