Hercules

Years ago, Don told me about the Lancaster bomber stationed at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton. It’s one of the last two flying Avro Lancasters in the world. More than 7000 were built during World War II, and only two still fly.

I learned more about it in the last few years as it’s sometimes mentioned on the local news. For example, last summer, the aircraft flew to the UK and appeared at a number of air shows. They ran into some engine trouble and had to borrow another engine to finish the trip.

They call her Vera because her civil registration is C-GVRA, and since moving to Niagara Falls, I’ve seen Vera a number of times. You see, members of the museum can book a one hour flight on the old girl for, I believe, $3000. I’m not sure if the flight is always the same or the passengers can request a particular flight plan, but I’ve seen Vera fly by to view the Falls itself.

Many aircraft visit the Falls. They’re mostly helicopters and single-engine planes, but once in a while, bigger craft circle for a view. Even jets sometimes come by for a look. No jet or four-seat aircraft sounds like a big four-engined propeller-driven plane like the Lancaster. I heard that sound this morning and by the time I got outside with my camera, she was off in the distance heading home. I kept my ears open and heard it again later. It was not Vera, but this much younger beast:

4M6C3405.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/1600, f/8, 400 ISO

4M6C3405.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/1600, f/8, 400 ISO

I didn’t recognize it from this angle, but it was clearly a military cargo aircraft. You can see the outline of the cargo ramp just forward of the empennage.

It circled and from the side, I could see it was a Lockheed C-130 Hercules belonging to the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command. This makes perfect sense as there’s an Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls, New York.

4M6C3398.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/1600, f/8, 400 ISO

4M6C3398.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/1600, f/8, 400 ISO

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an ear open for Vera.

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