When we first laid eyes on the spectacular air-to-air video of Deane Philip’s Zenith bush plane, we thought, "Woah, that’s too close for us!" Only thing is, it didn’t appear to be taken from another plane. For one thing, did we mention how tight the formation was? For another thing, there’s a shadow of a plane on the beach below, but only one. Then we tried to figure out how you’d do that with a drone. You’d have to be nuts to do that with a drone, if it were even legal, which in the States anyway, it’s not. And again, no second shadow. Then we figured out that the video was true 360 degrees. No second plane. Just the incredible landscape of Christchurch, New Zealand.
So, how’d he get this amazing video? Here’s the secret.
First off, Deane is a badass. A three-time New Zealand bush pilot champion with serious chops. Check out his YouTube channel if you don’t believe us. The plane is cool, too. But the camera work, it turned out, was done through digital magic.
The camera is an Insta360 ONE X 360 action cam. On Deane’s Zenith, it’s mounted on a boom coming off the leading edge. The 360 camera takes the image of the plane as though the camera is situated in a second plane, a second plane flying super close, we might add. The magic part is that the software of the Insta360 removes the boom, so even though it most certainly is there in real life, in the video, it’s gone.
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Now, Deane’s flying in New Zealand, and his boom/cam is mounted on his homebuilt plane. In the United States, yup, that’s legal too. On a Part 23 plane…? Well, our understanding is that so long as the cam doesn’t cause any hazard to flight, you’re good to go. We’ll let sort it out with the feds.
Deane’s Zenith, by the way, is a CH701 powered by a Viking engine putting out 130 hp, which is a lot of power for a small plane like the 701. Okay, we want one of everything!