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Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:52 pm
by JakTrax
Hi All,

I'm currently in the final stages of planning a photography trip to eastern Canada in October, specifically to photograph the remaining 732s/727s (and anything else old worthy of note) there. My itinerary at the moment includes Montreal (my base for the trip), Hamilton, Ottawa and Val d'Or, as these are the places that seem to see the most 732 activity. Hamilton, Ottawa and Val d'Or also appear to be within 5 hours' drive of YUL.

My questions are:

Is it worth going to western Canada, i.e. Edmonton and Yellowknife? Looks like the only 732 I can't get in the east is the Air North example(?), so I'd rather avoid paying out another US$600 for flights if I'm only going to miss one aircraft. What I'm basically asking is, will my chances of photographing them in any numbers be greater in the east or the west?

Is October generally a good month for photography weather-wise? A 'how long is a piece of string' question I know, but any guidance would be helpful. My dates are 9th-20th.

Are the 732s slaving on into October? Does anyone know if any of the current operators (Canadian North, First Air, Air Inuit, Nolinor, Raglan) are planning to imminently retire their aircraft? I have heard that the 733s which have been replacing the -200s have had issues with engine ground clearance when operating from unprepared strips, resulting in the 732s being given a stay of execution?

Finally, is YHM still okay for 727s and Kelowna DC-10Fs?

Thanks in advance.


Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:05 am
by Ryan h
Not from Canada myself, but have visited Yellowknife and yes you should visit as you'll see not just 737-200s, but the DC-3s, DC-4s, Electras etc of Buffalo Airways. However things may have changed since I was there in August 2013.

Back then Canadian North were flying the 737-200 on the Yellowknife-Edmonton route a couple of days a week (other days were 737-300). I made sure I got a 737-200 on one of the flights between Vancouver to Yellowknife.

Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:33 pm
by beaverhunter
Hi Karl,

You will not likely find any 732's operating in Western Canada. Air North and Canadian North now using the 733's only from what I know. I see the odd 732's from the US coming into Kelowna for major inspections, but its unpredictable as to when they will be there. Nolinor and Air Inuit are still operating several 732's equipped with the gravel kits for their northern operations and they will probably be doing so for a while longer.

When Kelowna Flightcraft lost the contract to fly the mail for Purolator, their 727-200 aircraft became surplus and a lot of them have been scrapped or in the process of being scrapped in Hamilton. A few of them are also parked at Kelowna and they will likely see the same fate.

As for the weather for photographing in Eastern Canada, its unpredictable but I would expect it to be favorable. Still a bit early for snow, but you just never know about the weather anywhere.

Western Canada, if you venture there will be rewarding if you get to Yellowknife as there is a large variety of oldies to see there. Red Deer would also be nice at that time of year as Air Spray's Electra fleet will all be back from fire duty. Also a lot of retired aircraft stored there by Buffalo and Air Spray.

Hope this helps, and good luck with the trip

John Olafson

Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:32 pm
by JakTrax
Thanks John.

When I say 'western Canada' I actually mean the likes of YEG and YZF, which I suppose are more central (north-central in the case of YZF). The Air North 732 I have already discounted because of its elusivity (too costly to go chasing one aircraft given that I won't know where exactly it's gonna be!). I'm told that Canadian North and First Air 732s can't now be seen in the east, however I may try a separate trip west early next year as I've heard the 732s have been given a stay of execution (the ground clearance of the engines of the newer 737 models is insufficient to operate from ill-prepared runways apparently?).

My dates are either 2nd-13th or 9th-20th October - which period would you recommend? I've heard that Nolinor begin heavy maintenance on their fleet sometime in October, so of course I'd hate to coincide with that. I'm a fan of low temperatures and sun (naturally!), but not sure there'd be much difference from one week to the next? The earlier week attracts me because Air Inuit have an 1810 732 arrival each evening into YUL, and sunset the following week wouldn't give me much chance. That said, there's apparently no photo spot for either 24 runway for the evening?

Have you ever been to Val d'Or? Looks a good place for 732s!


Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:55 pm
by beaverhunter
Haven't been to Val d'Or, although I lived in Montreal a while. Probably best to go the earlier date.


Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:13 pm
by JakTrax
Thanks again, John.

Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:54 am
by HandyAndy
I've been working at Gate Gourmet's station in YOW recently and can confirm that First Air often had a 732 on their daily up to Iqaluit at 7:00am. However, around a month or so before my last shift there in May, they switched to a 734. I don't know if that's just a summer thing though. They also have a combi config (don't know what it's based on) that we used to cater for, it was always the 7:00am departure though.

There's also the Cargo Air liveried 727 at the First Air Cargo facility most days (right across from Gate Gourmet).

There's also an old 737 without engines on the ramp over towards the NRC wind tunnel to the north. It was given to the NRC for cabin research projects apparently, but I don't know what type it is. It's not operable though.

Ottawa can be like the UK during October, cool and rainy. The last two weeks of the month the leaves are turning and beautiful but it's often overcast and drizzling. On a dry sunny day the city is ablaze with colour. It's rare to get snow here that early, but this is Canada so anything could happen. The first two weeks are certainly warmer and drier here, but even the short distance between Toronto and Montreal can make a huge difference in climate at that time of year.

As for distances, Ottawa to Toronto is a five hour drive with the train clocking in at 4.5 hours. Montreal is a couple of hours up the road to the east and Hamilton is about an hour or so further south west of Toronto.

Happy hunting!


Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:17 pm
by JakTrax
Thanks folks.

Andy, the Cargo Air 727 of which you speak..... is it stored or active? Am I right to assume that it's at YOW?


Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:11 pm
by eksath
I got this on July 4th at YYZ. My only sighting of it after 4 mornings there.


Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:20 pm
by United_fan
That's a nice 732. Belongs to Xstrata mining company . Love the gravel kit.

Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:04 pm
by JakTrax
Thanks for the replies.

Re: Photographing 737-200s in Quebec/Ontario, Canada

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:55 pm
by YZF101
There are still Canadian North 732s flying out of Yellowknife. Rumours of the First Air ones being sold off though. You will see one of Nolinor's 732 as well, and quite possibly one (or both) of two Summit has a nice ptarmigan on the tail.
You'll also see some rather vintage DC-3s etc. flown by Buffalo, as well as some old Canadair water bombers. Some DHC-2, -3, -6, -7, -8 as well can be found....Summit seems to have misplaced their DHC-5 Buffalos, don't know for certain.
First Air has sold their Lockheed L100s, but you might run into a Lyndon Air Service L-100, chartered by the mines once a month or so. Air North runs their newer B-737 offering a couple times a week through town, and of course a variety of Air Canada and Westjet aircraft, including Q-400. Occasionally you'll find an RCAF C-17 or Airbus 310 (?)
A sampling of ATR aircraft should round off your day....and who knows what'll pop in - United 777 other heavies have appeared, not voluntarily, of course.
Hope you find what you need!

(edited for grammar)