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September 07, 2004

Toronto Air Show


I took shelter from the sun under the Toronto inukshuk and watched the Canadian International Airshow this weekend. It turns out taking pictures of things that are at a distance and moving at speed is tricky. The Snowbirds obliged by flying in numbers sufficient for my autofocus to get a bead on them. A CF-18 made noise satisfying enough to trigger car alarms, there was an even louder F-18 Super Hornet and I had never thought to get so close to a B-1B. But I was there for the A-10. What a monster! Glad not to have the full attention of one of those things. Better yet was seeing the A-10 do what looked like impromptu formation flying with a stunt plane. Seriously, not something you see every day.

Also spotted was a rather magnificent vessel on the horizon. Does anyone recognize her?


Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 7, 2004 09:38 AM

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If you liked Toronto's air show, I highly recommend the London and Hamilton air shows. You can get a lot closer to "show centre", see tactical demos on the field, and you can actually wander around the flight line and board some of the aircraft.

P.S. The ship in question is the Empire Sandy, a former WW2 salvage tug re-rigged as a three-masted schooner.

Posted by: Chris Taylor at September 7, 2004 10:57 AM

Thanks, Chris!

Posted by: Flea at September 7, 2004 11:02 AM

I went on Sunday, with my bottle of water and brand new Olympus binoculars - the day the show was called due to low cloud cieling. Damn my luck.

Watched the B1-B and the A-10 from our deck (with the new binoculars) before rushing off to work yesterday.

Damn clouds.

Posted by: rick mcginnis at September 7, 2004 11:12 AM

Who will know the Bluenose in the sun?
What every schoolboy remembers and will not come again? (Stan Rogers)

Posted by: Susan at September 7, 2004 11:49 AM

Check the dime. The Bluenose was a two masted schooner was it not?

See: http://www.collectible-treasures.com/catalog/images/item1587.jpg

Posted by: Alan at September 7, 2004 03:48 PM

I don't know if that is the Empire Sandy. The ES is typically rented out for party events - I remember getting drunk on that boat during a high school boat cruise!

Posted by: Slippy at September 7, 2004 04:55 PM

I think I should eat my words - that is the Empire Sandy.

Guess I was in no condition to remember what she looked like from my late night encounter with her back in the early '90s...

Posted by: Slippy at September 7, 2004 04:57 PM

There's only two big schooners that regularly cruise the Toronto waterfront - Empire Sandy and Kajama. Both are three-masted gaff-rigged schooners. Kajama has a dark blue/black hull, and Empire Sandy has a white hull. I am still betting on Empire Sandy, because Kajama's masts are evenly spaced and Sandy's are not, like the photo above.

Posted by: Chris Taylor at September 7, 2004 05:12 PM

I last saw the Toronto Air Show at the CNE in 1989. That was kind of sad, actually, since two Snowbirds hit the Lake that day. I didn't really see it, but the moan of the crowd was one of the saddest things I ever heard. The crash was particularly upsetting, since I was there with my brother and his wife. His wife had been an Air Force brat and knew a lot of pilots and their families...
Hmm, I'm a bit of a Captain Bringdown today. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Dr_Funk at September 7, 2004 06:25 PM

Guam's air show is this weekend. Won't be nearly as large as Toronto's but we will have the USAF Thunderbirds here. Looking forward to it.

The only thing I don't like about air shows is living on the base it's happening on. Major traffic disruptions and security concerns. We'll see.

Posted by: Ian at September 7, 2004 09:39 PM

The A-10 was flying with a P-51 Mustang, if my binoculars served me correctly. (Just checked the program book - yup.)

It was a "heritage flypast" of sorts - the A-10 flying alongside its WW2 counterpart in air-to-ground combat. That P-51, alas, snapped its rear wheel when landing at Pearson that day and had to be towed from the runway. It can be fixed, though, I'm sure.

Posted by: rick mcginnis at September 8, 2004 12:18 AM

Ahh... now it is all making sense. I thought I had missed the P-51. What I failed to mention in my post was that because of different appointments on different days I saw the first half of the show on Saturday and the second half on Monday. And neither time did I think to bring a program!

Posted by: Flea at September 8, 2004 12:40 AM

And I would love to see the Guam airshow too!

Posted by: Flea at September 8, 2004 01:28 AM

Flea, next time you have the leisure, go down to Hamilton and go to the museum.

They have a Lancaster. It's flyable, but they can't get insurance for it any more (or so the guys told me) so it doesn't go to the shows. Damn shame.

The day I was there they were doing an inspection on it -- all the access panels and cowlings were off, all the guts & skeleton there to see. Great experience. The rest of the museum's worth a day trip, too.

Ric Locke

Posted by: Ric Locke at September 8, 2004 11:20 PM

Sorry to say the Hamilton airshow is no more. The insurance costs killed it after 9|11.
I used to love watching it every fathers day, those big planes all over the city.... sigh....
But the Lancaster is great! I still see it flying once in a while.
If you have enough dosh you can even get a ride in one of their classic planes!

Posted by: James F at September 14, 2004 01:30 PM