Tickles reckons its not a fishing cat 'cause it don't have no fishing stick
So as Thursday slipped by this week and most were thanking the fact it was almost the weekend :) over in the US the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and CASA (Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority) in the early morning (Australian time) signed / passed the expanded Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) implementation procedures. Well something to that effect anyways its all inter-governmental stuff which is a bit beyond me as an engineer, but the upshot is that it basically increases the scope and provides implementation of airworthiness approvals automatically accepted by the US from sunny downunder, Australia, yup thats us :). The even bigger deal though, at the same time as signing this agreement/implementation procedures thing, they also completed the validation of the first Australian approval (STC – Supplemental Type Certificate) which I have had alot to do with over the last.. well lets say its been going awhile :)
The approval relates to the replacement of the all metal Tail Rotor Blades on a Bell Helicopter 206 helicopter with composite ones. The really neat part is that the blades are certified and produced here in Australia and that it is the very first CASA STC for a rotorcraft that has been accepted by the FAA – that's a really big deal :) it basically means the company here Australia (Airwork Helicopters / AMT Helicopters) can freely sell these composite replacement tail rotor blades into the US market – for once the playing field has been equaled (well nearly :) ) The validation process has been going on for awhile, but it became quite clear towards the end that the FAA were very happy with the high level of certification documentation that was associated the CASA STC – thanks to me ;) … ok ok,, Auto Avia Design :) :) and I suppose CASA had a bit to do with it :)
There is already alot of interest from other Australia organisations keen to get various aviation approvals (CASA STC's) here validated through the bilateral agreement. So, whilst manufacturing may appear to have pretty well flat lined in Australia, there are glimmers of hope and when the playing is open for both parties we can really become competitive and get our great ideas and products out there.
For those who may not know, Australia automatically accepts airworthiness approvals from the US (FAA) basically you can buy a camera kit to swing off ya helicopter from Fort Worth in US and its automatically approved – however and its a big one- this in the past has not been reciprocal, we could not automatically get our sweet as aircraft mods automatically accepted over there, in fact, by the time you actually went thru the process of trying it become more cost effective just to do it all in the US – that sucked. So this now implemented Bilateral agreement, whilst does not automatically accept CASA STC's it comes very close, the FAA will 'validate' the CASA STC's meaning they can review them and then give them a FAA STC – noting that a FAA STC is pretty useful since it means you can pretty well sell your FAA STC'd product anywhere in the world, much like the green-back is accepted everywhere, so are FAA STC's.
So, well done to Myles Tomkins (also Chad and John White) at AMT Helicopters/Airwork Helicopters in QLD, without their drive and persistence it would have never gotten past CASA :)
Also plenty of Kudos to the QLD government who provided some helpful funding at the start from a innovation fund, after nearly 7 years I bet they were wondering whether they would ever see any return on the funding :)
To all you folk out there who choose to beat around in Bell 206 helicopters, grab yourself a set of these blades when your metal ones come up for life replacement, besides buying Australian you are getting a great product with some pretty impressive certification backing it up :)
It will be also great to see the Civil Aviation Safety Authority – CASA promoting this agreement and also the first STC cab off the rank :)
The official press release can be found on the Airwork website
Its kinda hard to believe these spots still exist minutes from Sydney Harbour amongst the suburbs, as you walk into this place there are only a few tell tale signs that you are merely minutes away from a busy roads, upper class willoughby (ohh i'm gonna cop some flack for that ;) they would reckon they are just middle class ;) ) and sydney harbour. Alrightly the power lines across the top falls was a bit of a giveaway :) the stormwater runoff and all the usual piles of plastic bottles another clue and the all too familiar sound of aircraft departing mascot continually remind me of where I really was.
There are a series of cut steps that lead right into the waterfall pool, at the upper falls and also the lower ones, so I can only imagine many years ago it may have been a popular swimming spot. Whilst waiting for old man Rodney to turn up I also found a old crusty one penny coin dislodged by all the rain, yup a 1936 copper coin .. very cool. However, Sarah's nan (86) did not think it was cool, after I told her she told me she has a whole jar of them apparently :( talk about stealing me thunder ;)
I do love my panoramic views and this fern and the other green plant just screamed to be bookends for my picture of the jumbled mess of rocks and the trickle of water fighting for an escape route to the harbour.
I have cobbled together, with the help of Cameron K. Fong and Kudos Cameras a light weight pano kit which is serving me quite well, it can double as a single row kit or a multi row kit, its not super stiff, however thats a tradeoff for the 900 grams of weight. Its made from a few Leofoto components (PAN-02, BPL-200 (2 off), DDM-60) and a Desmond DVC-220 clamp. Its can handle a FX camera with a 24-70mm lens on it, its got a bit of wobble when going between click stops, however more than acceptable for the weight and price.
This shot was taken using just the single row parts, which are a single rail , panning clamp and DDM-60 discal clamp, this combo is rock solid and really compact, fits in my pocket and can also be left on the tripod for the majority of shots. Is it worth the effort, when you shoot these very close scenes at fairly wide angles (24mm) the parallax error is a real killer and whilst PS does a great job, the joy of seeing 5 images (in this case) just stitch seamlessly and with no need to warp it back into perspective saves time in front the computer :)
I gotta say Chaos has a rather uncanny knack of being able to catch animals and chickens are no exception, she can pretty well pick up every chicken and give it a cuddle in the space of 5 minutes, most importantly as well, without traumatising them :) Tickles even gets in and has a go, she caught her first one the other day and I think she was more surprised than the chicken :)
The girls even got to have the eggs for breakfast the next morning, they got a much higher rating than the ones from the shop :)
The garden plot is going well too, you can see Chaos posing nicely in front of it with the selection of corn, capsicum, beans, sunflower and a whole bunch of other unknowns which they threw :)
Some images just fall out the computer, others need some real help, this is one such shot, well series of shots, its a 5 shot panorama with each frame bracketed to increase the dynamic range. Just about everything I did to it left it looking washer out, unnatural and generally just looking crap, thus I cut my losses and ended up with this version, not one I am still entirely happy with, however at least something to show for all the darn effort :)
I keen for your thoughts? bin it ? too warm, too cool ?
This small trail of rocks etched out of the sand at Collaroy reminded me of a kids fairy tale of a place where a dragon should be sitting, right out there on that rocky outcropping, ready to lunge and eat up any child who did not bring home their lunch containers… i'm looking at you here Chaos :) . Scene is complete with greenish yellow dragon poo, aka seaweed :)
The overcast conditions and the 267s exposure time left the scene with a soft glow and completely removed that lady (who I would call crazy) swimming out in the murky seaweed infested water :)
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35 f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f11 and Shutter Speed: 267s
Out front: Lee bigstopper, Lee 0.9x graduated filter and Hoya Circular Polariser