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Shooting the Aurora Out of an Airplane Window
Andy here, checking in from cloudy and chilly London. Here for work for a week or so but had a pretty epic flight over, as you’ll see in a second. I had a few friends with systemwide upgrades expiring on American Airlines soon and they were generous enough to upgrade me to business class for the flight over.
Ok, some prerequisites here: as a photographer I know that October-March is Northern Lights season. Knowing this, and knowing there are no clouds at 36,000 feet, I picked seat 12A on the American 777-300ER, knowing it would give me a good view of the aurora with the wing in the foreground. I then began checking the NOAA forecast to see the chances of seeing an aurora (basically anywhere you see green there’s a good chance of an aurora).
I stayed up a little later than usual, knowing that there was a good shot for seeing it. I watched a match of the Australian Open and then turned the screen off so my eyes could get used to the darkness a bit. Nervously, I opened the window… and I saw it. The first glimpses of an aurora appearing just above the horizon.
I immediately went into Photography Mode. I got my tripod ready to deploy, as well as my Sony a7rIV and 12-24mm f/4 lens. Before setting up, though, I went up to where the flight attendants were sitting and gave them a heads up about what I’d be doing. They kind of chuckled and said ok, but there was good reason for warning them.
I set my tripod up on the side console of the business class seat, inverting the center column so the camera could be as close to the window as possible. I manually focused on a star the camera could see, and set the camera for a 30 second exposure, just for a test shot.
I looked at the test shot… the aurora was sitting there shining back at me.
astronomy  photography  airplane  flying  aurora_borealis 
8 days ago by rgl7194
No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay in the Air - Scientific American
Scientific American is the essential guide to the most awe-inspiring advances in science and technology, explaining how they change our understanding of the world and shape our lives.
science  airplane  aerodynamics  aviation  flight  explanation  mystery  air 
12 days ago by ivar
Why did they stop making aircraft with three engines like the old McDonnell Douglas? - Quora
This question should really start with why aircraft like the McDonnell Douglas DC10 and Lockheed TriStar/L1011 had 3 engines. They used 3 engines because twin engines were not allowed to operate for long flights over water, or otherwise away from diversion airfields. This was due to the relative reliability of aero engines 40–50 years ago.
25 days ago by bobembry
How to sleep on a plane: 18 illustrated positions for in-flight snoozing - Washington Post
18 documented poses, including the Human Triangle, the Thinker and, for window-seat passengers, the View Finder (pro: partial head support; con: possibility of drooling down window).
airplanes  funny  guide  sleep  positions  storytelling  sleeping  travel  plane  planes  airplane 
26 days ago by ldom
Heathrow Airport Installs One-of-a-Kind Anti-Drone System
London’s massive Heathrow airport has deployed a bespoke “Counter Drone” system that will be used to enforce the UK’s strict five-kilometer no-fly zone and track down violators.
According to Bloomberg, the new counter-drone system uses “holographic radar” technology developed by Aveillant Ltd., a British company owned by French defense contractor Thales SA. The system can allegedly detect rogue drones up to 5 kilometers away, and can even be used to track down the pilots.
“This one-of-a-kind Counter Drone system works by detecting and tracking drones in surrounding airspace and alerting airports of unauthorized drone use quickly and efficiently,” explains Aveillant in a press release. “This new and innovative system also works to locate the drone pilots themselves and can be used to identify their location.”
Once a drone has been located, it’s up to the airport to decide how to handle things, but pilots caught breaking the law by flying their drone within the 5km no-fly zone can face up to 5 years in prison.
The announcement comes after climate activists tried (unsuccessful) to halt air traffic at Heathrow by using drones in September of 2019. Ironically, Aveillant claims the system will actually help the airport “meet its sustainability objectives,” by preventing “fuel wastage and additional flight stacking caused by unauthorised drones use.”
(via Bloomberg via Engadget)
uk  airplane  flying  drone 
29 days ago by rgl7194
How early to get to the airport? CNN enters great timing debate | CNN Travel
(CNN) — How early should you get to the airport before your flight? Sure, the official line is two hours for domestic travel and three hours for international, but we all have our own airport timing strategy.
Do you prefer a stress-free trip, arriving early but losing half a day to terminal time, or do you prefer the adrenaline-filled last-minute dash -- and possibly missing your flight? CNN Travel staffers come down on both sides of the issue.
airplane  travel  flying  stress  debate 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
Secrets to Stress-Free Flying - Consumer Reports
Cramped, chilly, noisy planes can make air travel a real hassle. CR's no- or low-cost tips can help bring some comfort back to flying.
As airlines reduce legroom and seat width to shoehorn more passengers into their planes for profit, comfort is in increasingly short supply. The 55,000 CR members who completed our most recent airline satisfaction survey gave legroom and seating comfort the lowest possible scores for all the domestic airlines we rated except JetBlue, which members gave only slightly higher marks.
Also distressing were reports from parents flying on the least expensive fares that airlines wouldn’t guarantee they could sit with their young children unless they paid a fee or upgraded to a higher fare.
Here, we offer some easy and affordable ways to make flying more comfortable and increase the chance you’ll be seated with your kids without having to pay for the privilege. Members can also access our exclusive luggage ratings and advice to help you choose the bags that will serve you best for the long haul.
airplane  travel  flying  stress  tips 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
The Iran Plane Crash Is the Big Story - The Atlantic
The accidental shoot-down of the Ukrainian passenger jet is a glaring example of how the conflict between the U.S. and Iran can spiral out of control even when neither party wants it to.
The downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 and the deaths of all 176 people on board—newlyweds flying home from their wedding, graduate students charting ambitious careers, whole families returning from visiting relatives—have come to be portrayed as a tragic asterisk tacked onto the dramatic tale of how Donald Trump and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nearly went to war in the early days of 2020.
Over the weekend, for example, The New York Times published a comprehensive and vivid account of the week-long U.S.-Iran showdown. While the article ran more than 6,500 words, it included only one sentence on the plane crash. “In the confusion, a Ukrainian civilian passenger jet was destroyed by an Iranian missile,” the reporters wrote.
Trump, meanwhile, has claimed vindication for his handling of the crisis with Iran, but has barely mentioned the demise of Flight 752, other than to speculate about what caused the aircraft to explode. He has tweeted often (including in Farsi) about the anti-government protests currently roiling Iran without referencing the impetus for them: the Iranian military accidentally shooting down the airplane, whose passengers were mostly Iranian nationals, and the country’s leaders then lying to their own people and the world about it for days.
gov2.0  politics  trump  middle_east  airplane  disaster  foreign_relations  war  ukrainian 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194

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