CF-18 Demo Hornet Crash 2010

Lethbridge International Airshow
Exclusive photos by Aerophoto International

It is a weird sensation to watch any event such as this through a camera lens.

             All was normal on the Friday practice day for the Lethbridge International Airshow the weather though windy was not bad as I arrived at the Airport. As per usual I was there to photograph the arrivals and chat with the hornet demo team Lethbridge has been my home show for 18 years and I have always made it a priority to attend this show, I received my media pass and made my way to the demo team the crew was prepping the jet and all was normal. Brian (Boozer) Bews was going over paperwork with the team and then was getting himself ready for his practice flight. The nice part about practice day is I usually have a chance to chat with the demo pilot and introduce myself however Brian was very busy and I was ensuring my gear was ready to shoot the flight so I did not have a chance to say hello. The team took me out for a walk around of the jet so I could shoot the artwork and get a few close shots. I took a few photos of the other  aircraft  on the hot ramp and chatted with the crew as they waited for Boozers  launch time . When it came time Brian went to the jet and strapped in I chatted with the crew about how great the demo is compared to any other hornet demo and just shot the jet as Brian ran her up and did a check of the systems. All looked good as he taxied out and launched into a grey Alberta sky. I always hate that as the blue makes for better shots but hey it is practice day and I knew the weather was to be hot and dry for the weekend.  Brian made a couple passes and just after hit highspeed pass he pulled over to bring the jet in for his High Alpha pass.  I typically dont shoot this pass as it is slow and in photos just does not look great one or 2 shots would be good as Brian entered his pass all was looking great and then the jet began to slide. I kept shooting figuring that Brian was demoing the exceptional ability of the hornet to remain in control at slow speed. Next thing I noticed was that the jet just kept giong over. Now if you know anything about photography when the photo is being taken you cant see what is giong on I was shooting at high speed so I heard the canopy go off the jet and the seat fire as Boozer ejected and I just kept shooting the photos speek for themselves I knew he got out and I know why the 500 foot line is in place I was a little over about 800Ft from the impact poing and I did not hear the jet explode. It is amazing how slow motion everthing was. I was the closest photographer to the crash and gave all the photos to DOD for the investigation. All I need to say is I am glad no one got hurt and pleased to say that despite the accident the show was another great hit.

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William Gilson, Aerophoto International.
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