Great Lakes International Air Show 2011

It’s been a long 2 years since the last air show in St. Thomas. This year’s edition was rebranded as Great Lakes International Air Show (formerly known as St. Thomas Wings and Wheels), held at St. Thomas Municipal Airport (CYQS), St. Thomas, Ontario.

There was no classic cars display this year, where the freed up space was mostly taken up by an expanded Canadian Forces contigent. There were separate displays for each of its three branches, as well as a full blown obstacle course for kids.

Regardless, the weather was fine, cloud conditions were almost perfect, which could only result in a great show!

Canadian Forces Skyhawks parachute team kicked things off:

Red smoke and a Canada flag
O Canada
Still hanging on

Next up, solo performances from the Hercules, and the world’s only flying Curtiss Helldiver:

Hercules low pass
CC-130 Hercules in flight
Curtiss Helldiver takeoff
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver

A search and rescue demo by the US Air National Guard followed after a short break, featuring the HH-65C Dolphin helicopter:

US Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin

Then both the B-25 Mitchell and Avro Lancaster from Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum did several fly-by’s. 4 x Rolls Royce Merlin engines on the Lanc!

CWHM Lancaster
CWHM Lancaster
CWHM B-25 Mitchell
B-25 Mitchell aka Hot Gen

Next up, 3 x Canadian built Harvard trainers from the WWII era:

Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association
Harvards exiting loop
Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association

The Canadian Forces treated the crowd to a combined air and ground asssault demonstration. I believe this was the first year this demo was performed.

Harvard II with insurgents lurking
CH-146 Griffon hovering
Insurgents battling
Canadian Forces Combined Arms Demonstration

The RCAF’s CF-18 Hornet demo jet this year is based at 409 Sqn, CFB Cold Lake. The full length of the fuselage top side is beautifully painted:

CF-18 demo jet
CF-18 demo jet
CF-18 from 409 Sqn Nighthawks
CF-18 from 409 Sqn Nighthawks

Following the CF-18 was a parade of modern jets from the United States, including F-16 Vipers, a Northrop F-5N used as adversary training target, and A-10 Thunderbolt II.

3 x F-16 Vipers from Vermont
US Navy F-5N
A-10 Thunderbolt II
A-10 Thunderbolt II

The RCAF Snowbirds closed out the show as usual. Good weather conditions allowed them to perform a complete high show:

Snowbirds Big Arrow loop
Canadian Forces Snowbirds on stage!
Hero break
Snowbirds line abreast loop
Lag Back Cross

I managed to catch a few solo cross shots, but missed the 4-way cross this time 🙁

Contact again!

St. Thomas is one of the few places where one can see the parked aircraft from the crowd line. I took advantage of that to capture the Snowbird team’s return, shutdown, and debriefing:

Snowbirds taxiing
Snowbird 6 finding its parking spot

Instead of trying to beat the crowd to the exit, I hung around a bit longer to catch some aircraft going home. The gorgeous late afternoon sun made for great lighting.

Lancaster leaving the show
B-25 follow Lancaster home
Up, up, and away!

Feel free to view all my shots from this show at my Flickr Gallery!

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