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  • I got an email from an aerobatics team that said,

  • "Hi, we attach pyrotechnics to our planes

  • "so we can produce a fireworks show in mid-flight.

  • "Do you want to come for a test ride?"

  • [radio] "Going right, now."

  • What else was I going to say?

  • Look at that sunset.

  • Oh, wow.

  • - My inspiration for Aerosparx came from seeing New Years Eve on television,

  • in Edinburgh, where underneath the castle they had a waterfall of light.

  • I always imagined that being somehow trailing off behind the wing of an aeroplane.

  • - Aerosparx, as a display team, we are lucky enough and privileged enough

  • to go all over the world.

  • We've been to China, Saudi Arabia, Portugal,

  • lots of locations in Europe, and obviously locations in the UK.

  • And we can display from up to 300,000 people, to a million people.

  • - All right.

  • It is nearly dark enough and our planes are nearly in position.

  • This is going to happen very soon.

  • Just to be clear, this is a practice run.

  • This is not a proper display.

  • When it's a display, there is a lot more going on in the cockpit,

  • a lot more going on the pyrotechnics,

  • and they are very much not allowed to take passengers.

  • But, um, yeah. Let's see what this is like.

  • - And, relax(!)

  • - Are my nerves that obvious?

  • - One of the big wows is flying in extremely close formation.

  • We're helped by the wings being extremely long,

  • so your peripheral vision is just full of aeroplane.

  • - I don't see Guy very often,

  • but I know that he's probably only three metres from my aircraft,

  • and that's where trust comes in.

  • - You'll see us firing lots of different kinds of fireworks, pyro, from the aeroplanes.

  • They all need preparation and that can take some hours.

  • So all of the igniters, eMatches, need inserting into the fireworks.

  • We need to work out what we're going to put on the aeroplane where,

  • and then the process of actually fitting the aeroplane, again,

  • can take half an hour to an hour.

  • We genuinely can't shimmy down the wing and light the blue to uch paper.

  • All commercial firework displays are ignited the same way.

  • They're all ignited with a control box lighting an eMatch or an igniter.

  • And that goes into the blue touch paper, effectively.

  • And we do just the same.

  • We started out by having a bank of switches.

  • But when you're under high workload in formation flying,

  • it's so easy to hit the wrong button.

  • We can fire 24 separate fireworks in our display.

  • You can't get 24 right in a sequence.

  • So we've actually had a bespoke computer system designed,

  • and not only does it fire our fireworks for us, but it also

  • controls the LED light system on the aeroplanes as well.

  • And that means I now have only one button.

  • So once I've pressed it once, it then auto-sequences onto the next part of the programmes.

  • My imagination, I've found over the years,

  • has always been a leapfrog ahead of the authorities' regulation.

  • Not trying to stop what we're doing, but trying to understand what we're doing,

  • and finding out where it fits into regulations that were written, quite genuinely,

  • not for aeroplanes.

  • So at the moment we're dealing with aviation regulation and firework regulation.

  • [radio] Diving now.

  • Loop now.

  • Fire, fire, fire.

  • Loop. Loop, now.

  • - Check your CB, Rob, check your CB.

  • - So the question is, how can they do this?

  • And how can they do this safely?

  • [radio] Loop.

  • Loop, now.

  • - We have defined roles.

  • My job is to lead the formation, lead the display.

  • - Rob is working very hard in the climb out,

  • working out exactly where to start the display,

  • and how to modify the display subtly

  • to keep it in the right place with the wind conditions.

  • My job is very clear,

  • to fly safely and as close as I can without hitting him.

  • Planning is everything in our display,

  • and that planning starts on the ground before we even get airborne.

  • We do a bumblebee dance, as we call it, so we go around in circles,

  • in our mind and physically mimicking the manoeuvres that we're then going to do in the sky.

  • And that then sets a cadence and a rhythm, and the physical memory of what you're doing,

  • so that when we start a display, we're on the same page and working as a team.

  • On the radio, we're confirming all the time what we're going to do before we do it.

  • - Okay. Firing now.

  • - Our choice of using a Grob 109 motorglider was for lots of reasons.

  • One of my original imaginations of this firework display

  • was to separate the fireworks as far as we could, and we needed a big wingspan for that.

  • Because it's a glider, it also has the efficiency of a glider.

  • Which means that we can perform aerobatics with a very small engine, and it gives us grace.

  • The disadvantage with a motorglider is a very small engine.

  • That means we take a long time to climb to altitude,

  • and when we're at altitude,

  • we try and conserve all the energy we have.

  • We describe our as play as painting with light.

  • We like to think that the focus is more on the image we're painting with the aeroplanes,

  • rather than the distinct manoeuvres we're doing separately.

  • Fireworks are great on the ground,

  • when you're flying next to fireworks, it's even better.

  • And I still pinch myself every time I even think about going flying with fireworks,

  • and just think, 'I can't believe we're actually going to do this'.

  • - That's incredible.

  • So that's, what, two tests now. And what are you doing tomorrow?

  • - Tomorrow will be twice as much pyro in the same length of time.

  • So it's going to be Armageddon.

  • - Thank you so, so, much.

  • - Very good.

  • - You can find out more about Aerosparx and all the displays they're going to,

  • at the link in the description.

  • - Thank you.

  • What we are going to do is turn the engine off.

  • - Oh. - And land as a glider.

  • - Okay. Um.

  • Sure!

  • - There you are, look. No engine.

  • The propeller's just... just stopped.

I got an email from an aerobatics team that said,

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B1 display glider flying loop firework regulation

Flying A Plane With Fireworks On The Wings

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/04/01
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