In 1875, 200 Icelandic farmers arrived on the shores of Lake Winnipeg to establish Gimli. It was the start of a diaspora that would see Iceland lose 20% of its population after the eruption of the volcano, Askja.

In 1943, the RCAF made an airstrip at Gimli into an RCAF Station, to be used as part of the British Commonwealth Training Plan. It operated throughout WWII and then again from 1950 to 1971, when it was closed.

In 1983, Air Canada 143 ran out of fuel midway between Montreal and Edmonton on 23 Jul, and made an emergency landing at the former RCAF Station, earning the nickname “the Gimli Glider,” immortalized in the mural along the Gimli breakwater.

2-photo collage of Gimli muralsIn 2018, I watched cadets undergoing glider training at the Regional Gliding School Northwest, which uses the refurbished facilities of the former RCAF Station Gimli.

I haven’t taken many photos of airplanes in flight, much less gliders. As with any photography, there’s a learning curve. How fast a shutter speed is needed to eliminate motion blur? How much ground or background needs to be included to give the impact of the planes taking off or landing, and how much is a distraction? Are head-on or side-on or angled shots more effective? And so on.

For about an hour, we happily circumnavigated the airfield looking for spots to get shots of the tow plane and the glider taking off, and the gliders landing.

3-photo collage of tow plane and glider taking off4-photo collage of cadets landing gliders


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2 Responses to Glide!

  1. barbara carlson says:

    I like the optical illusion that happens when the angle of incident is just right — while one is traveling in a car — and the plane is overhead aiming for wherever and suddenly the plane stops — in mid air! — and stays there for an unbelievably long time before the car moves beyond that magical spot.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this. I’ll have to keep an eye open now, though!

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