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Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014







General Aviation Imagery (1985-1995)

Dr Carlo Kopp, AFAIAA, SMIEEE, PEng
July, 2010
Text 2010 - 2012 Carlo Kopp
Photographic and lineart images 1985 - 2012 Carlo Kopp






During the late 1980s and early 1990s I flew a range of general aviation aircraft, and gained aerobatic and formation flying endorsements. Formation flying, in particular, presented numerous opportunities to photograph other aircraft in flight. This webpage contains a selection of images from my archive.

Images were produced using a medium format Mamiya M645/1000S and 35 mm Pentax SF7.



All photos and text 1985 - 2010 Carlo Kopp






Bellanca 8KCAB Decathlon VH-SAR


The airborne sequence of images was shot during a two day flyaway visit to Flinders Island, off the northern coast of Tasmania, in  early 1991. The 8KCAB VH-SAR (fixed pitch prop variant) was the workhorse basic aerobatic trainer at then General Flying Services (now Oxford Aviation Academy) at Moorabbin. It was not my preferred 8KCAB due to a slight ding in the left wing leading edge making it prone to wing drop when flying inverted. The pilot in command of SAR in these airborne formation images was Rob Spry, a very gifted young instructor and avid aerobatic pilot, and my aerobatic instructor at that time. He was tragically killed together with my good friend and fellow engineer Ron Sisley soon after, in early November 1992, during the ground impact of Pitts S-2A VH-SZA they were flying near Cranbourne (I had flown SZA a week prior to the accident). All  air to air images were produced with an M645/1000S and f2.8 80 mm lens, using Fujifilm 400ASA print film, the remainder using a Pentax SF7.






















Bellanca 8KCAB Decathlon VH-CUM

8KCAB Decathlon VH-CUM was the GFS aircraft preferred for Sportsman competition flying and practice, and being properly rigged, it handled better than any other 8KCAB I have flown. This selection of images was taken over several years in a range of locations. All images produced using a Pentax SF7 and a range of print film media.















Bellanca 8KCAB Super Decathlon

The Super Decathlon differs from the basic 8KCAB in the installation of a more powerful 180 SHP Lycoming AEIO-360-H1A or -H1B fuel injected engine, and a constant speed prop. While many competition pilots prefer the Super, the extra weight more than often offsets the extra power and flexibility of the constant speed prop. Depicted is the pristine VH-XUK, then owned by an oil industry engineer, which I flew out of Jandakot in Western Australia, and VH-BWM, based then at Moorabbin. All images produced using a Pentax SF7 and a range of print film media.





Pitts S-2A VH-UPU / Pitts Special VH-PUG

The Pitts was the most popular competition aerobatic type in Australia during the early 1990s. Whilst it is a handful for beginners, the Pitts has superb rolling and pitching performance, although its stability margin is borderline. Depicted is dual seat S-2A VH-UPU then owned by GFS, and Special VH-PUG. All images produced using a Pentax SF7 and a range of print film media.










Laser 200 VH-JAD


David Pilkington's VH-JAD was a frequent sight at aerobatic gatherings and competitions during the early 1990s. All images produced using a Pentax SF7 and a print film media.




Piper PA-28 Cherokee Warrior VH-BZG


This sequence of images was shot during a three aircraft formation flying team practice hop across Port Phillip Bay from Moorabbin to Point Cook. It shows a series of formation shots starting with transit over the bay, a landing a Point Cook, a departure from Point Cook, and a final image in transit across the bay.  At that time I was  lead pilot for one of several competition formation flying teams at GFS, and hitched a back seat ride in the lead aircraft. All images produced with an M645/1000S and f2.8 80 mm lens, using Fujichrome 100D slide film.
























Piper PA-28-161 Cherokee Warrior VH-CBF

These images were taken during a formation practice flight over the Melbourne CBD in late 1993, from the Cessna 172 lead aircraft I was piloting. Marc Goroff, a PhD graduate of Caltech, was in the back seat and used my Pentax SF7 35 mm SLR to produce the imagery - Marc is an experienced aerobatic pilot.










Piper PA-28RT-201 Cherokee Arrow VH-ESK

Piper PA-28RT-201 VH-ESK over central Victoria on the return flight from Mildura circa 1991. My formation flying team number two in 1993, a completely fearless young aviatrix, was tragically killed flying this aircraft in a likely fatigue and disorientation related night flying accident in September, 1994, on descent to Adelaide in South Australia. All images produced using a Pentax SF7 and print film.








Cessna 172


My 'pet hate' in GA types is the Cessna 172. I have never understood why the 172 was so popular, given its mediocre handling, poor upper hemisphere visibility and general clumsiness. All images produced using a Pentax SF7 and print film.






Beechcraft BE33 Bonanza





Melbourne and Moorabbin Aerial Imagery






All photos and text 1985 - 2010 Carlo Kopp





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