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View Diary: Air-Minded: Define "Best" (24 comments)

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  •  Over the years USAF investigated several (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, Farugia, Major Kong

    midair collisions and ground impacts where it turned out the pilots were looking through viewfinders at the moment of impact, apparently filming rejoins or gunnery passes. You lose depth perception and the ability to judge rate of closure that way, and that was the major reason cameras were banned from cockpits. I've been talking with a more current F-15E pilot from Nellis AFB, who confirms those rules are still in effect and definitely include GoPros. Wing commander permission is required to use them.

    On the camera jam you mention, similar incidents spring to mind. Unsecured kneeboards, cameras, even box lunches have jammed control sticks. I remember an incident where an F-4 back-seater's life raft suddenly inflated, forcing the back-seater forward into the stick. He had the presence of mind to take his survival knife out of this G-suit and stab the raft to deflate it, and the front-seater was able to recover before hitting the ground.

    When I flew intercepts in NL and Alaska we carried Canon AE-1 35mm SLR cameras with telephoto lenses and motor drives. They were so big and heavy it took two hands to hold them. When we settled in beside a Bear bomber and lifted up the camera to take photos, the Bear crews could see we had both hands on the camera and they'd start turning into us. We learned to roll away using our knees on the stick, but at a certain point we'd have to put the cameras down and fly the plane to avoid getting too close. That's where the motor drives came in handy ... the Bear pilot would give you only a few seconds to take photos, but with the motor drive you'd get several shots before you had to put the camera down and maneuver to counter his roll into you.

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