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Is flash allowed under approach path?

Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:46 pm

Is it generally ok to do a second curtain flash under an approach path to get the planes lights and the plane in the shot. It sounds really cool to do but I'm not sure if its legal to use flash under the approach path.
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Re: Is flash allowed under approach path?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:41 am

I've thought about it, but generally wouldn't want to do that. I would imagine a visit from the Police would probably occur pretty soon after.

How exactly effective would the flash be in this situation?
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Re: Is flash allowed under approach path?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:41 am

If you are shooting strictly from below the aircraft, I think the flash light would not be visible in the cockpit or cabin at all, so I see no security threat. Of course the Police or private security around the airport might disagree.

About the efectiveness, if the planes are low enough, and you use a couple of hand flashes at maximum power, I think you might get something usable. In the end an aircraft is a light-colored metallic thing that reflects quite a lot of light.

I would guess that some of the night shots on this very site have been taken with this technique, but I don't know for sure.
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Re: Is flash allowed under approach path?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:38 am

I've tried this earlier this year. I made sure that the aircraft was right above me, so I wouldn't flash the pilots. I think this is key to this 'technique'. That said, I stopped trying after the first photo, as the result doesn't look nice at all in my opinion. But if you want to find it, Szabo Gabor has several examples on the site.

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Re: Is flash allowed under approach path?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:59 pm

Please, please, do not do this.

As a commercial pilot, the last thing I want to see on short final is a bright flash that I'm not expecting. Nice of you to not shine your flash directly into the pilots eyes, but I'll bet the flash is still visible in the cockpit. You are, almost certainly, distracting, and interfering with, the pilots during an especially critical phase of flight.

In the US, interfering with the flight crew is prohibited by 14 CFR 91.11, and the FAA can impose fines of $11,000 USD and jail time on those who interfere with a flight crew. A June 2011 FAA memo made clear that those who point laser pointers at aircraft are interfering with the flight crew, so I'm going to guess your flash is too. The fines for misusing laser pointers are much higher than $11,000, let's not find out how much it is for flashes.

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