For Canada Day weekend, its been somewhat relaxed. Between rain showers and storms, I’ve been able to be outside and realized that the title is what I’ve seen this weekend.
For the 150th anniversary of confederation of Canada, there was a planned flypast over Parliament Hill of about 40 aircraft from the Vimy Flight biplanes, the Hamilton Lancaster, to the current RCAF Globmaster III transport plane. Not one to like crowds or any lineups, I stayed away, with the hope they might pass over the house. The weather didn’t play nice, and the flypast was cancelled. As a bonus (to me), the Lancaster was only in town for the flypast. It was hanging out at the Ottawa airport. I was listening in on the Air Traffic Control to see what has going on, and I heard they were heading back to Hamilton. I had my camera and new 50-140 ready. I knew that when it left, it would come over the house. It didn’t disappoint. It always nice to see and hear that plane.
On Sunday, I planned to go for a bike ride. Being somewhat lazy and tired, I chose to go for a walk instead. I actually like to go for a bike early before all the dog walkers and people are on the paths. As I’m getting my shoes on, I hear a train go by. Its not the typical VIA Rail sounding train, and it’s not on a typical schedule. That means is the CN589 local. I grabbed my X-Pro1 and went for a walk along the track and managed to grab this as it returned from switching out the lumber dealer. The only thing not obvious in the photo, is that its actually going backwards.
There are two flying Lancaster bombers in the world. One in the UK, and one in Canada. This year, the Canadian one, VRA, went to England to fly with the other for a couple months. By all accounts, the tour was a big success.
Lancaster VRA is based in Hamilton, Ontario, near my hometown of Dundas, such that, to me, the Lanc is a piece of my home. As such, I watched as it left Hamilton for England. I waited outside my house in Ottawa in hopes to see it fly by. Sadly, the day was very cloudy, but I heard the engines in the distance. I followed its tour on Twitter, as photos were tweeted of its journey. On its return, I followed it again, thanks to modern technology. It was through this, that I learned it would be stopping over at a small airport in Gatineau, just on the other side of the Ottawa river in Quebec. It was staying for the night and heading on its final leg in the morning.
My excitement was palpable. My favourite WWII aircraft, and bit of home, was stopping HERE! My girlfriend managed to calm me down. On saturday, their departure was delayed, and my plans to see her come in were unraveling. I had a show to do downtown (on crew, not on stage). I may not get a chance to see her. And as we were waiting outside my GF’s parents house in the east end of the city, I saw my chances dwindling. I was following on radar and there was no way we could get over there in time. Then in the distance, I heard *that* sound. I said to the air, “there she is”, and shortly after she appeared over the treetops, escorted by a P-40 and P-51 fighter. My GF said, “do you want to go see it?”. I didn’t think we could make it over there, see her, and get to the theatre downtown in time.
To cut it short, we went.
Glad we did too. So nice to see VeRA (as she has come to be known). And it being a small airport, there was little warning, and the gathering was only some two dozen people, and we could get right up close.
The crew even made a speech to the crowd. The cost for the trip is close to $750,000.
So glad I chose…my GF pushed me into making the trek. Why? Because as they were closing up, the airport crew made a very important statement. They were leaving at 10am the next day.
Well, Sunday morning was planned. We would be there to see her take off.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. We got there about 9:50am. And because we hung around to the very end (something I tend to do for most things), not too many knew about the takeoff time. So there were maybe a dozen people there to see her off.
And being a small airport, the security and personnel was light. As such, I was nice and close as VeRA fired up her engines and headed out
As she taxied by, I got behind for a few shots. The wind from the engines was incredible.
Soon after she was on her way, but not before she came around for a flypast, then on to YHM and home.
As I watched her disappear I felt pride. For our country and the happy British people who saw two lancs flying, some for the first time in 60 years, for the crew for the great job, and for my hometown girl.
To me, living in Ottawa, she is a little piece of home. And after following her for the past two months, I’m glad she stopped in so I could say hello, welcome back, and good job.