Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 17: Shoebox with wings

For over a decade, I flew as a jump-pilot during my time off in the weekends! Picking up skydivers and releasing them over 12000 feet higher... a flying elevator! 

I've always been very close to the skydive community. Being brought up at a small local grass strip in Belgium, these were the guys I was hanging out with. And seriously, this was some of the best fun I had in aviation! And no, before you ask, I never jumped, read; dared to jump. Why would you do so, out of a perfectly fine aircraft?

Over twenty years later, I'm still going back to the same bunch. Earlier this week, I had planned to shoot at Skydive Dubai. More specific the new remote Desert Campus drop-zone, called SD2 (Skydive Dubai 2 on the Dubai-Al Ain road) which is primarily used by student skydivers. Since the original DZ (drop-zone) at Dubai Marina, surrounded by water and high rise buildings is surely not the best training environment the decision was made to open a second campus in the Dubai desert.

Unfortunately the day I was there the wind picked up and became too strong for the fascinating sport of parachuting. Once I arrived, there was actually very little left to photograph... 

Short Skyvan at the Desert campus of Skydive Dubai
A deserted Short Skyvan was parked on the runway, which is the old Dubai-Al Ain road! The "shoebox with wings" as this British build twin turboprop aircraft is nicknamed, was the largest jump-plane I flew in the early nineties. It learned me a lot as a pilot and it was like catching up with an old girlfriend. Only her, me and the howling wind!

As I was photographing the scene, it reminded me of a camel I photographed a few years ago, on a road in the Dubai desert. Click here for the image. 

Image details:
Nikon D700 with Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VR2
ISO200, 70mm, f 10, 1/100s
RAW processed with LR3
Nik ColorEfex for contrast adjustment

Time permitting feel free to stroll through my Jump-planes and Skydiving gallery.

Shoot good - fly safe,

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