Tag Archives: RCAF

My First Polaris – Just In Time

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.

Canadian Hornets at Janesville

There was an airshow in the Midwest that everyone used to say was a great event.  It was held at Janesville and I finally got around to going to it shortly before it ceased to be.  I promise it wasn’t my fault that it ended.  I was there for the arrivals as well as the show and a pair of Hornets came in from Canada.  The nice thing about this arrival was that they seemed to have a little extra fuel.  Consequently, there was time for a few approaches and overshoots.

The light was a bit subdued that evening but it still had a slightly warm feel to it.  Besides, pick your white balance and you can adjust just how warm things actually looked!  I was shooting with the long lens from my location when they arrived so everything was taken at 500mm.  Sometimes that was way too much lens for the distance between us but it was just an opportunity for a tight crop – let’s say that was an artistic decision!

The Hornet gear tucks up in a complex way and I got a few shots of them cleaning up as they powered away in to the pattern.  A few times they pulled downwind pretty quickly and it felt like you were looking over their shoulder into the cockpit.  I can even crop in and see the displays on the panel (later in the day means the ambient light isn’t too much making the cockpit a deep shadow.  This was one of the high points of the evening.  Shame I never got to see other shows at this venue.

Canadian Battle of Britain Hornet

AU0E3110.jpg1940 was a tumultuous year in the UK. While the war had started in 1939, 1940 was the year in which it came home to the British. The German air campaign was supposed to be softening up the defenses ahead of an invasion. Things turned out differently as a consequence of some valiant defense, some great pilots and aircraft and some strategic blunders by the Germans. As a result, Operation Sealion was cancelled and the UK remained out of German control although still subject to constant bombardment.

C59F1716.jpgSeventy five years later, there are many celebrations planned to commemorate the Battle of Britain. Many air forces participated as part of the Royal Air Force with squadrons being operated by crews from individual countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and Canada. Canada is marking the anniversary in many ways but one is decorating a CF-188 Hornet in a special scheme.

C59F1730.jpgThe paint finish is replicating a Hawker Hurricane from 1940. The colors are reproduced and there are even red marking on the wing leading edge to represent the locations of the gun ports on the Hurricane. It also carried commemorative markings to recognize those that took part in the battle. I was lucky to see the jet at Chino. It flew after sunset on the Friday and then as part of the main display on the Saturday. The sunset show concluded with it dragging the hook along the runway in a shower of sparks!

AU0E3097.jpgThis jet will appear at a number of venues throughout the year. If you can see it, do try and make the effort. The RAF has a Typhoon marked up similarly and I am sad that I won’t see that. This is a great alternative for me.