The image of the week was this tandem skydive taken at the Dorothy Rungeling Airport during the Open Day for COPA, where 87 Eagle Squadron was hoping to recruit the next intake of Air Cadets. Youngsters between 12 and 18 can learn the principles and practicalities of flight. First on the ground in classrooms, and one of the three simulators in the cadet hall. Then in the air in training planes, gliders, and powered engine crafts.
Children queued to be taken up with their parents to enjoy the view as COPA pilots circled the field in short hops, giving eager youngsters their first taste of flight. Click here for a photo gallery.
Other attractions included training planes, which kids clambered excitedly in and around as their parents grabbed literature and talked with the COPA team about Cadet life. Air Cadets often go from here to full pilot certification. It’s a real thing. Your kids could be pilots.
I had the opportunity to try out a simulator myself during a quiet moment. Large, wide screen monitors display the full range of cockpit controls, all of which are linked to input devices and controls which actually work. A yoke, pedals, throttles, and flaps. I know the principles from my misspent youth on flight sims, but this was a whole new level. I took off and was soon blissfully circling through the skies with a big grin screwed to my face. Until I realised a line was forming behind me. I hastily stepped out: This was their day, not mine.
I attended with the goal of taking photos to give to the COPA team for use in marketing and recruitment drives. After taking all the photographs I needed, I decided I could leave, but wanted to say goodbye to my buddy Jim first. He was still in the air with a family. I decided to wait until he came down to earth for the next group and grab him.
Which left me to find some way to entertain myself.
Always Look Up
The Dorothy Rungeling airfield also plays home to the Niagara Skydive Centre. They are a couple of hangars over from the cadet hall and had been busy all morning, it being the weekend. I looked up. And saw a string of skydivers had just deployed. Hmm. I estimated about a minute before they flared for landing. So I quickly put down my backpack and opened it up. Pulling out my big lens, the Sigma 100-400 which I use for any long distance shots, I swapped it onto the camera and laid down on my back right there on the tarmac. And it was glorious.
As the skydivers swooped over me I got a dozen tasty shots. Some might make it to the stock image libraries. But the image of the week today is for me. It shows a tandem jump, a novice being expertly guided by an experienced instructor. I remember doing this myself out of Burnaby for Nikki’s birthday. What a memory. As the skydivers passed gracefully overhead and looped down toward us I captured this perfect moment of them sitting on air. They were, I estimate, still a hundred feet above me. I followed them all, all the way down to a safe and easy landing. But this one? This one leapt out as my favourite. This one’s for me. And you, of course. Enjoy.
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