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A Life through a Lens

on 04 January 2012.

SwordfishBy Eric Dumigan

I grew up spending time in the darkroom listening to classical music and watching my father develop photos during the ‘70s. My grandfather, Robert Dumigan, also enjoyed photography and when the R-100 made its one and only trip to St. Hubert in 1930, my grandfather took a photo of my aunt and father standing in front of the R-100. I’m sure this is where my father caught his love for aviation. This and many more photos are presented in the full story.



My grandfather took the photo below of my aunt and father standing in front of the R-100. I’m sure this is where my father caught his love for aviation.


My father, Richard Dumigan, began taking photos in the mid 1940s and this is the first image he remembers turning out good with his Kodak Hawkeye camera: a postwar Lancaster landing at Dorval. From the ‘50s on, Richard actively photographed aircraft in the Montreal area.

Living in Montreal North, Richard often visited Cartierville and has many wonderful images of Sabres, Tutors, Starfighters, CL-44s and pretty much anything else that was built at Canadair in the ‘50s and ‘60s.


Factory-fresh Starfighter 12847, lacking roundels, is seen landing at Cartierville.


The prototype swing-tail version of the Canadair CL-44, CF-MKP-X, is seen landing on a cold winter day at Cartierville.

Dorval was another location my father spent a lot of time at watching aircraft. There was always a steady stream of international and domestic airliners coming and Montreal.


The first landing at Dorval airport of a de Havilland Comet-3, G-ANLO.

This photo was publishedHere is the link to a online version of the photo and letter to the editor. You can see the article from the March 1956 edition of Flight magazine by clicking here.

TCA Constellation

A classic shot of a Trans-Canada Air Lines Constellation on the ramp at Dorval.

BOAC Stratocruiser

A heavily laden BOAC Stratocruiser departs Dorval.

Richard frequented RCAF Station St. Hubert and along with CF-100 and Sabre images captured military visitors from the USAF and RAF.


Hiding in tall grass at the end of the runway, my father was surprised to see several RAF Canberras arrive one sunny afternoon at St. Hubert.


A trio of 423 Squadron Mark 3 Avro CF-100s depart St. Hubert during an Open House.

One of my earliest photographic outings with my father was seeing the Erikson Skycrane building the antenna portion of the CN Tower.

CN Tower

The Erickson S-64 Skycrane is seen lifting one of the 36 pieces of the CN Tower‘s antenna.

Often I would read articles in magazines about air shows and events I had been to and knew my photos were just as good as the ones in the magazine so in 1988 I submitted my first images to Flypast magazine of the very first take-off of the CWH Lancaster. Although they did not use the images I wanted they did print a taxi shot and I was hooked. Since that point my photography has been published in many aviation magazines around the world. It took another 20 years before I was able to shoot the CWH Lancaster in the air over Hamilton but it was well worth the wait.

CWH Lancaster

The CWH Lancaster is seen from the tail of the museum’s B-25 Mitchell.

I have had the privilege of working with most of the vintage aircraft groups in Ontario and was honored when asked to shoot the very first five-ship Battle of Britain Flight over Ottawa in 2008. The flight consisted of the CWH Lancaster, The Russell Group’s Spitfire and Hurricane and Vintage Wings of Canada’s Spitfire and Hurricane. A truly incredible sight to see in Canadian skies.


Three of Canada’s flying museums come together to form a unique sight in the skies over Ottawa.

One of the rarest aircraft I have shot in the air is the Spence family’s Fairey Swordfish. Canadian Astronaut, Chris Hadfield, is seen sitting in the gunner’s position. The Swordfish has not flown in a few years but is now with Vintage Wings of Canada in Gatineau and slated to fly again this year for the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy.


Pete Spence peaks over the top wing of the Swordfish to keep formation while Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield  enjoys the view from the gunner’s position.

Another great Canadian moment was shooting Chimo Air Service’s Noorduyn Norseman over Lake St. John. It was fresh from a restoration at Corporate Aircraft Restoration in Oshawa and on its way back to Red Lake.


The Chimo Air Service Noorduyn Norseman is seen diving in for a pass at the Orillia Lake St. John airport before departing for Red Lake.

Being an aviation photographer has allowed me many wonderful opportunities and doing aerobatics with the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team was amazing and pressed my skills to the limit.


Pete Spence is seen leading Dave Hewitt in Harvard Two through a loop while I ride with Kent Beckham in Harvard Three.

For a kid who idolized the people on the other side of the air show fence it has been an amazing ride so far and I look forward to all the exciting sights, sounds and experiences with the same boyhood anticipation I have had all my life.

 Tiger Moth

After a long day of barnstorming rides, the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation’s Tiger Moth is seen silhouetted against a July evening sky.

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