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Air Raids

Steve Russell, Staff Photographer

When I first hard them practising, I did have a flashback to the week I spent in Beirut in 2006.

The sounds of the Blue Angels, the F-16 Viper and the F-22 Raptor took me back to that conflict. While the sounds of the jets that July in Lebanon weren't as loud at those flying over Toronto. The sound did bring me back to that summer. I was glad they were not followed by explosions!


Looking straight up from the deck of HMCS Ville de Quebec the Blue Angels come down from the apex of a loop.

Photographers at the Star have a love hate relationship with the Canadian International Air Show. It is a very cool event to cover, but it is a three day event. That means the first photographer to cover the show gets the play, maybe something left for the second day and the third day is a be there just in case kind of day.

The other issue is where the show takes place, on a hot day it gets hazy, on a clear day all the planes are back light, not ideal for pictures.

When I found out I was covering the first two days of the show I was excited about the first day and not so much about the second. 

However,  the day before the first day we recieved an invite to cover the show from the deck of the HMCS Ville de Quebec, a Canadian frigate that was on a tour of the Great Lakes. HMCS Ville de Quebec was going to anchor in the safety area. This meant that the planes would be flying almost over us, would not be back light and have the CNE, Ontario Place and the Toronto Skyline as a backdrop.


The HMCS Ville de Quebec fires a salute!

Best of all it would be a whole new look!

Also my second day would be from a new angle (although it was the same old angle)

While the day was long, we did a story on the shipdid a gallery on the ship,  covered the airshow  and I got a boat ride in.

Although climbing down the side of the ship, that tapers, down a rope with wood rungs ladder with all my gear was a little scary. Climbing back up was easier. The guys on the boat took us for a great ride that included high speed turns. 


The boat ride! Check out the horizon! And look at my hand in the lower left hanging on for dear life and above that the pilot telling me to hang on!


Me climbing the final rungs of the ladder mugging for City TV cameraman Phil Pang


Guests on the HMCS Ville de Quebec brace themselves as the ship lists 12 degrees during a high speed figure eight. The ship is designed to right itself from a 100 degree roll.



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