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A380 Changi Stormy Take Off

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Samsung continues to make improvements to video recording on its flagship phones.

During a recent stormy departure from Singapore’s Changi Airport, I shot our take off in a Qantas Airbus A380.

Using Filmic Pro to manually focus I was able to capture sharp lighting bolts during our climb.

The captain and crew did a great job keeping us clear of the nasty stuff.

It was shot in 1080/25p with low ISO to reduce noise and blow out when lightning struck.

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Aviation

First Boeing CH-47F Block II Chinook Delivered to U.S. Army

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Boeing CH-47F Block II Chinook - CREDIT Boeing

The U.S. Army has taken delivery of the first CH-47F Block II Chinook from Boeing. The iconic tandem-rotor helicopter is one of up to 465 in the Army’s fleet that will be modernised to the new Block II configuration.

“The CH-47F Block II provides capability improvements allowing the U.S. Army to lift more, fly farther and maintain their aircraft better than ever before,” said Heather McBryan, vice president and program manager, Cargo Programs.

“This modernisation program enables the battle-tested Chinook to play a key role in multi-domain operations going forward.”

Chinook Block II Explainer

IMPROVEMENTS

The CH-47F Block II has an improved drivetrain, a reinforced airframe and enhanced fuel system, provides for an additional 1,800 kg of max gross weight and extends the mission radius for nearly all payloads.

The new Chinook has been designed to enable upgrades as advances in technology are made.

“As the Army’s Heavy Lift platform of tomorrow, the CH-47F Block II provides increased capability while continuing support of the Army’s requirement to remain strategically responsive across the full spectrum of operations,” said Viva Kelly, U.S. Army Cargo Helicopters acting project manager. 

Aside from the U.S. Army the H-47 Chinook is used by 20 international operators including Australia.

AUSTRALIAN ARMY CHINOOKS

The tandem-rotor design gives increased stability and control, maximum agility, ease of loading and unloading and outstanding performance in wind.

Put simply, the Chinook can operate where others can’t.

Tail rotor clearance is not a concern so rear ramp access on any almost any terrain is possible. The Chinook can reach up to 20,000 feet, higher than other helicopters in its class.

It’s one helluva flying machine.

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Aviation

Avoid Flying into Trouble – Get to Know Your Camera Settings as Qantas Bans Photos of Staff and Passengers without Permission

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Travellers are being urged to check their camera settings and capabilities before flying this summer. The advice comes after Qantas quietly banned the taking of photos or videos of staff and passengers without their permission.   

In the video above I explain to Jaynie Seal on Sky News Weekend Edition why camera settings matter. It has to do with how wide you shoot and how deep your depth-of-field is. If you shoot with a wide angle lens you could end up capturing the flight crew but most likely fellow passengers. This is against the rules. It’s OK to video or photograph yourself or travelling group and outside the window but the Qantas rule about in-flight photography says you must get permission from everyone else.

“seek consent before filming or photographing Qantas Group staff, contractors or other customers”

QANTAS Conditions of Carriage
Last updated: 8 November 2023

If you shoot with a GoPro you’ll probably have a very wide angle view so be wary of that. You can narrow this FOV in the settings. Also – depth of field should be shallow – which means the background is out of focus. This won’t happen on a GoPro or similar action camera with a fixed focus lens. Essentially everything is in focus.

Your phone’s tiny sensor will suffer from the same problem. Many have a fixed-focus selfie camera lens, but even those without it, will still keep many people in focus. Phones do fake background blur but this isn’t good enough, as it is adjustable in most cases after the shot is taken.

By understanding how your camera works, you are more likely to avoid scrutiny from cabin crew and other passengers. If you break the rules it could lead to your phone being confiscated, something you agree to in the conditions of carriage.

“use electronic devices (excluding hearing aids and heart pacemakers) when and as directed and in the case of any failure to comply with the direction we may retain the device”

QANTAS Conditions of Carriage
Last updated: 8 November 2023

I can understand why Qantas wants to protect the privacy or aircrew and passengers but I think another big reason is they just don’t want viral videos of in-flight chaos. These can be embarrassing but they could also provide crucial evidence if crew members were assaulted – for example.

Similar rules are in place around the world but that hasn’t stopped viral videos of cabin incidents, especially in the US.

Most aircrew and passengers don’t understand how cameras really work so I’m concerned that people looking to ‘bust’ happy snappers will get it wrong. For example, a couple takes a shot against the fuselage and the passenger behind them protests thinking they are in shot. When, in reality, there was no way that was possible given the angle. This stuff happens all the time when I am shooting out and about. The camera might even be facing away from the disgruntled member of the public and yet they still aggressively ask, “are you photographing me?”

Travel vloggers are going to struggle big time.  They often just walk around recording everyone and everything. So maybe this isn’t so bad.

I’ll also point out that this has not been well publicised by Qantas. I’ve spoken to travel agents who didn’t even know about it. If it’s possible for people to get in trouble with a new rule then they should know about it before flying. Let’s face it, no one is going to read the lengthy conditions of carriage each time they fly. Any change like this should be well publicised.

So that’s why I’m covering it today.

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Aviation

Starship Ready to Launch as SpaceX Receives Clearance

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The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has cleared SpaceX to proceed with the launch of its second flight test of a fully integrated Starship.

Starship reached an altitude of 39km in the first test flight

SpaceX made a number of upgrades to the vehicle and ground infrastructure following the first integrated Starship/Heavy configuration test flight in April.

Starship reached an altitude of 39 kilometres over the Gulf of Mexico before an self-destruct command was given. Troubles began when leaking propellant ignited, leading to loss of communications to the majority of booster engines.

There was also work to be done on the ground. The launch pad essentially designated under the enormous thrust of the Super Heavy engines. Chunks of concrete were sent flying for kilometres. SpaceX has since made reinforcements to the pad foundation and added a water-cooled steel flame deflector.

 SpaceX made reinforcements to the pad foundation and a water-cooled steel flame deflector

Following approval from the FAA, which also required a report from and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Starship is set to launch on Friday, November 17.

A two-hour launch window opens at 7:00 a.m. CT. (Midnight AEST)

If Elon Musk’s team pull this off, it will super-charge the modern space race.

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