Another type based at RAF Mildenhall that I didn't expect to see operating over the Christmas break was the CV-22's flown by the 7th Special Operations Squadron, as part of the 352nd Special Operations Wing based here. The SOW is pretty much nocturnal, so only a few test flights and basic currency flights are flown during the day, but come dusk on a week day and the CV-22s and MC-130J's will usually go out for the evening. This Osprey is operating under the call sign 'Knife 79', which is their post maintenance test flight call sign, so I knew he wasn't going to out for long at around midday. He's lifting off one off a special pad - 'Alpha' pad, built to withstand the heat from constant Osprey operations. All the infrastructure built a few years ago for CV-22 operations will now go to waste if the USAF does carry through and close Mildenhall in a few years, as currently scheduled. The Osprey is transitioning from the hover to forward flight as lifts off the 'Alpha' pad.