Brantford Community Charity Airshow 2019

LancasterNight2

A few seasons ago, I learned about the airshow in Brantford, Ontario from my Canadian Airshow friends but was never in the area during the August time frame. The subject of those discussions always contained the Avro Lancaster Bomber. The Lancaster is the flagship of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and is also the only flying model in North America. A National Treasure of Canada. With some exceptions, she seldom travels far from her home in Hamilton.

I have had opportunities in the past, but weather and the early days of my photography did not produce any keepers. As I researched the possibility of attending the show, something motivated me greatly. The opportunity to photograph a night run of the Lancaster. Weather would not be a factor and it did turn out to be a dreary, rainy day. Once I decided the $99 dinner was worth it, I bought a flight and rental car for a brief, 32 hour stay in Canada.

The Brantford Community Charity Airshow benefits two charities. The Rotary Club of Brantford and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. It is held on a Wednesday at no cost to attendees except for a $20 fee to park. The 2019 version occurred on August 28th. Brantford Municipal Airport has three runways in triangular arrangement but the longest and airshow runway is a 05/23 at 5,036 feet. The sun starts behind and to the right, moving left and frontal in the afternoon.

On the Tuesday, prior to the airshow, the dinner at the Canadian Heritage Warplane Museum and the Lancaster night run took place. After arriving in Buffalo, New York and driving to Hamilton, Ontario, I spent some time at the museum before dinner, which was in the hangar. One individual from the performers was seated at each table and the buffet dinner was spectacular. After some dining, music, speakers, ceremonies and a silent auction, it was time to go on the ramp for the night run of the Lancaster. For an enthusiast like me, it was worth the money for this opportunity. The run lasted 15 minutes, or so, going from idle to high power. The sounds, the feel and the blue-flamed exhaust were so gratifying.

The following day, the location shifts to Brantford Municipal Airport on a very nice, sunny day. This weather would bring the biggest crowd in the recent memory of the hosts. Most of the performers park in front of the crowd and included, the B-25 “Hot Gen”, a white PBY Canso (Catalina), the CF-18 Demo Team, two T-28 Trojans, the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds and the Lancaster. Before the official start of the show, the Snowbirds were flying around in a light practice and the Lancaster was giving rides.

The performances got started with a Royal Canadian Air Force C-47 in nice markings from World War II. The Hamilton Sport Parachute Club was on board and performed the opening ceremonies flag jump. The PBY Canso also launched and took turns flying in front of the crowd. The all white Canso had a surprising camouflage top on the wing.

That was followed by the Pitts Special II team in red paint performing formation aerobatics. Two T-28 Trojans performed a formation routine with one in blue Navy colors and another in white Army colors. The B-25, “Hot Gen” performed an aggressive solo routine.

Visiting from their home base at Waterloo Airport, the Waterloo Warbirds provided a red and gray DeHavilland Vampire and a blue Lockheed T-33 first in formation and then in solo passes. Next, the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team flew their formation routine and then it was time for the beloved star of the show, the Avro Lancaster. After a solo routine, the show finished up with the CF-18 Demonstration Team and the Snowbirds, although I left the grounds at 3PM to ensure a trouble free egress and a flight home out of Buffalo.

I certainly enjoyed this all-Canada show and the images I was able to take home. Leading up to the event, I had questions and I wish to thank Al Mickeloff of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum for his time and helpfulness. This annual airshow benefits great causes bringing performers and the community together and I was happy to take part in it.

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