RQF From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 2 posts, RR: 0 Posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6294 times:
I just joined airliners.net today. This is my first post, although I have browsed for a while. So, I may make some mistakes.
The reason for the post is I wonder if anyone here can help me locate the crew of an MD11 UPS aircraft? I was photographing the Venus transit on 5 June and have a picture of this aircraft flying in front of the Sun and Venus. It is not the best I have seen since it is 71 miles from the camera (D800 with 400 mm + 2X teleconverter) but I want to offer a print to the crew.
I contacted the FAA at Albuquerque Center and they are trying to reach the chief pilot at UPS, but I have not heard anything as of yet. The photo was made from a location near Continental Divide, NM at 02:02:40 June 6 UTC as the plane was en route from Ontario, CA to Louisville, KY. I do not have a flight number and can't find one for that time on FlightAware or other sites. The plane was at 37,000 ft, on a heading of 76 degrees. In the photo, the plane looks as if it is headed toward Venus, so I have titled the shot "Flight to Venus."
Someone named CJ with username Virtualspotter left a comment on this photo in my gallery suggesting I post a message here. Instead of posting the photo, I will try a link to my Smugmug gallery of transit photos and this one in particular:
For those interested in my setup, I used a Nikon D800 with an old manual focus Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ED lens with an ND3 filter (about 10 stops) and an old TC-301 2X teleconverter. Shot the whole sequence in Live View on one battery (704 pictures total - I am interested in the so-called tear drop effect when Venus is near the Sun's limb). Tried to keep exposure about constant by using the live histogram and first adjusting f/# then shutter speed as the sun got lower (more atmosphere). Used mirror up, cable release, kept the lens covered when not shooting. Tripod and manual pointing. FX Raw adjusted in LR 4.1. The birds in front of the sun near the end are ravens.
Any help in finding the crew is appreciated and forgive me if I have made any blunders in my first post.
RQF From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 2 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6008 times:
The crew of UPS Flight 4911 has made contact with me!
Capt David Kantor and 1st Officer Dean Burke each called me today (12 June 2012) to chat and thank me for making the photo and prints I am preparing to ship.
The picture's very existence is an interesting story of timing (even fate) - I drove to a site 100 miles from home to shoot the Venus transit, their flight was an "add-on" and got a bit of a late start, but their flight path and my camera's line of sight crossed perfectly and I was lucky enough to be watching my camera's live view display and push the cable release at the right instant.
As most may know Venus has a pair of solar transits separated by 8 years every 105.5 or 121.5 years and mankind as a species has only observed 7 transits altogether. So, having Capt Kantor's MD-11, AND Venus in front of the Sun for the same second of time is a rare event indeed. It somehow makes me feel a connection to those who first observed this event in 1639.
Thanks everyone for your help. I will update my gallery shot and add a bit of further explanation including a flight path map soon.