“Revvin' up your engine
Listen to her howlin' roar
Metal under tension
Beggin' you to touch and go”
These are the opening lines for “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. It is best known for being part of the sound track of Top Gun. And this lead-in is very appropriate for this segment as we are taking flight at air shows. Some of the photos will be scanned versions of photos from film like this cover page but the majority of photos will be digital, all shot by yours truly.
This is all about airshows, particularly those from the Vanderhoof Air Show, the Prince George Air Show and the Quesnel Air Show.
Vanderhoof is a small village 100 km west of Prince George. The airshows there were always a class act. But when the Prince George Airshow started it was never held again until recently, when local people in Vanderhoof tried to revive this particular air shown. The last I heard was a one day event with a limited number of performers. Unfortunately due to work I was unable to attend the event. Since then I have not heard anything anymore. Its “successor”, the Prince George Air Show, lasted only two years. Then there was nothing for quite some time in Northern BC until the Quesnel Air Show started up in recent years.
Airshows to me are part history lessons and part excitement. What person does not like to see the old war birds, now owned by private people who spent a lot of time and money to maintain and fly these magnificent machines. Military displays usually feature the latest and greatest in modern era fighters and bombers, which are purpose built to carry the latest weapons technology into combat. Then there are the performance teams like Canada’s own Snowbirds, which perform well-choreographed maneuvers with great skill and precision. Then there are individuals who put their purpose built aircraft through their paces, showing great agility and stamina during their performances. All performers have a great passion for their aircraft and the stunts they perform.
Airshows are fun to shoot as long as you are prepared to have a fair number of photos not turn out as you had envisioned them. In order to get fairly good photos one has to lead the planes: too slow or too fast and the picture will turn out blurry. Then there are the head-on maneuvers where one has to decide which plane to lead and then hope for the best outcome possible. Not every shot will turn out as it was envisioned. The often-abrupt directional changes can throw a wrench in the best-planed shot. But then there are the shots that are rewarding in the end. A prime example is the head-on
collision shot below. The timing was just right when the noses of the Tudor jets“ touched and it makes a great photo. One of the aircraft is clear, the other one blurred. The “clear” plane was the one I led. I actually took some measurements on both planes, compared them to the specified dimensions and was able to calculate the closing speed of the aircraft to be
approximately 1100km/hr or 550km/hr each. Now that is fast in close quarter flying.
Another photo I have included was shot back in the late 80s or early 90s. What you are looking at is a somewhat blurry scan of a 4x3 photo, which was processed in a commercial lab. So, why am I using this photo when there are so many digital clearer photos to choose from? The answer is really simple. A few years back I had a framed copy of this photo hanging in my work space to personalize it. One day we had a visitor from head office who was talking to different people in the department. When my turn came we started talking business after the obligatory small talk. During our entire conversation he had a very hard time to maintain eye contact with me. When our meeting was over he apologized for not maintaining eye contact and, pointing to the photo, said that he liked the photo so much that he just could not keep his eyes from looking at it. In return I told him that this was the best compliment anyone could give to a photographer. And that is why that photo made the list.
Thank you very much for visiting this site and taking part in my adventures. In order to facilitate faster loading times the photos on this website are low quality jpgs. High quality versions of some of the best photographs you see here are available at my online store for either download and print yourself or have them printed and framed by the nice people at Picfair. Can't find what you are looking for? Just drop me a line on the Contact Us page and I will make the photo available to you in the store.