Last week was a rather interesting one. My trip to Finland started on Monday with a good dinner with a part of our aviation photocrew. But it was on Tuesday we took the flight to Helsinki. It has been years since I last flew commercialy so I’m still liking it to take a flight. I like big airports anyway because of the size and efficiency it has but also because of the masses of people coming and going to places all over the world. I didn’t join the crew for actual A2A photography, but rather as a vacation. Get to meet some new people and see a new bit of the world.
After arrival in Helsinki, our local photographer and guide Heimo took us to the other side of the field to meet the Skyvan crew and take a look at the plane. Usually used by the University of Aalto for measurements it has a different cargo door than the plane we usually use. The day ended like every day during this trip. With a visit to a restaurant. And I must say I’m truly surprised by the Finnish cuisine. The reindeer was certainly one of the highlights.
Wednesday was very relaxed with some sightseeing at Helsinki and the little islands before the city. In the evening we went to Malmi airport to find a system to put 12 photographers in the Skyvan and make sure they can all take a decent picture from the planes flying behind it. We also got to see my personal highlight, the Hurricane marked with swastika’s. And all of that during a beautiful sunset.
Thursday saw an early start with a three hour flight from Malmi to Oulu. The same day we did an amazing photoflight with several planes like the Polish Casa, F-16’s, etc. I sat in the back so didn’t get to take any pictures, but seeing a Casa passing by is truly amazing. Also the Fouga and the Hurricane came to say hello. Two planes I really would have loved to photograph… Luckily for me, I did get to see the Hurricane on Sunday evening in spectacular sunset lighting. The day ended with a thunderstorm, the car then broke down and apparently the hotelroom wasn’t cleaned for our arrival. Luckily Heimo fixed these problems fast!
The next day went pretty much the same but luckily without the problems. Great photoflights, no pictures. Yet I got to see the F-18 breaking away next to the Skyvan, afterburners lit on. One of those magical moments. At the end I did get to photograph the German EC-135. Pretty nice as well! The Midnight Hawks were one of the other highlights. Again I did not get to photograph them, but I would see them pass next to the Skyvan. The only thing is, I fell asleep. The twelve other photographers in the Skyvan obviously didn’t think it was necessary to wake me up…
Saturday and Sunday were the showdays at Oulu. A pretty nice show with a new demoteam for me, Frecce Tricolore. Seeing the Mig-29 with afterburners against the dark clouds and lightning of a passing thunderstorm was one of those other amazing moments. Sunday saw better weather so after the show we could take off again and fly the plane via Tikkakoski back to Malmi. This time we had the Saab Safir, DC-3 and Hurricane – T6 flying behind us. Our pilot’s daughter and sons joined us to see what their dad had been doing all week. I was lucky to be up front to take pictures! A great end to a great week.
I would like to post more pictures, but I don’t have the time to edit them now and I want them on our aviation-photocrew website first. To end I’d like to thank the other crew members; all pilots involved; the entire Skyvan crew for getting the plane ready in time including pilot Erkka Rouhe; the entire ‘Tour de Sky’ team and especially Perttu and the two lovely ladies who helped us on arrival; and last but not least the other photographers and especially Heimo for helping us wherever he could.