Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Creating the Perfect Family Photo

Reprinted from Vintage News, By Dave O'Malley

Looking back now, it was far easier said than done. At a manager's meeting in January, I casually suggested that perhaps we shoot this year's Vintage Wings Squadron Photograph with all of our available aircraft in the photograph too. The immediate reaction from Rob Fleck, our Chief Operating Officer was "Fantastic... love it. I can really use that in our maketing!". I smiled, but I could not quite look Andrej Janik, Manager of Maintenance in the eye, so I stared at my meeting agenda as if interested in my notes. It was Janik's team that would have to all the muscle work to make it happen. To use Janik's term, he would be "Dumping the Hangar" which meant getting his team there at O-Dark Thirty on that Saturday morning in May to make it happen in time. From that day forward Peter Handley, who would be doing shooting the photograph and I would call the endeavour "The Big Dump"... a term that always brought a puerile smile for its unfortunate and scatalogical double entendre.

As the Big Day for the Big Dump approached, Big Dave started to panic. How the hell would I manage to tell the maintenance crew where I wanted each airplane? I could just see the chaos, envisage the eye-rolling, hear the "Maudits" and "Tabernacs", and I winced as I imagined two airplanes swapping paint in the process. How does one play chess with 20 million dollars worth of heritage? We had to find a way to make this easier for the maintainers and avoid being looked at as though Peter and I were no less effete than two Toronto food stylists working on a Hooters "All you Can Eat Crab" advert.

Then it dawned on me that setting up a model of the scenario would be just the ticket. I called my good friend and aviator Wayne Foy, whose constantly changing model displays at Vintage Wings have delighted old and young for years. Wayne met Peter and I in the boardroom and unpacked models in 1/48 scale of each type that would be in the shoot. In the case of the Fox Moth and Taperwing, similar-sized substitutes were found. We created a perfect scale model of the proposed arrangement of aircraft - putting the tallest and biggest at the back and putting our much-loved low-wing monoplane fighters at the front.

Read more of "The Big Dump" at

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