Al Marsh

Catching the Skycatcher

September 30, 2009 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

AOPA Pilot Chief Photographer Mike Fizer photographed Cessna’s new Skycatcher above San Diego Tuesday night. This was the last of two formation flights I flew with Cessna test pilot Dale Bleakney. I also did a review flight during which I got a demonstration of proof that the spin problem is fixed. Bleakney cross-controlled it (full aileron, full opposite ruder), stalled it, and was still able to maneuver left, right, under perfect control. Then he had me do it. No problem.

We had a variety of light on our air-to-air led by a Cherokee Six. Rain clouds, rainbows, lenticular clouds piled 11 layers high over the mountains east of French Valley Airport (45 miles north of San Diego), and finally, night.

Turns out the Canon 5D can also capture still photos in very dark conditions. His camera was mounted to a multi-thousand-dollar gyrostabilizer. When it’s running, the plane moves around it–not the other way around. You look at the camera and think it is bobbing up and down, but actually that is the aircraft moving around the stabilized camera.¬†We’ll have articles out on the Skycatcher in a couple of months.

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3 Responses to “Catching the Skycatcher”

  1. Michael Sheridan Says:

    Just publish the freakin’ photos with the article!

  2. J Ritchie Says:

    You left us hanging; I guess the photos will be published in an upcoming article?
    Glad to hear the “spin problem” is fixed.

  3. Al Marsh Says:

    The article is coming in two or three months. If I can generate interest in seeing the photos, you might get to see more of them. With Skycatcher, we shot 1,000 photos and you’ll see five. If people like stand-alone slide shows and video that are just produced for the heck of it, then maybe would do that. We also shot Lake Tahoe stills and video Sept. 26 using a Diamond C1 for “Flight Training” that have no article–so those may never be seen.

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