Tuesday, 30 May 2017

SACKVILLE arrives on the Halifax Waterfront

HMCS SACKVILLE transited from the Dockyard to her berth on the Halifax Waterfront in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic this morning. I had hoped to tag along for the ride, but couldn't make it over in time. My fallback position was to take photos from the ferry as she left the Dockyard, but the timing didn't work, so I grabbed a few photos from the pier instead.

Although the tugs left her side briefly in order to switch sides from port to starboard, this occurred when SACKVILLE was behind Cable Wharf from my location, and I didn't catch it. It is therefore nice to catch an angle such as the following images where the tugs do not appear.

In a few of the images, I managed to avoid having both the tugs and Cable Wharf show up in the background.

As SACKVILLE came alongside, I got to try for images of the crew throwing the lines ashore.

SACKVILLE won't formally open to the public for a few weeks, although she will be open by appointment until then. 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Goodbye to schooner "Sorca"

The Nova Scotia-built wooden schooner Sorca is reported to have sunk today about 287 kilometres southeast of Halifax, while on her way to Bermuda. The CBC is reporting that all four crew members were rescued after the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre received a distress call around 12:30 a.m.

(CBC has an updated story after interviewing the rescued crew.)

Built in Lunenburg in 1978 by Murray Stevens, Sorca was scheduled to participate in the RDV2017 Tall Ships regatta, which will stop in Halifax between July 29 and August 1.

I believe I first managed to photograph Sorca in June 2013.

In the harbour, with the Georges Island (left) and McNab's Island (right) lighthouses in the background.

Alongside at Bishop's Landing.

I'm a sucker for nice reflection.

I think the last time I managed to photograph Sorca was in July 2015, when she was alongside in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax.

The sky was grey, and conditions for photography weren't quite as nice as in 2013.

These photos will just have to do, because it doesn't look like I will get another opportunity.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Vimy Flight

The four replica Nieport XI biplanes of the Vimy Flight visited Halifax over the weekend. Originally due to arrive on Friday, weather kept them at Greenwood until Saturday, arriving in time for a flypast over Citadel Hill around 11:30 am. 

When we first spotted them, the middle two were popping some smoke.

After their flypast, all four headed over to CFB Shearwater to land, and two of the aircraft were walked backwards down the hill to the Shearwater Aviation Museum (they apparently weigh in the range of 550 lbs each). To move the aircraft, one pilot lifts the tail while another pushes from the front.

The pilot of this plane is Allan Snowie, author of "The Bonnie - HMCS BONAVENTURE". 

Here is one of the aircraft with two re-enactors from the Citadel in period uniform.
The aircraft are apparently built at 7/8 scale as compared to the original planes. I don't know the reason behind the size discrepancy, although it may have something to do with the requirement to fit four of these into a CC-177 Globemaster III for the trip to France and back so that they could fly over the memorial at Vimy for the centennial.

Lots of bright colours!

The engines were originally rotary engines, apparently - I'm not sure what they are using here. I suspect the red battery inside isn't accurate either.

The arrow actually serves a purpose, though you don't have to use an arrow. The original aircraft were fitted with splitters to prevent the cables from rubbing together, and someone started using an arrow for this purpose and it caught on.I'm guessing the plastic wire ties holding them on are not historically accurate.

The planes are all built of wood, reinforced with wire cable, and are covered with fabric, as were the originals. There are a few modern touches, however, especially when on looks into the cockpit.

I generally don't take selfies, but apparently I did here - can you spot me?

There are a few modern touches in the cockpit, including radios and instrumentation that would not have been available during the First World War. I'm assuming they also carry GPS.

One of the two aircraft is fitted with a Lewis gun mounted on the top wing, just over the cockpit.
The Lewis gun was an automatic machine gun perfected during the First World War. On aircraft, it was fitted without the cooling shroud seen on land-based weapons, presumably to save weight.

I strongly suspect the original aircraft didn't have an iPhone charging cable.

A close-up of the Lewis gun mounted on the upper wing.

This aircraft carries multiple dedications.
All four aircraft took off again on Saturday afternoon, and headed north to a small airfield outside Windsor, NS. They have a schedule on their website, which they do not seem to be following all that closely.

The cross-Canada tour began in Nova Scotia around May 6, and will continue west from here, apparently skipping Newfoundland & Labrador.

For lack of anywhere else to mention them, and also aircraft related, I will also show an interesting sight that flew overhead while I was cutting some wood outside just before sunset last night.

A flight of what I assume are three airliners headed from New York to London, all flying in a line. I had to choose between having trees or power lines in my shot. I chose the trees.

I liked how the contrail was petering out behind the last aircraft.

I'm assuming the third and final aircraft was a Boeing 747, but I am only going by the four engines and rough shape of the fuselage.