iPhone Games: Flight Control

Air traffic controllers are the unsung heroes in the aviation industry. They work in secret buildings behind huge monitors so they can navigate and land your plane safely at the airport. I didn’t know how difficult it was until I started playing Flight Control for the iPhone.

In this game you play the role of an air traffic controller and you must guide planes as they come in for landing. It’s easy at first but when more and more planes come into your screen, that’s when the fun starts. And because different planes travel at different speeds, it’s hard to estimate their flight path. “Chaotic” might be too mild of a word to use to describe the situation that you will be in.

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The route you mark out for an aircraft will be shown with a white line. As more aircraft comes in, the skies will get congested and will eventually…

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…lead to an inevitable crash.

Here’s a video of the gameplay:

Of course, real air traffic control won’t be this simple. Real air traffic controllers can “stack” aircraft at different altitudes, giving them a 3D control of the aircraft’s position so they can accommodate more aircraft. Nevertheless, this is a very addictive and easy game to play. Endless hours of fun and wasted time. Has replaced iDracula as my most played game :D

Something related. Highly skilled FedEX air traffic controller:

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DIY Macro Lens

I went to shoot some macro photos when I was supposed to be studying for my air legislation exam. Things would look very differently if we were the size of a mite. Guess the following items:

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Item 1.

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Item 2.

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Item 3.

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Item 4.

Answers will be provided soon! All the above were shot with a Nikon D90 with a SB-600 and a DIY Nikkor 80-200-50mm f/4 f/1.8 lens (pictured below).

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The Nikkor 80-200-50mm f/4 f/1.8 lens.

It’s a Nikkor 80-200mm f/4 with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 mounted in reverse in front and secured with masking tape. The Nikkor 80-200 is mounted on to the camera while the rear lens element of the 50mm becomes the front lens element for this macro lens. At 200mm, I get 4x (200mm divide by 50mm) magnification.

The 50mm f/1.8 is kept at f/1.8 constant while I usually shoot at f/22 with the 80-200mm at 200mm. Focus is fixed so you need to vary the distance between the lens and the subject to focus. So you’ll be moving the camera back and forth while focusing. Depth of field is ULTRA THIN, less than 1mm. Focusing is very very difficult.

To make you own DIY macro lens:

  1. Get a telephoto lens (200mm and above preferred).
  2. Get a prime lens (50mm and below preferred with large f/1.8 or f/1.4 aperture).
  3. Get some masking tape to tape them together, with the prime lens mounted in reverse in front of the telephoto lens.
  4. You’ll need flash unless you’re shooting under bright sunlight.
  5. Find some small things to photograph!

A flash is absolutely required if you’re shooting indoors. At f/22 barely enough light goes through the aperture. I had my SB-600 triggered wirelessly so I can position it so it illuminates my subject evenly. No tripods, all handheld shots because I find it easier to focus without one.

I’m still looking for dead flies to photograph because killing them just for a photo sounds too evil. Like taking shells from hermit crabs. Continue reading

Aircraft Fire Bottle Squib

An aircraft fire bottle contains chemicals to put out fires on the engines or APU. The chemicals are stored under pressure in the fire bottle and prevented from entering the distribution lines by a thin metal diaphragm.

When the pilot needs to put out a fire, he will pull and turn the fire handle. As the fire handle is turned, a tiny device at the fire bottle called the squib (pictured below) will fire at the thin metal diaphragm, causing it to break. It’s like firing a gun at the diaphragm. This will release the contents of the fire bottle into the distribution lines and to the source of the fire.


This is the squib. The firing end on the left is filled with gunpowder. The electrical connections are on the right. Photo courtesy dassault-aviation.com.

So what happens when a squib is fired? Watch this:

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