During the Abbotsford Air Show, we could see a bunch of people out on the airfield. It wasn’t obvious what they were doing but I took some shots with the longest lens I had to see if I might later work out what was going in. My friend Mark thought it might be related to the drone display that was due to take place after dark. I think he might have been right. Looking at the shots, they seem to be waving the drones around above themselves. Maybe this is part of a calibration routine or something to do with activating them and having them communicate. I don’t know. If anyone is familiar with all of this, please do let me know in the comments.
The Royal Canadian Air Force will soon be getting new tanker transport aircraft. They are going to buy some Airbus A330 MRTTs to replace their CC-150 Polaris jets. These are based on the A310 and I have never seen one before. Fortunately, there was one on static display at Abbotsford for the air show. It was in the grey scheme rather than the brightly painted version but that was fine by me. I was just glad to get one before they are replaced. It would be good to see one flying but I suspect the chances of that are diminishing. You never know, though.
The Canadian Forces SkyHawks parachute display team opened the Abbotsford Air Show evening display. One of the jumpers had a line of smoke canisters that hung beneath them as they descended under their canopy. Some tight turns allowed the line to swing out and create some nice smoke trail patterns. Here are some shots of the results.
One of my goals for going to the air show at Abbotsford this year was to see a Cormorant fly. I know this would sound like my normal interest in the bird species but this time it means the AW101 version that is flown for Search and Rescue by Canada. Sure, I have seen plenty of 101s over the years with the British and Italian examples, but I have never seen a Canadian one before. It was due to display during the show. When I got there, I was delighted to see it sitting on the operating ramp.
However, my optimism was unjustified. There was no announcement during the show about what had happened to the SAR demo, but it just didn’t happen. The day shows did get the demo, but the Friday evening show was a no go. It was a fun show, so I wasn’t too disappointed, but it was a little frustrating to still have never seen a Cormorant airborne. One day…
The Canadian Forces parachute display team, The SkyHawks, were performing at the Abbotsford Airshow. With their Canadian flag parachutes, they carried American and Canadian flags for the show opening as well as undertaking a few formation demonstrations. I was working my way through the images from the show and was cropping in on the shots to see which were the sharpest. It gave me a better view of how the team members link together for some of the configurations that they use.
One of the positions involved one guy’s foot being hooked between the legs of his partner. This looked like a pretty tough position to hold. In a three-person formation, the middle individual was holding the other two in place. I imagine that there is a fair bit of strength involved in making this work. These soldiers are undoubtedly tough individuals. I suspect you practice these positions a little further from the ground for the first few times!
I made a quick excursion across the border to Abbotsford for the air show. I went for the evening show on the Friday rather than the day show. The conditions were really nice for most of the show with the cloud rolling in only near the end of the proceedings. Mt Baker is in the background across the border and provides a nice backdrop for some of the flying. As the light got nicer, I wasn’t going to miss out on a couple of shots of the mountain with its cloud formations above the summit.
Our November visit to Vancouver was about us doing some fun stuff with friends and enjoying what a great city has to offer. However, when staying so close to the waterfront, it was improbable that I wouldn’t spend a little time watching the floatplane operations. Even non-enthusiasts find the floatplanes enjoyable to watch so I am not standing out too much here. The weather wasn’t ideal and the early evenings meant flying would be curtailed before it got too dark but I was happy to get a little bit of flying to watch as part of my weekend away!
While in Vancouver in November, we made a trip to North Van to see some friends. That meant a trip on the Seabus. The tricky thing about getting images of the Seabus is that you can’t really do anything if you are traveling on it. The dock is enclosed and the views are restricted so you don’t really have any options (or at least I haven’t worked out what they might be). However, I did go to the heliport which is very close by and this does provide a better view of the comings and goings of these ferries.
It’s not the most elegant of vessels but it does the job effectively. Back and forth without turning since it is a bi-directional vessel. It’s all about shuttling across the harbor as efficiently as possible. I did also shoot some video of it but it is safe to say that there is nothing terribly dynamic about it that makes for an exciting video!
Our long weekend in Vancouver did include some slightly gloomy weather. When the conditions were not enticing for wandering around the city, I hopped in the car to head down to the heliport on the waterfront. Despite having been to Vancouver many times, I had never actually got down to the heliport itself. It was really easy to get to from our hotel and the car was welcome in the crummy conditions.
Weekend traffic levels are lower than during the week but there is traffic to Nanaimo and Victoria so that helps a little. I was happy to sit around for a while and get some shots. I’m sure a busy weekday would be better and having some slightly nicer weather wouldn’t hurt. I did figure that, since I had got some shots, a little video might be worth a shot. I was able to get some arrival and departure video so edited that together in the piece below. Helijet’s S-76s are nice looking airframes. I would love to take a trip with them some time – I just assume the luggage allowances are not great!