Flying the Skyvan


If you can believe this meme one of the greatest mysteries of our time is who takes these pictures. The answer is quite simple: people like me. The more important question to ask is how they are made. And that’s why in this post I’ll focus on using the Skyvan as a photoplatform. As it’s an extraordinary photoship both in size and usage.

How we ended up with the Skyvan takes us back to 2009. As a member of the Aviation Photocrew we did some photoflying using Yakovlevs and a T-6 as photoships. These are great photoships but we were looking for something bigger, something that could take us in the air together so we could take on bigger projects. During the Chipmeet at Zoersel Airfield we did our first flights with the Skyvan. We were surprised by how many angles you could photograph and since that day the Skyvan became one of our most used photoships.

Using the Skyvan is basically the same as with any other photoship, but there is room for about 11 to 12 photographers. Depending on the number of photographers we use a special construction. This makes sure that every row of photographers is positioned higher than the previous one. This allows every photographer to shoot above the photographer in front of him and assures a good view for everyone. Just as with any photoship it’s all about safety. To be sure that nothing happens we use harnesses to strap ourselves to the Skyvan. This prevents us from falling out, which is always a nice thing to prevent. Furthermore we don’t change any lenses, cards, batteries in flight and everything has to be put in closed pockets.

The view in Skyvan is extraordinary. You can get perfect head on photos, side on, top-down, … The planes formate on the back of the Skyvan and sometimes they fly along side us to have another angle. Of course only when the side windows are clean enough…

More than talking about flying in the Skyvan, I want to show how it looks and feels. So check out the gallery below and enjoy!

Here’s a little timelapse video made with the iPhone app Hyperlapse. It’s not particularly the best video but it gives a nice impression.

If you wish to learn more about aviation photography, you can buy our Ebook: A guide to aviation photography by clicking the button below.
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