This weekend, the Canadian Warplane Heritage celebrated its 40th anniversary with a rather stunning air show! Was it worth the five-hour drive and the criminal investigation that is crossing the border back into the USA? You bet it was! There were a few rather unfortunate cancellations, ranging from the Commemorative Air Force's B-24 (thanks to that landing accident last month), Vintage Wings of Canada's Swordfish and Lysander, and the Military Aviation Museum's FlugWerk 190 and Skyraider, and on the day (Saturday anyway) VWoC's Hurricane and the CWH's Cornell went tech. Also one of the T-33s that was due to be on static display had a landing accident the day prior, and so as we made our way onto the showground there was this sad little T-Bird propped up on two wheels and a jack sitting next to a cannibalized 727 next to one of the cargo hangars. Hopefully she'll be back in the air soon!
The pacing of the show could be frustrating at times, thanks in no small part to several WestJet arrivals and departures, but otherwise, it was a great day out! Sorry in advance for the number of photos, if you happen to think there are too many. If you don't think there are too many, I'll be happy to share more, and more information as well! I could write volumes about this show. I came out with 860+ photos, and only then because I stupidly brought only one memory card. This was my first show without my trusty Canon 100-400mm lens; instead, I rented a 300mm f/4L and 1.4x teleconverter and packed my 70-200mm f/2.8L for the ride. I must say, I'm not exactly dissatisfied with the results!
So, why was this show utterly amazing? In a word:
1.Okay, so that wasn't a word. But you get the idea. To make things even better, the B-17 was a few paces behind.
2. Not the greatest photo ever, but how often do you see a Lanc and a B-29 flying together?
3. Earlier in the day, when the lighting was much better, the CWH aircraft gave us some unforgettable formations!
7. The Lysander was supposed to fly in formation with
the Twin Beech. Alas, the pilot of the Beech apparently thought he was supposed to race
the Lysander, blowing past the crowd and leaving the poor old Lizzie in his slipstream
8. Would've really liked to have seen more of this beauty:
9. And this one:
I understand the high costs of operating warbirds, but I'd have thought that, in the CWH's 40th year, they'd want to showcase their warbirds a little more. Just one or two more passes from each would've satisfied me! That said, the formations were remarkable.
10. The show started with the "Yellow Wings" parade of CWH trainers. This Fleet Fort 60K is the only airworthy example in the world. It flew with a Tiger Moth, Stearman, Chipmunk, and Finch. The Cornell, as I mentioned before, taxied out but developed a problem and did not fly.
11. Trying to show up the home team? Vintage Wings of Canada displayed this marvelous formation.
12. Doesn't that Pony look just gorgeous in camo?
13. I love the desert scheme on the P-40! Shame the similarly-painted Hurri couldn't join it in the air.
16. Following the formations the Corsair gave a fine solo display.
17. Hawk One
18. And here we have the quaint sight of a Sopwith 1-1/2 Strutter coming in to land over a quintessentially Canadian old barn. The Great War Flying Museum staged a dogfight featuring the Sopwith, a Fokker DR.1, and an SE.5a. After shooting down the SE.5a, the triplane somehow went on to get creamed by the rear gunner of the Sopwith!
19. Back to the bombers, which closed the show. The sun shifted in front of the crowd, and high cirrus clouds moved in. Just once I'd like to go to a show where Fifi doesn't
end up being displayed in the worst light of the day!
20. I know it is terribly rude to brag, my British friends, but... it sure is nice being able to get a Lancaster topside without having to stand in the "naughty field"
21. "Chucky" from the Virginia-based Military Aviation Museum
22. Avenger & Helldiver flying past the radar tower. These two spent far more time holding for WestJet than they did displaying!
23. And what warbird show would be complete without a gaggle of Harvards?
26. Not entirely a warbird, but this Beech 18 does have a military background. Matt Younkin flying his excellent (and utterly photogenic) display. First time in Canada!
27. Some of my fellow photogs getting ready for the Snowbirds
28. Got it!
29. Twice in one day! That's a record for me...
30. I had a "fist-pump" moment when the Aurora was moved from the static display lineup to the flying. It made me realize how much I (1) love this aircraft, and (2) miss when the USN displayed Orions regularly. I did have to laugh, however, as I took this photo and the commentator was describing the CP-140's environmental protection role... as it belches out clouds of black smoke!
31. CF-18 demo. Most of the display seemed very distant.
32. Really? A scanner code for smart phones on the TAIL OF AN AIRCRAFT? Sigh...
33. If you paid extra (or, like me, forked out the cash for a VIP Photographer's Pass), you could visit the hot ramp prior to the show. Sadly, that was the only opportunity on the Saturday to see Vintage Wings of Canada's gorgeous Hurricane.
35. And onto the static display. This Bolingbroke is being restored to airworthy condition by the Canadian Warplane Heritage.
36. Tiger Starfighter!
37. CF-101B Voodoo, owned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage
38. WestJet Boeing 737-700: the source of much delay to the flying display!
39. I didn't really mind the flying display being interrupted for this. I miss 727's!
All in all a very enjoyable show. And on a somewhat related note, there was a group of firefighters (I assume; they were wearing Fire Department t-shirts) at the table next to me at the restaurant on the way home, and they were discussing various topics related to aviation and the space program. The final topic of discussion, as the party was leaving? A contemplation of the consequences of farting in a space capsule. Nice.
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