Monday, June 27, 2016

Pic(k) of the week 27: In Memoriam Arend van Randen - 6 months later at JBR, Dubai

Early December 2015, I was photographing the World Air Games in Dubai; a 12-day event where pilots from all over the world compete in all kinds of Sport Aviation disciplines; call it "The Olympic games of Aviation".  

December 9, was meant to be another great day with beautiful flying weather and the "Microlight"category competing at the Skydive Dubai Palm drop-zone. After the motorised delta microlights (DPM), the gyrocopters were next. These small rotary aircraft are sometimes looked at as being a mix between a small helicopter and a microlight. While years ago they used to have the reputation of being not the safest flying machines, they have evolved into a very safe and fun way of flying! 

At 14h23, Dutch competitor Arend van Randen, took to the skies in a "borrowed" MTO Sport to start his pylon race. Less than two minutes later disaster struck when Arend lost control and crashed into the waters of the Gulf a few hundred meters in front of where I was standing. As he was brought to the surface by the rescue diving team, we were all fearing for the worst... 

He eventually lost the battle due to his injuries and passed away on . A shocking experience that as a fellow aviator, will be engraved in my memory forever! I will never look to these beautiful waters in the same way!

The image below of the place where disaster struck, is a tribute and in Memoriam to a fellow Aviator who as doing what he loved! Rest in Peace Arend! 

Image details:
Fujifilm X-T1 with XF 10-24mm f4 lens
ISO 200, f11, 10mm (15mm full frame equivalent)
3 images with shutter speed varying between 1s and 28s
Digital image blending using Photoshop CC

I do not want to go into the cause of the crash here, but those of you that want more info and learn some valuable lessons, can have a look at the preliminary accident report by the UAE GCAA, here

Remember: "To most people the sky is the limit, to those that fly, the sky is home". 

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