THREE COAST AVIATION
Introduced to aviation at a very young age, I attended my first air show in 1983, before turning two. While I don't remember too much from those early events, the great London International Air Shows and Hamilton Air Shows in the 1980s certainly helped play a major role in my passion for airplanes. My greatest influence was my dad, a life long aviation enthusiast with a specific interest in military aviation. Along with taking me to all of these events, his collection of books and art encouraged me to learn about the history of aviation, although a spotlight was always on the incredible battles waged in World War II and Vietnam and the planes and pilots that fought in them. I even had the pleasure of meeting Johnnie Johnson, the top-scoring Allied Ace of World War II with 38 victories, all against single engined fighters and an honourary Canadian for his work leading the Canadian Wing.
In the 1990s, with the advent of the internet and online information sharing, our travels expanded outside of Southern Ontario. We were able to visit some amazing places like the Israeli Air Force Museum at Hatzerim Airbase, the fantastic NAS Oceana Air Shows featuring loads of F-14 Tomcats and a couple visits to Barksdale AFB to enjoy the ageless B-52 Stratofortress.
In 2000, I travelled to Europe for the first time thanks to some very cheap tickets on Royal Airlines. My first trip to England was focused on aviation so I passed on the big tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace and London Bridge and instead visited the RAF Museum at Hendon and the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. I also went to the Yeovilton International Air Day then saw my first exercise, spending a day at RAF Waddington enjoying the international participants of Exercise Nomad while being amazed at the friendliness of spotting in Europe. The primary reason for my trip was the Royal International Air Tattoo that was being held at RAF Cottesmore. I spent three lovely days watching hundreds of arrivals then froze when the temperature dropped that weekend. Finally, I ended the trip by somehow managing to sneak into the Farnborough Air Show and was once again amazed by the international participation, especially the Russian Su-34 Fullback. I enjoyed these events so much that I returned the following year to Hendon, Duxford and Cottesmore, this time joined by my father.
By 2003, I was done watching from the ground and enrolled in the Commercial Aviation program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. Over the 20 month program I flew over 200 hours and attained my Commercial Pilots License with a Seaplane rating. I added to my logbook starting with Cessnas in the Northwest Territories in 2008 and Manitoba in 2009, flying a twin-engine Piper Aztec in London in 2010 and finally working on Pratt & Whitney PT6 powered turbines in Northern Ontario from 2010-2013. My hard work paid off with an offer of employment from Air Canada in 2013, a call I still very vividly remember receiving.
Even while I was working all over the country my interest in photographing aviation remained strong. We attended two of the best aviation events in North America in the 21st Century; the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends in 2007 and the Centennial of Naval Aviation in 2011. We also went on a two week long road trip through the US that we called 'MOAT - the Mother Of All Trips' , visiting incredible locations that included the National Museum of the USAF, Barksdale AFB, Dyess AFB, NAS Fort Worth JRB and the Boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB. As much fun as it is travelling great distances it's always nice to come home, at least our adopted home in Belleville, Michigan. The Thunder Over Michigan Air Show is a place that I feel complete happiness as we have attended most of their events since our first visit in 2003 and more importantly, many of the organizers, volunteers and photographers have become friends.
For a long time I have wanted a place to share my photos and experiences. Procrastination and being intimidated by the overwhelming number of pictures on multiple hard drives kept this project from becoming a reality for many years. Due to the commercial aviation slowdown that started in April 2020 I have had a lot more time available and recently decided it was to be used to bring this site to life. It has been such a pleasure to go through some of my collection and relive the incredible memories associated with the pictures. There is a seemingly infinite amount more to edit and post, especially when I start scanning old slides and negatives from the unthinkable times before digital cameras. I am very fortunate to be able to easily travel the world thanks to my profession and my very supportive and encouraging wife and it is my goal to regularly share images from recent events while also adding those from years past. Please enjoy the site and visit regularly for newly published events and locations.